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Precisely Women in Technology: Meet Romea

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | January 27, 2021

At Precisely, recognizing individuality is a key value of our organization. This week, we’re introducing you to Romea Smith, SVP of Precisely’s Global Support & Customer Experience. Romea has worked for over 25 years in the technology field and is a member of our Precisely Women in Technology program.

How did you get into the technology field?

I gravitated to the sciences at a very early age. Mathematics was my best subject although I also studied Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. I started my career in Jamaica as a trained teacher of Mathematics, but after teaching for a few years, I immigrated to the U.S. and attended Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) in Texas. There, I earned my B.S. in Mathematics, with a specialization in Computer Science.

What has driven your career success?

Many factors contributed to my career growth: lots of prayer, hard work, openness to things that remind you to feel humbled, and always, an openness to learning. I feel sustained by love and support from my friends and family – my mother is always “lifting me up.” My three daughters inspire me to be authentic. I want them, and others I work with, to see me leading with integrity and setting a good example for them. Having support and encouragement from people you work with is so important too. One person who has supported me throughout my career is David Hodgson, our former CPO. He taught me the importance of leading by example; how to care for the employees who support our customers; our customers; and how to focus a team on driving results. I still emulate his example today.

What do you love most about technology?

Ha! What’s not to love? Most of the time, it helps us solve day-to-day problems. It’s transformative on so many levels — even beyond giving us new and efficient ways of getting things done. It uncovers new possibilities.

We’ve all seen the practical way technology allowed us to respond to certain challenges brought on by COVID-19. Schools moved to remote teaching models. Technology companies mobilized quickly to work-from-home mode. Here at Precisely, working with my global support leadership team and with our CDIO Amy O’Connor and her IT team, we were able to establish a reliable infrastructure and offer collaboration tools that allowed our support team to work remotely. Technology is helping to keep our employees safe, and it is ensuring that we are able to continue offering exceptional support to our customers and partners without missing a beat.

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How have you managed to create work/life balance throughout your career?

My favorite pastime is dancing. When I’m dancing, I always feel happy. A few years of ballroom dancing lessons heightened my passion for dance — and right now, I’m really missing it! I need to be active, but I balance that by allowing myself plenty of time just to be still. I love listening to music and solving puzzles. So that adds quiet time to my day. Then I go back to something physical—like exercising when dancing is not an option. I also practice Transcendental Meditation (TM), and that’s essential quiet time for me—to pray and reflect.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I might not call it “advice,” but I remember receiving an important reality check when I was still an aspiring software engineer. My manager at the time guided me toward a leadership career by pointing out that my real strength was in leadership, not coding. I was focused on the task in front of me. But he saw a bigger picture and urged me to change direction. Honestly, I was not very happy with his assessment at first, but with his support, I was able to embrace the idea, follow a different path, and develop those leadership gifts. I chose to listen to a trusted guide who saw something in me that I did not see in myself. Now I strive to do the same for my team and the people I mentor.

What are your hopes for other women in the technology field?

Learning technology can be exciting all by itself, but I look beyond that. Having opportunity, hope, and encouragement are vital for anyone aspiring to a S.T.E.M. career. I want to help introduce more girls to the sciences at an early age. That first chemistry set or tablet can be the critical opportunity that sparks their curiosity and begins building skills. When those girls grow up, they need to have organizations like ANITA B.ORG at the forefront of encouraging and inspiring them to pursue S.T.E.M. careers. I am very hopeful about seeing more women enter technology fields — including more women of color — and then advancing in senior leadership roles. My participation in the Precisely Women in Technology program and ANITA BORG allows me to play a role in mentoring and coaching some of those future leaders.

How grateful I am to Tendu Yoğurtçu, our CTO, for leading the charge on our women in technology program. I also want to acknowledge our male colleagues at Precisely who see the value and support this program. Special thanks to our CEO Josh Rogers who is leading the team in job shadowing; and to our COO Eric Yau for serving as our executive sponsor. Together, we’re dedicating ourselves to something that will make a positive difference in our world.

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