Name: Theresa Council-Smith
Position: Manager, CFID Support team
Length of time you have been with you company: 24 years in March, but I also did an internship in 1996 when I attended LaSalle to get some Finance experience.
Briefly describe your journey, noting both personal milestones and obstacles you may have faced along the way.
My journey started at LaSalle where I admitted through the Academic Discovery Program which provided counseling, tutoring and an abundance of personal and career focused advice. Through this program I was awarded a scholarship which included books and tuition. I would then apply for internships and I was given the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the Finance area at IBC. I graduated with a degree in accounting and worked in various jobs doing auditing/finance work. Then I worked at Mercy Health Plan that was later acquired by Independence to become Keystone Mercy Plan. I transferred to Independence to work in the Medical Cost area, Data warehouse area then I went to the Corporate Financial and Investigations Department under the Internal Audit department. I have been in this department for over 17 years. My personal milestones have been experience gained through strong leaders who trusted my work and opinions/suggestions over the years. This allows me to gain confidence to suggest or try new theories without the fear of being wrong. I have always been encouraged to continue learning and gaining experience. Some obstacles were not always being fully staffed and the abundance of work that needed to be done, but I was always the type of supervisor/manager that would work along side my coworkers to complete tasks. This takes away from the supervising aspect of my job, but it has always been my philosophy to not ask of other people what I wouldn’t do myself. All work is the reflection of the department.
How did you hear about LDC and why did you sign up to take part in it?
We have a terrific Learning University offered through the company that organizes and develops varies personal and professional training sessions. They send out opportunities to varies leaders throughout the company and ask if there is any interest in building/sharpening your leadership skills. I inquired about this program and he sent additional information. After I read about this program and discussed it with my director, we both agreed this would be a great opportunity.
What inspires you? How does that inspiration play into your professional life? I am surrounded by strong women both at work and in my home life. I was taught to work hard and stay informed. Now that I am a mother of two young adults, I would like to pass that to them. This has also inspired me to pursue other opportunities outside of work such as volunteering, committee work and offer my experience possibly within my community.
Briefly, describe a transformative moment that helped to shift your approach to your career. Now that my children are more independent, my job pays at a range that I live more comfortably, I can shift my attention on gaining more experience for myself as a leader. This is what attracted me to this program. This is giving me the boost to build up my leadership skills.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most? Why?
I most admire First Lady Michelle Obama. She is an elegant speaker, carries herself like a lady but exudes strength. When she walks in the room, she demands attention, but you feel at ease. That’s both a skill and a comfort level.
What has been the most valuable professional advice and/or lesson you've received. I was told to never stop learning, always be open to new ideas.