Women’s Appreciation Month: Julia Slocombe Really C.A.R.E.S.

Julia Slocombe

March saw the celebration of Women’s Appreciation Month at Smart City Networks. This was an opportunity to reflect and express gratitude for the women who have paved the way for us. In our latest blog posts, you’ll find a collection of interviews, both print and video, from the stellar women who have shaped Smart City into what is today. We thank all the women who have participated and hope you take the time to learn more about the incredible women in our company. Today we’re talking to Julia Slocombe, Vice President of Operations and Industry Relations.

Julia Slocombe Interview:

As we celebrate Women’s Appreciation Month, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what this occasion means to you personally. Why do you think it’s important for us to take the time to honor and appreciate women’s contributions, especially within our industry?

J: Personally, when I reflect on Women’s Appreciation Month, I can’t help but think about the incredible women who have shaped my life – my mom, aunt, sister, mentor, and friends. It’s a time to pause and acknowledge their bravery, resilience, and grace. They’ve not only thrived personally but also professionally, serving as shining examples for me. Their contributions have paved the way for my own journey, and for that, I’m immensely grateful.

This month’s theme centers around “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” I’m curious to know your thoughts on this theme and how you perceive our company’s efforts in aligning with it over the years.

J: Smart City has made significant strides in this area since I first joined. The leadership is genuinely committed to fostering an inclusive environment, and it’s not just for show. However, I’ve noticed that some companies’ messaging on diversity and inclusion can feel insincere, almost like “window dressing.” It’s crucial for companies to ensure their efforts are authentic and not merely self-serving. Smart City has been careful to avoid this pitfall, which I believe has contributed to our progress in this area.

As Senior VP of Operations & Industry Relations, how do you personally champion the values of equity and diversity within our company, especially in relation to supporting women in the technology industry?


J: I actively support initiatives like our involvement with industry organizations such as IAVM and IAEE, particularly their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. Additionally, I make it a point to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the remarkable women within our company, like our CFO and NOC Manager, who have played pivotal roles in our success.

In your role, you’ve been involved in various initiatives supporting women professionally and personally. Could you share a few that stand out to you and why?

J: One initiative that stands out is the annual IAEE Women Leadership Forum. It provides an excellent opportunity for networking and learning from other women in the industry. Moderating a panel of longstanding attendees was particularly memorable for me.

Let’s talk about the C.A.R.E.S. program at Smart City. Can you explain its significance and impact on our company?

J: C.A.R.E.S. is integral to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It encompasses community outreach, accountability, retention/recruitment/recognition, equity, and support. Through this program, we ensure our workplace is diverse and inclusive while supporting our employees’ professional development.

How does the C.A.R.E.S. program specifically support women within our organization and the wider community?

J: The program provides opportunities for women’s professional development, such as attending conferences and executive courses. Additionally, it fosters a supportive culture where all team members feel empowered and valued.

Julia and Nycole Smith

In your role, how do you personally champion equity and diversity, especially for women in the technology field?

J: I lead by example and advocate for those whose voices may not always be heard. It’s essential to recognize the contributions of everyone, especially women, in shaping our company’s success.

Do you think it’s sometimes harder for women, especially in this industry, to be recognized for their accomplishments?

Women in Leadership

J: Absolutely, and it’s even more challenging for Black women. There are systemic barriers and biases that women face, which can hinder their recognition and advancement. It’s crucial to support and uplift each other in navigating these challenges.

Is educating and informing others about these challenges one of the goals of the CARES program?

J: Yes, the program aims to promote understanding and empathy among employees. By acknowledging and addressing these challenges, we can work towards a more inclusive workplace for everyone.

Looking ahead, what advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

J: Seek out mentors, remain humble, and continuously seek opportunities for growth. Set clear career goals, prioritize self-care, and actively engage in your community. Most importantly, remember that you’re not alone – there’s a network of women ready to support and uplift each other.

Any final thoughts on Smart City and Women’s Appreciation Month?

J: Smart City isn’t perfect, but I’m proud of the strides we’ve made towards equity and inclusion. We must continue to challenge ourselves and strive for progress, knowing that every effort counts towards creating a more inclusive environment for all.

Thanks to Julia Slocombe for her time! For more Smart City Spotlights, check out our blog!

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