- Director of Corporate Planning and Performance Monitoring at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dawn Smith has committed over 26 years of selfless service to the public sector.
- During the period Miss Smith has won the admiration of colleagues, and her superiors, as a detail-oriented professional.
- Outlining the nature of her job, Miss Smith says it includes monitoring the 35 agencies of the Ministry, ensuring adherence to procurement guides.
Director of Corporate Planning and Performance Monitoring at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dawn Smith has committed over 26 years of selfless service to the public sector.
During the period Miss Smith has won the admiration of colleagues, and her superiors, as a detail-oriented professional, who goes beyond the call of duty to ensure that the Ministry and its agencies are compliant with statutory rules.
Entering the civil service directly from high school and later pursued tertiary training. With tenacity she moved up the ranks at the Ministry, accomplishing her many tasks during the workday, as well as from home.
“A packed day for me starts at home, I will start the process at home and then get the (time at the office) to deal with other challenges…my days typically end after five, when there is a quiet time and the phone is not ringing,” she explains.
“I don’t believe … I need to stick to an 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (work period). It is important to ensure that you devote enough time to family, but, it doesn’t mean that you would restrict yourself to that workday time,” Miss Smith advises.
The civil servant who started out with a holiday job in 1987, and who was recognised by the Government last year, for long service to the public, believes that the best trained and creative minds should be part of the public service, a conviction that has kept her going for close to three decades.
“I had friends who would say to me ‘why’ are you remaining? I say to them, if everyone who has a positive contribution to make, (leaves the civil service), what would happen to the service? I see where people are committed; not that they don’t have any concerns, but they make the effort and do their job,” she explains.
Outlining the nature of her job, Miss Smith says it includes monitoring the 35 agencies of the Ministry, ensuring adherence to procurement guides.
“I lead a team that helps to ensure that the Ministry sets out its plans for the medium term-three year period, and detail targets and cost for the first year of the medium term. We also assess our agencies, our departments, in their achievements, to see if we have achieved what we set out to do, and to put in other measures where necessary,” she tells the JIS.
Miss Smith notes that the Ministry’s responsibility extends to providing the policy and oversight for the transport system, construction and maintenance of quality roads, and the facilitation of affordable housing.
“I take satisfaction in being able to complete tasks. I take pride in being able to help in the development of my team, help them to get to the next level, as individuals,” she stated.
The Planning and Monitoring Director explains that the Ministry impacts on all citizens, and that she feels satisfied when projects are completed on time. She is also keen on the capacity building of her team.
Her former boss, Dr. Alwin Hayles, who is now Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, describes the former Holy Childhood High School student, as one of the most dedicated public servants he has worked with during his more than 30 years in the service.
Dr. Hayles says Miss Smith who once served as his executive assistant “is an all-round professional – the quality of her service must be commended. I unreservedly rate her as one of the best officers that I have worked with during my career of 33 years.”
Dr. Hayles notes that Miss Smith organised events to promote camaraderie among the staff, and served for many years on the welfare committee at the Ministry.
He says she is well placed in her current role, as “she is very attentive to details, and does her research thoroughly to ensure that when she gives advice, whether it is policy or technical advice, it is well informed…any difficult challenge that we faced as top managers in the Ministry, they will always go to her, and she would find a way to deal with them”.
Meanwhile, Senior Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Transport Works and Housing, Leo McEwan points out that Miss Smith performs her task meticulously. “I have found her to be very loyal … she is high on integrity, if she believes in what you are doing, she will defend you. Dawn epitomizes the committed civil servant,” he says.
A past student of Central Branch All Age School, in Kingston, Miss Smith says “it is a place that I am really proud of. I have seen where the kind of instructions and education that it provided, gave students a chance, if they took it.” She has therefore maintained a relationship with the institution, creating a social networking page, which has linked past students from across the globe.
Describing her household as very structured she says the greatest influence on her life, was her mother, whose values helped her to resist the negatives in her environment.
“The strongest influence for me was the home – mommy. So, there was a strong influence inside than anything in the environment; I had a very good relationship with my mother, and I held her in high esteem,” she says.
Miss Smith says more parents need to guide children to “understand that it is not just about those things that can disappear tomorrow, but to build foundations that they can continue to develop on”.