By Michael Feder
This egalitarian approach would inform Smith’s management approach later on. “Just because you’re in the workforce” she says, “doesn’t mean you shouldn’t develop the same skills as your supervisor.”
The military also offered the opportunity to learn an extensive skill set. Smith took advantage of this opportunity to develop skills that would benefit her when she reentered the civilian world.
“In my five years, I got to do a lot,” she says of her military service, which took her to Germany, South Korea, Washington State, North Carolina and Hawaii. She completed administrative specialist and postal operations training and worked in both areas until she re-enlisted and elected to attend the attached Finance Specialist School. After completing this schooling she was reassigned to Hawaii.
“We all have our bucket lists,” Smith says, “and completing my degree was on my bucket list. My degree validated my [more than] 35 years of work experience.”
She left Verizon in 2018 and began working again for the federal government in Arlington, Virginia, this time for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
She was in the middle of completing her Master of Management degree program when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Suddenly, Smith found herself isolated in a place she was unfamiliar with.