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People Shape Smith: Building a Collaborative Global Trading Culture

Since our inception, Smith has been propelled forward by the remarkable people who are the backbone of our organization. Our unwavering dedication and passion for nurturing talent foster a culture of cooperation and employee empowerment that gives way to our success in supporting customers worldwide.

Driven by our commitment to customer satisfaction, Smith’s global offices across three continents and a dozen countries represent the physical and mental barriers our Trading department has had to overcome to consistently deliver high-caliber products and services. Collaboration plays a crucial role in ensuring our customers receive the electronic components they need in an efficient and timely manner.

In the following video, Jennifer Kabbara—Smith’s President, Americas—shares the significance of global collaboration at Smith, and how it has shaped our company’s identity and excellence over the years.

Modest Beginnings

Jennifer joined the Smith team in 1994, when the concept of global collaboration seemed a far-off venture for our small company. All Smith employees were within walking distance of each other, confined to a small makeshift office space. While this allowed for a direct and hands-on approach to fulfilling orders, it also limited Smith’s reach.

Back then, driving global business required a lot of waiting—waiting for faxes, waiting for a phone call, and waiting for time zones to give way to a reasonable hour for a business call on both ends.

“That’s part of the reason we wanted to branch out,” said Jennifer. “There was no way to keep up with people that were living in one time zone but trying to work in three.”

As demand for our services increased, Smith gained more and more traction in the industry, prompting Bob and Lee Ackerley—Smith’s co-founders and directors—and Marc Barnhill—Smith’s Chief Executive Officer—to begin the process to expand our global presence. Within fifteen years, this calculated decision-making led to the establishment of ten offices in strategic business hubs across three continents, and over the following decade, we have doubled those locations.

Embracing Diversity and Unified Goals

As Smith transitioned into a global company, our ability to offer localized support grew with each new office, solidifying our customers’ trust.

Smith faced the inevitablIMG 0548e challenges that came with global collaboration. However, we mended the cultural and language divides among our employees by establishing a cooperative work environment where diversity is embraced. Together, we work toward a unified goal—keeping Smith at the top.

“When one group wins big, Smith wins big,” emphasized Jennifer. “We are driven by the fact that Smith is the go-to, rely-on vendor that everybody wants to deal with.”

The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the importance of collaboration at Smith. The way businesses around the world operated had changed, and the increase in remote work helped drive the demand for electronic components. It became commonplace to have multiple Smith employees working to fulfill a single order.

“That is where the true nature of collaboration was evident at Smith,” said Jennifer.

Fruits of Global Collaboration

The creation of our Market Intelligence Report is a prime example of the cooperation between teams at Smith. The monthly report features curated content that is compiled by Smith’s global market experts and shared with select customers, who are eager to gain crucial insights from our experienced personnel.

“Customers will often ask when the next Market Intelligence Report will come out,” Jennifer explained. “That’s huge. You can’t have that if you don’t have true global collaboration among teams all over the world.”

Global collaboration lies at the heart of Smith’s success. By harnessing the experience of our dedicated employees and unifying them to work toward a common goal, we foster innovation, excellence, and growth.

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