A Decade of Phenomenal Women featuring Rhonda Scott Smith

In celebration of TXWSW’s ten-year anniversary, we are featuring phenomenal women in senior-level positions in finance that have made a difference in the lives of their colleagues and community.
We recently had the chance to speak with Rhonda Scott Smith, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Director, Houston Police Department and Former Executive Director – Houston.

Define career success.

“Career success means being a thought leader, leading an engaged team that provides financial and budgeting expertise to the public sector and using this forum to serve and have an impact on the community and city. I am excited to wake up each day and know that my financial, management and communication skills helps serve the community and city.”

How did you choose finance as your career?

“All of my life, I have had a keen interest in numbers. While in college, I realized that I could take that love for numbers and details and pursue a career in accounting and finance. Thank you Touché (now Deloitte) for giving me an internship opportunity that confirmed my passion!”

Share your best career advice.

Speak up.
There may be times you are in a setting with prominent individuals and a diverse crowd, remember your voice matters.  You add value!
Understand the room.
Learn the dynamics of the environment so that you know how to address your peers and the situation, etc.  Is this the time to be intense, or can you get the same outcome by asking questions and providing a comfortable environment.   You must learn to adjust to the situation.
Embrace Diversity.  It is an advantage in business.
One of the people I follow Mellody Hobson once said during a Ted talk “Color blind or color brave?”  More diverse groups of people are better able to solve complicated problems, because they bring together a wider range of knowledge and experience. I agree. Don’t fear it…Embrace it!
Build an Excellent Team
The one thing I know is that you are only as good as the staff you lead.
As Colin Powell once said: “Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management do not much matter.  Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds
Stay Focused
When you are moving through your career, be sure to stay focused on what’s important.  Your success is a journey that happens over time.  It is not linear. It may ebb and flow and have peaks and valleys but stay focus.  Every experience matters.

How have networking groups like Texas Wall Street Women helped your career?

“I have been fortunate to be a part of TXWSW, Houston Chapter since its infancy. Being a part of this organization and other groups have been so beneficial to me during my career. My affiliations has allowed me to develop strong relationships with colleagues in the financial world and provided me with a wealth of advice and encouragement during my career. It has also allowed me insight into opportunities I may not have otherwise been aware of without the network.”

What is your advice on giving back and helping the next generation of women in finance?

“Remember to reach back and provide the same type of mentoring and door opening opportunities that you were looking for in your career. Open the door for the next generation.”

Do you know a phenomenal woman making a difference in finance? We encourage you to nominate your mentors, friends, and colleagues so that we can celebrate their achievements and success by sending their name, and email address to info@txwsw.com.

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