Technology Transformation Service Director Joanne Collins Smee joins the program for an overview of her work at the General Services Administration, and what the future has in store for both GSA and herself.
After just one year in the role, Technology Transformation Service Director Joanne Collins Smee is leaving the General Services Administration at the end of August. In an interview with Government Matters’ Francis Rose, Smee said that during her tenure, TTS became an instrumental part of the federal government, working with other agencies and offices to modernize their tech through initiatives like the Centers of Excellence. Smee indicated that any agency that wants to receive a Center of Excellence should ask itself a few questions. “Do you have the willingness to change? Are you ready to do that change? Are we going to get the support of leadership, from the top of the organization through the ranks of the professionals in the organization?” Smee said. “One of the things I’ve found in my year tenure with the government is how fabulous the federal employees are that I’ve worked with. The idea [is] that we are going to get their support and cooperation as we move in here… This is co creation, this is not a team jumping in to say ‘I know how to do it better than you.’ Rather it’s saying, ‘I will do it full time, I’m going to be focused on this. You have your day jobs, I will help with skills and processes.’ That’s very important.” Smee also told Government Matters that one of her team’s biggest successes was helping organizations like 18F accomplish their mission. “When we look at technology transformation services. 18F is a core piece of that. It started with the last administration. Great concept, very talented people, we have doubled down on that,” said Smee. “We have this tremendous team of technologists, designers, engineers. We are looking at making big and small changes in the government based on technology. 18F is a gem, and what we have done in my opinion is to give it further support within the government.” Smee says that she’s leaving government to spend more time with her family in Connecticut. “I commuted the Monday through Friday routine from New York. I actually live in lower Connecticut, so I needed to get home, to be candid,” Smee told Francis Rose. “It is earlier than I wanted, but I’m going to need to do that. I’m going to return to the private sector, about 10 minute commute from home so my family is happy. I’m very sad to be leaving this team, but I’m keen to watch it and keep in contact with the team as much as I’m allowed.“