Vice president, Goldman Sachs & Co.
Andrew Smith, vice president of Goldman Sachs & Co. in Tampa, was socially distant before it was cool. The golf enthusiast enjoys leaving his cellphone in the car as he leisurely plays 18 holes, sans cart. In the Florida heat, he says, the sport becomes a physical challenge as well as a mental exercise.
“You get a few hours of reflection and disconnect from the world,” Smith says. “If it's not an email, it's a text message or a social media comment or something like that. And so we're just always in this process of responding [to distractions], and you never really get a chance to turn it off.”
Smith golfs a couple times per month, but his time on the links was dinged in July, when he and his wife welcomed a baby daughter. The good news: Becoming a first-time father during the pandemic has made the crisis more bearable.
“Having a kid during a pandemic, we didn't plan it like that,” Smith says. “But it's been really special because I probably would not have been able to spend so much time with my daughter, and now, rather than having to drive somewhere or go to an airport, I can get things done a lot quicker in many instances and then have time to go for a walk or read to her.”
Before COVID-19, Smith says, major finance and investment firms including Goldman Sachs were big on face-to-face meetings and the extensive business travel required of them. That’s changed drastically, perhaps for good, but he believes it’s still important to implement and follow a routine that exudes professionalism, even if you’re working from home or some sort of other remote, non-office location. Smith likes to use the term “habit-stacking” when describing his approach to this new routine.
“You find different activities that will be kind of a reward for yourself or trigger other activities to happen,” he says. “Catalyst habits. For me, it’s making sure I wake up at the same time every morning and sweat a little, whether it’s going for a run or getting a workout in. And I’m always reading something in the morning — I’ll carve out 30 minutes to an hour. Then you put on some semblance of office attire, and that triggers productive behavior.”
Name: Andrew W. Smith
City of residence: Tampa
Employer: Goldman Sachs & Co.
Title: Vice president
Years on the Gulf Coast: 34
Marital status/children: Married with a newborn daughter
Alma mater/degree: Georgia Tech/bachelor of science in management; Florida State University/juris doctor; University of Florida/master of business administration
What community group or organization are you most involved with? I have been fortunate to serve in a number of leadership positions within the Tampa Bay Chamber. This organization serves as a wonderful platform to engage with other stakeholders in our community and promote quality of life across the region.
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? During the summers in undergrad, my 9-to-5 internships didn’t seem to pay much, so I would pick up night shifts as a security guard at the old HiFi Buys Amphitheatre. They put me in the “the pit,” where I was in charge of tossing out disorderly patrons.
What's your top tip for being productive? Wake up early and “W.I.N.” I borrowed this saying from my high school football coach. Essentially, you should ask yourself during each task, “What’s important now?” And you’ll continually weed out nonproductive behavior.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? This might not qualify as a true side hustle, but some variation of coaching or personal training — helping others perform at their best.
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Golf is a great mental escape. Fresh air, competition, camaraderie and no cellphone for a few hours. It checks off a bunch of wellness boxes for me.
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game? During quarantine my wife taught me how to lose to her in backgammon.
What’s your go-to delivery service (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)? Fitlife Foods
What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings? I caught myself using the phrase “Zoom you soon” recently. Maybe it’s time to explore some other platforms.
What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic? "American in Color" on Smithsonian Channel
What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March? We tried a 45-person happy hour with my Leadership Florida class in the early days of shutdown. It took us just about month to get through the first round of introductions.
How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic? Surprisingly a lot, internally anyway.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic? Remind the people in your life how much they mean to you.
What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic? Hugs, smiles, high fives and handshakes.
What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic? Prior to the birth of our daughter in July, I was reading two to three books a week. Since then, I’m really enjoying being a dad.
Do you prefer working from home or working from an office? There is nothing like being in the office and working side by side with your teammates, but I am enjoying the commute.
How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic? Culturally, we’re wired to over-communicate, especially in times of crisis, so we've been able to transition to work-from-home fairly seamlessly. From there we've made a conscious effort to manage expectations, take extra time to check in with one another and respect work-life boundaries.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic? Let’s be optimistic about treatments and vaccines for a moment. How about sitting in a packed house to watch our Bucs win Super Bowl LV, right here in our own backyard?