Meet Connie Smith, Managing Director of Tricor in Barbados. Connie has been with the Tricor group since 2007, when it was bought over from Ernst & Young Caribbean and where she was a Partner.
How do you measure success, what does success means to you?
I think success is challenging to succinctly define. For me personally, it largely revolves around purpose.
- Setting goals – determining what is involved in achieving the goal and then implementing.
- Personal growth – always learning and I think importantly, always wanting to learn.
- Making a difference – and while doing so, pulling out a chair at the table for another woman to join.
I have learned though that meeting life’s challenges oftentimes means embracing flexibility.
How do you keep employees engaged and motivated?
We frequently read that keeping employees engaged and motivated revolves around a monetary reward. And to some extent, this is true. I would like to think that I motivate my team in a number of non-remunerative ways, including:
- Providing supportive leadership
- Empowering them
- Providing them with learning and developmental opportunities
- Being flexible
- Providing a good, positive work environment in which they can grow and be proud
What is the best career advice you’ve received and why?
I have had, I think, the benefit of many gems of advice in my career and also been fortunate enough to have some amazing mentors. The first bit of advice that comes to mind is – asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I operate within a very male-dominated environment. As a female sitting around an executive board which is usually mostly comprised of males, we often feel that we must not only meet the standards, but we must exceed them – all of them, and to do it all on our own. I have learned that reaching out and asking for help, or including others, not only benefits me in achieving what I set about to do, but also sometimes provides a learning or mentoring opportunity for others.
The other bit of advice that I keep in the back of my mind is Steve Martin’s “Be so good that they can’t ignore you!”
How do you manage work life balance?
This is a question that I am asked very often. It usually comes with people asking how I manage to juggle multiple responsibilities and roles. Over the years, what I have found that works for me is prioritising, while being methodical yet still flexible. Everything has to be slotted in and even within those slots, I have to prioritise.
My first priority is my daughters and my family. But I know that I could not be in a position to allow for the experiences that I want them to enjoy if I did not pay significant attention to my other roles.
In addition to being a mother and wife, the other important roles include being the Managing Director of Tricor Caribbean; the Honorary Consul for Spain in Barbados; a Director of the agency which works in partnership with all stakeholders in international business in Barbados towards the development of the international business sector in Barbados, BIBA; the Chair of the Barbados Branch of ICSA: The Governance Institute; a Trustee of a Trust which is working on eliminating styrofoam and single use plastic from our environment; a Director of a philanthropic organization in Barbados, which exists to help other charities become sustainable; a Founding Member of the Barbados Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, a friend; a mentor…
Every one of these roles is important to me and adds value and richness to my life in one way or the other. They also give me purpose.
To try to achieve balance, I simply have to schedule things and be flexible where that is allowed; flexibility is key – you have to adjust to changes quickly and reprioritize.
When did you join Tricor & Why did you join Tricor?
I have been with the heritage practice that is now Tricor Caribbean for approximately 33 years. This was the corporate and business services lines of Ernst & Young Caribbean where I was a Partner. As a result of the auditor independence rules that evolved in the late 1990’s, EY sold those service lines to Tricor in 2007.