Have a Rewarding Life, Not Just a Rewarding Career at This Company With Real Heart

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Tricia Smith

Photo courtesy of Realtor.com®

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Fairygodboss
April 19, 2024 at 2:44AM UTC

For Tricia Smith, SVP of Sales & Operations at Realtor.com®, it’s her values and voice that’ve fueled her passion for producing work that makes her proud.

“My parents taught me that it’s a person’s character that matters, and I’ve tried to live my life, including the work I do, with that lesson at the forefront,” she tells Fairygodboss. “I want to be proud of my work and the person I am. For me, it’s not just about the results, but the way I got there.”

Over the course of her 20 year career with the company, Smith has worked for various parent organizations — including Monster, a private equity firm, publicly traded MOVE and now News Corp — and has held several  roles in different functional areas, from product and corporate to finance and sales. While leadership teams have changed, as have company missions, strategies, and priorities, Tricia’s long-held philosophy on life and work has continued to drive her career forward.

We caught up with Smith to learn more about the ways in which she continues to grow in her career; the supportive, welcoming environment at Realtor.com; and the advice she has for other women in the industry. Here’s what she had to say:

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role, how long have you been in this role, and what were you doing previously?

As the SVP of Sales & Operations, I manage our media, mortgage, and moving business lines. I lead an amazing team across various functions, including sales, branded content, account management, and operations and also spend a lot of time working cross-functionally with partners in finance, product, and marketing. I believe in asking questions and keeping a pulse on performance by leveraging data and metrics to help identify areas for focus. I approach my role with a focus on being an organizer and amplifier of market feedback and opportunities, as well as a trustworthy, open, and candid leader to my team and others.  

I also work closely with some of our larger external partners, building trusting relationships and consistently reviewing performance and identifying opportunities for us to grow together by better serving consumers.

Prior to my current role, I worked in market research after graduating with my MBA from the University of Connecticut. I went straight through to grad school after earning my undergraduate degree in business at UConn — something the Dean told me they never let anyone do. But I’m always up for a challenge!

What projects or programs are you currently working on? What about this type of work most excites you? 

I like variety and change, and my role gives me the opportunity to work on many different kinds of projects. I’m currently overseeing our media team as they successfully expand our branded content and utility offerings to create more value for users, as well as our moving and mortgage team, who are focused on evolving our value proposition to users and partners alike. 

New challenges are new opportunities, and I truly have a real passion for solving business problems. As such, I believe in partnering both internally and externally to create solutions. I like to grow strategic relationships versus sell to a prospect. I like to brainstorm with my team instead of mandating. I like evaluating options and defending a recommendation—with clear communication of the risks and opportunities.   

What’s one thing you think early career job seekers should know about Realtor.com? What about those who are in a more advanced career stage?

No matter where you are in your job search, Realtor.com is a great company with a lot of opportunity and real heart. We’re not small, but we’re intimate. We’re owned by News Corp and have strong financial backing, but we operate our experiences as our own. Our culture rewards performance above credentials from both financial and career advancement perspectives.

Last, but perhaps most importantly to me and many others, we offer a great work-life balance with strong respect for life outside of work. Job demands can be heavy, but there’s an element of trust that enables most roles to manage their own schedules. This is especially important to me as a single mother of two amazing and active kids. Our work-life balance allows me to have a rewarding life, not just a rewarding career.  

How is this kind of support reflective of the overall culture at Realtor.com?

It comes down to time flexibility and truly caring about people. One of our core values is, “People are Our Foundation.” This isn’t just a phrase that hangs on a wall somewhere, but a real, tangible effort that puts our people at the center of our culture. A few specific examples: we have ‘No Meeting Thursdays,’ a time when we can focus on deliverables and/or connect with others in a less structured manner to get things done. We had ‘No Meeting Friday’ afternoons during the summer, as well.

At times, I’d swap attending my son’s soccer game for a couple of early morning work hours. Most roles also have unlimited paid time off. We’re trusted to manage our jobs, responsibilities and lives, like adults — the way it should be. Even during the pandemic, our company has been focused on creating opportunities for all of us to connect socially and personally. We might replace the traditional water cooler chat with a Zoom video coffee break. Most meetings start with people discussing how their day is going. We really care about each other. You can’t put a compensation value on that.  

How have you used your role to help bring up other women behind you? How do you build time into your schedule for this kind of work?

I wouldn’t ever think of someone being “behind” me or needed to “bring them up.” I think we’re all people, and we all have experiences and value to add to our objectives. To that end, I am a very open and candid colleague, manager, mentor and team member. Yes, sometimes to a fault... but those who know me know that my candor comes from a place of focus on productivity and honesty.

I learned very early in my career when I inherited the role of President of Moving.com at age 30  that it’s not about proving you can do it yourself. Growing as a team is so much more rewarding for everyone involved — and more fun! There’s plenty of research out there to support that people are most productive when they’re happy.

Why do you think Realtor.com is a particularly supportive work environment for women?

Realtor.com is not only supportive of a diversified workforce, but also focuses on ways to ensure a variety of perspectives are present across functions and roles. We have numerous female members of our Executive Leadership Team, and our CEO reports into the Global Digital Real Estate President for News Corp, a very intelligent and funny woman who is extremely caring and approachable. 

Our company also has a variety of employee resource groups to help foster a diverse and inclusive workplace that’s aligned with our mission and values. Open to all employees, these smaller groups are designed around shared characteristics or life experiences and are a great way to get exposure to employees in all levels and functions in our organization. I very much enjoy being a member of a few different groups, including Beyond Pride and Inspiring Women.

What is your No. 1 piece of advice for others who are looking to advance their career to the next level?

Be real, be kind, and seek out the good in others. We’re not paid to be “yes” people, we’re not robots, and we don’t individually have all the right answers. Have confidence, but balance it with humility. Be transparent and respectful. Ask questions. Help a colleague when you have the answers. Own your mistakes, and make sure you thank the right people for your wins.

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