Grown in Grounds | Women in Grounds

March 11, 2024

A career in grounds management was a long time coming for Sabrina Smith. Today, she is the Lead of Horticulture with one of our SSC teams, but her time in grounds began much earlier in life when she was just a kid.

“My grandmother and her sister did staging for multimillion-dollar homes, so as a kid, I used to help them. One day, when I was maybe 16 or 17, someone asked me to do their yard, and I said, “Why not?” and just got into it. I was always the kid who was outside playing in the dirt; My mother always taught me that putting your hand in the soil helps you mentally and physically. My passion for grounds runs in the family.”


Before joining the SSC team, Sabrina was a florist and designed arrangements, bouquets, and wedding displays. In this role, she fine-tuned her eye for design in a professional setting. Next, she worked in a wholesale plant nursery and increased her knowledge of different types of plants and flowers, including how to plant and keep them alive and thriving in their environments.

Sabrina joined SSC as a groundskeeper in 2023 after her uncle, an irrigation tech with the company, alerted her to an opening with SSC. It didn’t take long for her to make a great impression – just months after getting started, Sabrina was recognized by George Bernardon, VP of Grounds at the time, for her quick thinking and expertise when the team was in a pinch and in need of assistance with design.

Stepping Up & Standing Out

A previous manager pre-ordered a load of flowers but didn’t leave a design. Sabrina was a newer hourly associate, but she jumped into action. She got a list of everything she had available, sketched out ideas, and worked alongside her manager to make her vision a reality. This initiative led to her quick promotion to her position of horticulture lead.

Sabrina now leads the charge in designing many of the beds that SSC installs on her campus. As a woman with plentiful experience in the industry, she has expertise in colors, layouts, and plant health that equips her to do this job exceptionally well.

When it comes to leading a predominantly male team, she says everyone has been great about having a woman in grounds leadership.

“I try not to be intimidated by men on the team because, honestly, it’s no different than working with anyone. You treat everyone the same – how you want to be treated – and you come at it with full confidence, and you’ll have no problems. If anyone gives you issues, you let it roll off your back.”


Her biggest piece of advice to other women in the industry, or women who want to get into grounds, is to be bold, put yourself out there and try new things.

“Without putting myself out there and making mistakes, I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today. My failures have made me stronger. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and try new things/learn new things.”


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