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Spotlight on Commerce: Tyra Dent Smith, Deputy Director, Office of Human Resources Management

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Photo: Tyra Dent Smith

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.

As a native Washingtonian, and having earned a B.A in Psychology from Hampton Institute and a Master of Public Administration from Howard University, I knew early on that I wanted my life work to center around individual and organizational success. To this end, I decided to dedicate my career to public service. Over twenty years of my career has been spent in the Department of Commerce.

Since February 2011, I have had the privilege to serve as Deputy Director, Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM). My primary responsibility is to lead and direct the development and implementation of government-wide and departmental policies, employee programs and activities in all aspects of human resources management and administration. Additionally, this includes coordinating and overseeing HR operations at each of the department's seven bureau level HR service centers. This role has given me an opportunity to serve the department’s workforce at each stage of the employee lifecycle (planning, recruitment, hiring, training and development, retention and retirement/separation).

In partnership with the Director of OHRM, William “Bill” Fleming, our vision is to deliver optimal HR services and products that support and enable mission accomplishment and create a workplace environment that fosters excellence and innovation. This vision is rooted in the policies, processes and practices that support and sustain a strong and capable organizational workforce built to serve the American people.As I look back over the course of my career, I am reminded of the value of my education, the wisdom and guidance of my family and professional mentors, and the opportunity provided through each work experience to serve to my full potential. So, it is this that I pass on to young men and women like me that are interested in public service.

For almost 25 years I have been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. and currently serve on the Executive Board of the Theta Omega Omega chapter in Montgomery County Maryland.  AKA is an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-lettered organization established by African-American college-educated women. As I reflect on and celebrate the richness of black history in our nation, I have been inspired and influenced by the guiding principle of this organization: ”Service to All Mankind.”

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