Daren Smith, Global Enterprise Critical Systems Manager, Intuit, Inc.
What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
Be a good listener…. It is often easy when working with internal customers, peers, etc. to lean towards an immediate solution, but better solutions will usually be produced if practicing inquiry vs. advocacy.
What has been the most important aspect that contributed to your success?
Building partnerships and fostering teamwork has been key to my success at Intuit. You have to get buy in to lead teams, and showing a genuine desire to help everyone achieve their objectives while achieving yours is needed to bring the broader team continued wins.
What is your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge is to say no. By nature, at minimum I am mentally geared to try and at least provide options to internal customer groups. My role however has many aspects that are compliance in nature which leaves no room for options, but rather a yes/no answer.
What is your role?
I have one role and many hats as most do these days. The hats I wear/areas under my responsibility cover all critical systems support and maintenance engineering globally including but not limited to backup generators, data center cooling, UPS systems, fire life safety, global monitoring systems, Etc. Primary role is operations, but also play a key role for all new project engineering guidelines and implementation within our construction division.
What don’t people know about you?
Prior to my employment at Intuit, I completed a CA electrical apprenticeship ending in a CA journeyman license and worked in the construction industry for 10+ years as a commercial/industrial electrician/foreman. I also hold an electrical and general contracting license and ran my own business for several years prior to Intuit.
If you could delegate one thing, what would it be?
Definitely finding open suitable conference rooms and finding open aligned time slots with other leaders and stakeholders. Conference rooms are always booked, and the bigger the stakeholder group, the harder it is to schedule a timely meeting.
What do you do to de-stress?
I have a lot of interest outside work which relieve stress. I love any type of water sports… surfing, wakeboarding, swimming, etc, but my go to at the moment is riding my Triumph. I find the rush of riding motorcycles quickly gets me back to a balance.
What advice would you give to other IFMA members?
Step outside of your boundaries as often as you can. Although there is not always a direct or immediate application, I try and learn as much about the business as possible from other leaders. This includes core business entities or other functional units such as finance and IT.
Interview by Melanie Bamba, RSI Roofing & Solar