Smithville Spotlight: Claressa E., Corporate Trainer


When asked to describe her time here at Smithville in three words, Claressa E., Smithville’s Corporate Trainer, replied “growth through relationship.” Growth relates to her own personal development, but also that of Smithville employees. Her passion for training employees, developing skills, and helping to grow careers is evident.

Before we learned about her role at Smithville, we asked some hard-hitting questions to get to know her better:

  • Hometown: Evansville, IN
  • Favorite TV Show: One Piece
  • Favorite Movie: Too many! Top picks would all be something Sci-Fi
  • Favorite Food: Home-cooked (i.e. My mom’s home), comfort food
  • What she likes to do in free time: Spending time with family and friends, listening to/discovering new music, watching movies/anime
  • Dream vacation destination: Santorini, Greece
  • Favorite quote: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” -Unknown
  • Something those on the outside looking in would be surprised about: How prevalent the idea that “WE are Smithville” is among employees. And how funny Ms. Darby can be!

Claressa joined Smithville in 2011 as a Customer Service Representative. She went through an extensive training process that sparked her interest in employee development. “I trained under Charlie Flinn and, while still in training, I told him that he needed some help & as soon as I learned the job, I would come back & work with him.  Charlie retired before that happened, but I did move to the L&D department in 2015.”

When Claressa joined Smithville she immediately found a friendly work environment. “I found that the owners were accessible and approachable, which is not something that often happens in corporate America. Being a family-owned business seems to cultivate a feeling of family among the employees as well. It’s also great working for a place where you believe in the products and services that we offer. No one (locally) can touch our network operations or our data over fiber service.”

Like many positions at Smithville, each day is unique and different for Claressa and that keeps things fresh and exciting. “Our duties fluctuate based on projects from other departments that may need our help in adoption and education to new hires that need onboarding and possibly training. We are responsible for jobs aids for several departments and those have to be created & maintained, and our training curriculums must be kept up to date, including scenarios and assessment materials.  And in order to train or facilitate effectively, we must be trained and certified as well, via courses offered on a national level or online seminars & WebEx meetings.” While that is a lot to manage, it is an important part of making sure Smithville’s employees are trained, confident, and prepared to take care of customers.

Over the last nine years, several projects and accomplishments have stood out for Claressa. “Joining the Learning & Development team and creating some of the core programs our department uses on a regular basis are great accomplishments. But I’d say the most rewarding would be the interaction with and success of the new hires that I’ve onboarded and trained since I’ve been in this position. Their success is our success.” Claressa helped to develop a new hire onboarding process that introduces employees to the many different departments and people at Smithville and shares important programs and resources available. This program has been well received by both new hires and supervisors at Smithville.

Throughout many different projects and initiatives one thing has remained for Claressa, when asked about her favorite aspect of working at Smithville: “Interaction with coworkers and helping others grow and succeed.” We’re looking forward to the success of many future new hires, thanks to her efforts and dedication.

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