Team Member Spotlight | Devona Smith, Senior Director, Human Resources
With five campuses stretching across 108 counties in West Texas and beyond, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) is a diverse and complex institution, and our success is due in no small part to our exceptional team members.
At TTUHSC, everyone plays a vital role. Being part of the TTUHSC team means being
part of a supportive community where you can grow and thrive in a values-based culture
that puts people first. As ambassadors of our mission and culture, our incredible
team members go above and beyond every day in exemplifying our values: Beyond Service,
Kindhearted, Integrity, One Team, and Visionary. We are excited to share their stories.
Meet Devona Smith, Senior Director, Human Resources
How long have you worked at TTUHSC, and what is your role?
I’ve been with TTUHSC Amarillo for 24 years (in June 2021). I am the Senior Director of HR.
How did you come to work at TTUHSC? Can you tell us about your career journey to (or
within) our institution?
Funny story. I was working in retail as a personnel manager and looking to get out of retail. I saw an ad in the classifieds (yes, that was the thing way back then) for a personnel manager with TTUHSC and applied. Initially, I wasn’t even aware that there was a TTUHSC in Amarillo and thought the position would be in Lubbock. However, it was in Amarillo and the rest is history.
I started as the Regional Campus Personnel Manager and there was only one other person in the HR office then. We had around 450 employees on the Amarillo campus at the time. Shortly after I started, we hired another position in the HR office. My title has changed to Director and now Senior Director, but I’ve essentially been doing the same job since I began. The HR office in Amarillo now has four staff and we support around 875 team members.
When the TTUHSC School of Pharmacy first expanded to Dallas and then Abilene, we also provided HR support for those campuses. The Abilene campus grew and we transitioned them to their own HR person about nine years ago. The Dallas campus is growing and we have recently transitioned that campus to the Abilene HR Director for support.
What do you enjoy about your work, or what excites you most about your job?
It is cliché, but I love helping people. Explaining benefits so that people understand them and helping our team members utilize all the wonderful benefits offered to them when they are needed.
Which of the values (One Team, Kindhearted, Integrity, Visionary, and Beyond Service)
is most integral to your job or team? Why?
Kindhearted is my favorite value—exceed expectations with a kind heart, helping hands and a positive attitude. We truly strive to live this value as best we can. Our role is to listen to any issues or questions and then try to help the team member get what they need while ensuring all state and federal laws are followed.
How would you describe the culture at TTUHSC?
For me, it just feels like a large, extended family. We truly work together across schools or divisions to make the best decisions for the campus or institution.
What do you enjoy most about Amarillo, and what makes you proud to call West Texas
Another funny story. I grew up in a small town in the Panhandle–Quitaque. I went to school at Texas Tech University and started my retail career in Lubbock. I ended up in Amarillo but initially had the goal of getting back to Lubbock. Now, it’s hard for me to think about ever leaving Amarillo. Amarillo is a larger town with a small-town feel. The people are super friendly. We have pretty much everything you would need. Have you seen the Palo Duro Canyon??? I love to take visitors there—it’s not just all flat.
I proudly call West Texas home. The people are kind and neighborly; they are resilient and tough. We take care of our own, which is why I’m so proud of what we do at TTUHSC. The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and physical and occupational therapists we are educating are taking care of my family, friends, and neighbors.
What do you wish more people knew about your team or department, or our institution?
We are more than just an academic institution. We have some excellent practitioners, whether they are in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, or any other health profession. We work hard to provide care for the people of West Texas and to give them access to all levels of health care.
What most excites you about the future at TTUHSC?
I’m so excited about how TTUHSC is reorganizing at the top levels and making decisions in a collaborative effort. The pandemic has shown us areas where we can bend and flex and taught us all to think about things in a new light. Under the leadership of President Lori Rice-Spearman, we have adopted the vision: Transform health care through innovation and collaboration. There are exciting things ahead for TTUHSC and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.
What would you tell people who are considering a position at TTUHSC?
You won’t find a better place to work. The benefits alone are excellent. But more importantly, the people will become like family to you. It’s a great place to work. Sure, there might be tough days–you have those in every job you work–but they are few and the best days outshine those tough days.
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Ready for a rewarding career where you can build relationships and make a real difference?
View our current openings and apply now, or explore what makes TTUHSC such a great place to work.
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