Six-foot-tall Pency Smith says she can sometimes seem intimidating, especially when she’s thinking. Armed with a master’s degree in philosophy, this Director of Client Solutions uses deep analysis to uncover the root causes of an issue and to help guide her to a solution.
Pency started out as an agent and has since held positions in quality, training and operations management. She believes change can be scary, but it’s also good. Read her full Q&A below.
What professional advice has helped you in your career?
Early on, I was trying to fit into the mold of what I thought a young, strong black woman in corporate America was supposed to be like. I have a really big personality, I’m very opinionated and I can come off a little harsh sometimes, but I was silencing myself. Then Colleen Beers gave me the best advice: she said to “be Pency.” That really freed me up to come into my own.
Looking back, do you regret any career moves you did or didn’t make?
Once Andy Lee visited our site and asked what we could do to improve, but I didn’t speak up because I didn’t want to come off as a know-it-all or be a troublemaker. I wasn’t being Pency! I really regret not using my voice when I had the opportunity, but I don’t hold back anymore.
How can we all continue to better ourselves at work?
Our success is dependent upon each other, so see what you can do to improve. Take every class and attend every conference that’s offered to you. Last year I attended COPC certification training, and it was my most eye-opening experience ever, both personally and professionally.
What does it take to build lasting relationships with colleagues, clients and other contacts?
A lot of people have difficulty delivering bad news, especially to clients, but my main thing is honest communication. I won’t sugarcoat it, I’ll just say it. And if it can be fixed, they know that I’ll roll up my sleeves and dig in.
What is your advice on how to make meaningful connections?
Be honest. Let your personality come through, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. A meaningful connection comes when you are who you are to someone, and they’re who they are to you. It’s the only way.