Bonnie Smith was surprised when she found out she was named a Woman of FIRE, but the human resources veteran might have been more surprised to know who nominated her: her own husband.
“She doesn’t like the spotlight. She likes to just do her thing, and she’s kind of humble about it and I think she’s a little embarrassed that I nominated her, but I think she deserves it,” Steve Smith confessed to The Commercial Record.
Smith didn’t set out to build a career in human resources. She had previously worked in training and development in the insurance industry and after a hiatus to raise her young children, she applied for a part-time position as a public relations writer for the Connecticut National Bank. On her very first day on the job, she learned about the bank’s merger with Hartford National Bank and was offered a position in human resources.
It’s stuck ever since.
“I like helping people,” she said. “I like being able to find the right person for a position. I like to see people happy in what they’re doing day in and day out. I like the creativity of determining a benefits package that’s good for both the employee and employers. It’s just very challenging, and I enjoy it.”
Over the 18 years that Smith has worked for the Savings Bank of Danbury, she’s watched it grow from an organization with just four branches and 50 employees to a bank of 14 branches and 180 employees, and she’s found it particularly rewarding to watch the bank’s human capital grow.
“Saying, ‘I hired that person when they were 18 years old and look where they’ve gotten today,’ that is very satisfying,” she said.
But Steve Smith didn’t just nominate Bonnie because she’s a talented HR pro. He also admires her ability to balance her professional life with her personal life – and her enthusiasm to add a healthy dash of volunteerism to the mix.
“I have a daughter with special needs and when she got involved in the Special Olympics, I saw what a wonderful organization it was and how much they were doing for her,” Smith said.
Smith has served on the board of directors for the Special Olympics Connecticut for nine years and still serves the organization as a human resources consultant, helping them develop programs for employee review.
“I’ve just enjoyed being able to see the organization grow and help people like my daughter grow within their skill sets,” she said. “It’s just been very rewarding.”
Steve was right when he called his wife humble. Asked if she wanted to say anything else to The Commercial Record about being named a Woman of FIRE, Smith echoed the refrain of so many before her.
“I do not consider myself extraordinary in what I do. I like to think that I just do what is right and good for the organization I work for and the people I deal with,” she said. “To be recognized for that is an honor.”