Donya Smith started at Truveta in April as our People Operations Manager. Her role mainly involves office management and leading the onboarding process to welcome new hires to the team.
Tell us a little about your background?
I’m originally from Albany, NY but I moved to Los Angeles, CA as a teenager. After graduating from high school, I attended UC Santa Barbara. I decided to drop out and work for a while. Eventually, I returned to school, but I moved back to Washington, DC to attend Howard University. I got my Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Hospitality Management and began my career at Marriott in sales. I worked with different companies to plan meetings. After seven years with Marriott, I got into office management, retail sales, earned my Master of Science in Management degree along the way, then transitioned into healthcare.
What brought you to Truveta?
In 2020, I was working at a company called the Health Management Academy in Arlington, VA. Truveta was an idea that came from a few of the health system members and there were many conversations about how to make it work. I got involved when they were ready to launch Truveta. My role was critical because I was responsible for scheduling calls with the health system members including lawyers, committee members, and CEOs. It was the most intense, demanding, and proudest time of my career. I eventually began working with Terry Myerson after he was chosen to be CEO of Truveta. I clearly remember thinking he’s a different kind of executive. I appreciated his style and we worked well together. Terry told me that if I were willing to move, I’d have a job with Truveta. Things were going very well for me at the Academy. As I thought about it, I was ready for a new opportunity and felt a connection to Truveta because of my contribution. Watching Truveta’s progress on LinkedIn was exciting and I wanted to join the team. A couple of months later, I reached out, and the rest is history. Now to be here in the Seattle area working for the company is so surreal.
How’re you feeling about the weather?
It’s been a challenge. For two months, I was in a state of mourning because of the cold weather, all the rain and lack of sun. But I’m better now that summer has finally arrived.
What’s your favorite part about working here?
Definitely the people and the diversity of people. Everyone is so passionate about what they’re doing. They’re so deeply connected to the vision – saving lives with data.
What does saving lives with data mean to you?
Last year, one of my close friends was diagnosed with cancer and that was the first time someone close to me had been struck with something so life changing. I didn’t know what to do except to send her encouraging messages. Thankfully, she’s doing fine now, she’s cancer-free. So, saving lives with data means that we as a company are using all our resources – our passion for the mission, our skills, our talents to prioritize the lives of other people we may never cross paths with. Our goal is to save their lives, make their quality of life better.
What is your team responsible for?
I’m on the People Team, Human Resources, and we’re responsible for recruitment, hiring, training, retention, and a host of other things, all connected to the employee lifecycle. Our main goal is to hire great talent and nurture the talent we have.
What’s the most rewarding part about your role?
Welcoming the new hires. They’re so excited about joining the company and I’m just as excited to have them join.
Have you had any great mentors along the way?
My mentor is unusual, it was my great- grandmother. She raised me. It wasn’t an easy life, but I learned so much from her just by watching. As a young person, you’re like a sponge, you soak up what you see around you. There were two major things I learned from her. 1: Consistency. Whatever you’re going to do, be consistent. And, 2: Have order about your life. Every morning, we had to make our beds. She taught me the importance of having order and not living a chaotic life. I am so methodical about things and constantly creating structure.
How has the pandemic changed the way you work?
March 17th is when I started working from home. For me, it was beneficial, it made my life better. It slowed down the pace. That was a silver lining for me. I was able to go for walks in the morning before I started my workday. I loved working from home because I was able to focus and concentrate in a peaceful environment.
What’s the best career advice you ever received?
The one piece of advice that stands out is: you should always be running to something, and not from something.
What lesson do you wish you could give your 20-year-old self?
Save your money so that you always have options.