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Raise Your VOICE: Corey Smith

As we continue our celebration of Black History Month, we share an interview with Corey Smith.

What Black history is important to you and your family?

Black history is important to my family because it is an opportunity to celebrate and continue to educate ourselves on the many achievements of Black people as well as the challenges along the way. There are so many stories of Black people throughout history achieving excellence despite the significant challenges in front of them, and it is important to me to know and reflect on their stories so they are recognized and inspire this and future generations. 

How do you pass along Black history and culture to the children or younger people in your life?

I pass along Black history and culture to future generations in many ways; one way is dedicating one of our family vacations each year to a museum or memorial visit, such as to the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Another way is by knowing and passing along my own family history to my daughter so that she can closely connect with the challenges and achievements that shaped our family.

Who is your role model, in life or career?

There are many role models that come to mind from afar, but the one I learned the most from is my father. The lessons he taught me about being detailed, focused, hardworking, resourceful, responsible, and caring still resonate with me today. He consistently guided me throughout my life and helped to open doors for me that truly impacted the course of my career.

When did you first see yourself represented in a cultural or professional context?

The moment I saw myself represented in a professional context was when I was interviewing for an engineering position early in my career. The final decision maker I interviewed with was a Black executive responsible for multiple automotive facilities in the US and led an organization of 10,000+ employees. While I had interviewed with Black managers before this opportunity, this was the first time I was able to closely connect with a Black leader that started his career in my field and had reached those heights. This executive eventually became a mentor to me and played a significant role in my professional development as he freely shared the path he took and thoughts on how I should navigate my own career. 

This post is part of a series as Ankura celebrates Black History Month: we recognize significant achievements, honor traditions, and celebrate our colleagues. We are excited to share the stories of Black professionals at our Firm not only in February but throughout the year.


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