Amber Smith

Company: Capital Talent Partners
Position: Senior Recruiter and Business Consultant
Age: 29

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

El Paso, TX

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?

I moved here March 2016 from Greenville, SC

TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?

Although I’m originally from El Paso, I grew up as an Army brat moving about every 2-4 years of my life. After graduating high school, I received a lacrosse scholarship to attend Tennessee Wesleyan College. However, after giving TWC a shot I ultimately ended up transferring to University of South Carolina after realizing I wanted to attend a bigger school and the curriculum TWC offered wouldn’t lead to a career I was interested in among other reasons that all led to “this school just isn’t the right fit for me.”

Sometime after my 1st year at USC wrapped up my friend, Lawrence, told me about his plan to move to St. Thomas…because “island life”, right? A few days later my dad came to Columbia to visit where I told him about Lawrence’s plan over dinner. I’m sure my dad immediately regretted showing his excitement over the idea because my next response was something along the lines of ,“Great, because I’ve decided I’m going too!” In my defense, you can’t raise your kid as a nomad relocating from city to city and NOT expect them to pick up a love for travel and adventure.
Luckily for my parents, living in St. Thomas was exactly what I needed to acquire a true sense of ambition and motivation for success. The island was beautiful, but all the time spent on gorgeous beaches shared with resorts or stunning homes on the north side of that floating rock made me realize I’d prefer to be in these places on vacation or as the homeowner rather than dirt broke and working there.

A little after returning to USC and a more “normal” lifestyle I found out that I had a type of cancer that’s not entirely uncommon in precancerous or mild forms, but lucky me … I had a particularly aggressive and persistent strain. No worries though, my story has a happy ending. After a couple of roller coaster years where I learned just how amazing my support system truly is, I was able to say, “Hasta la vista, baby!” I can ecstatically report that my check up this year shows I still have a clean bill of health.

All of the absences and other problems that arose for my schooling during my health issues led my advisor to recommend I switch majors to avoid a true crisis or more time wasted. The program I switched to required me to take up an internship related to public service. I’d always wanted to become a lawyer, although, I didn’t feel as though it was something I could personally afford so I decided I’d test out other avenues of working within the legal system and became a Guardian Ad Litem through CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). It was here that I learned the joy community service brings me.

After college I’d dreamed of moving to Nashville, but life had other plans. Constant transportation issues, such as, having my car stolen after I had it towed to a shop in a snowstorm, then a moped stolen (I swear you can’t make this stuff up!), and so on drove me (pun intended) to spend what little savings I had on a new car instead of moving to a new state.
I settled down in Greenville, SC after accepting a position with a marketing company. Restless as a brand rep during a trade show at a store one day I decided to pretend I was 007, and the “enemy” were my co-workers covering a different trade show in the same store. Just as I was rearing back with a pillow in hand to thwart my “foes” … they turned around and caught me – and that’s how I met my current boyfriend.

Before I left Greenville for Charlotte I was determined to make it work so I’d work during the day as a staffing supervisor for a staffing agency then change in the bathroom to wait tables during nights and weekends and then use any spare second from those 2 jobs earning additional income by modeling and acting. Eventually ramen in the dark lost its charm so we (my boyfriend, John, and I) accepted jobs in Charlotte and decided to give the Queen City a try.
I vowed that I wouldn’t give up until I was successful by my own terms and earned enough to comfortably make ends meet. I also promised myself that once I achieved this, I would devote all of my spare time I’d given to 2nd, 3rd, 4th jobs to what I’d learned in college I’m truly passionate about … public service.

I’m happy to say these are 2 commitments I have been able to fulfill to myself since I moved to Charlotte.
Never give up.

DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?

I volunteer with so many organizations that it’d seriously cause anyone that inquired about it in small talk to immediately regret it because they’d think I’d never shut up.

Beds for Kids is an organization local to Charlotte that I feel deserves much more awareness within our community.
I’ve actually interacted less with this group than with the others I’m a part of, but even still, a memory from my time with them is what sticks out to me the most because it shook me to my core.

We received an order of what type of furniture was needed for a home in Charlotte, so we ran through the warehouse selecting what we thought fit the description best. After loading and unloading everything onto the truck we came to the more intimate portion of the delivery. As we set up her son’s new bedroom, a woman younger than myself, told me about how she had been living in a shelter while finishing school. Now that she’d completed school and was able to enroll in a program to obtain housing, she was able to get her child back from his father and start a job with the education she’d received. That night I told John just how mind blown I was about this woman that selflessly lived somewhere she didn’t want to, and gave up her child for a longer period of time than she wanted so that she could do what she knew she needed to provide the best life she’s able to for the both of them. She humbly allowed me to show her how pillow shams and fitted sheets work. It had never even occurred to me that some people have never even used these. All of this within a 7-minute drive from my house.

The next time you’re about to log into your computer to take to Facebook to complain about something in your community I want you to stop and instead head to Google. Look up charities in Charlotte, women’s rights, civil rights, ANYTHING related to how you can actually cause change rather than simply complain. It isn’t hard to get involved and there are more ways that you can help than by simply giving money, although, donating whenever you’re able is certainly appreciated! There are people within YOUR own community every day that need you.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY? PLEASE BE AS DETAILED AS YOU CAN.

● This year I participated in the MLK parade in Charlotte as a volunteer of the United Charlotte Women’s March

● I am a member/activist with the Charlotte Reproductive Action Network (CRAN)

● I will be participating in the Labor Day parade in Charlotte as a representative of CRAN

● Helping as a member of CRAN to host a candidate forum and provide a voter guide this August for the city’s upcoming elections

● In June of this year, myself and the other members of CRAN gathered religious leaders that are politically involved and from various beliefs to form a panel for a conversation during an event we held for the members of the Charlotte community about how a person’s belief doesn’t necessarily have to pigeon-hole them into certain conservative political stances like a lot of people currently believe, and the true history and their religion’s stance on today’s political issues. This event was liked well enough that we are currently partnering with other organizations throughout the nation that caught wind of the event to hold similar events in their states. We are also working with a videographer to cut the footage of the event down to snippets for social media.

● I’ll be participating in the Around the Crown 10k later this year

● As of August 8th, of this year I will be volunteering to assist with Jorge Millares’ campaign for the city’s upcoming election

● In September of this year, myself and the other members of CRAN will be hosting an event for the Charlotte community to learn what the difference between CPCs and women’s clinics are, how their tax dollars go to them, and a workshop afterward to write their legislation on their thoughts about them. We will also have Senator Natasha Marcus as a speaker.

● After years of working as a legal observer for a women’s clinic here in Charlotte, we were finally able to get a noise ordinance passed after a public forum with city council earlier this year that I spoke at. This is to help ensure that those that frequent our city’s clinics are able to do so with less harassment.

● I am a member of the Charlotte Chapter of the Climate Reality Project

● The Charlotte Chapter of the Climate Reality Project that I’m a member of is hosting an event this August called Candidate Conversations on Climate so that those running in the city’s upcoming elections can state their stance on these issues to the voters

● I’ve volunteered for Julia’s Cafe and Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte by collecting books from local neighborhoods to sell at Julia’s Cafe so that the proceeds could go toward supplies to build the homes

● I’ve worked with Beds for Kids to provide furniture for homes for less fortunate families within Charlotte

● In July of this year, myself, the other members of the Climate Reality Project and the Catawba Riverkeepers partnered together to clean up a portion of the Catawba River by Catawba Brewery. In 1 hour and 20 minutes just 20 of us pulled out 2,000 lbs. of trash!

● I am a member of the National Organization for Women

● I am a volunteer for Patriots Path

● I am a member of the Reproductive Rights Coalition

PLEASE LET US KNOW ANY AWARDS OR RECOGNITIONS YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER:

● I was promoted from Brand Ambassador to Campaign Manager at Modern Marketing within less than 60 days

● I was tasked with a large bulk of the branch manager’s responsibilities on my 1st day reporting back after training out of state upon his departure with the company at Belflex Staffing

● I was promoted from Recruiter to Account Executive over a team of recruiters after 90 days while at Tech USA

● As of the end of July I have provided my company with over $300,000 in revenue for 2019 so far

● I provided my company with over $250,000 in revenue from placements (both direct-hire and contractor) during the final 7 months of 2018

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?

I love spending time with my boyfriend, our 2 cats (Charles and Margaret), with any dog that’s ever existed, and our friends and family. I also enjoy traveling, the outdoors, trying new things, FOOD, art (painting, charcoals, etc.), crafts or handy work (woodworking, ideas for our 3D printer, etc.), and I really enjoy learning. I’m just a curious person. I’ve left my phone at home while going out for the night and I was more pained about not having Google at my fingertips for every question that pops into my head than anything else.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?

“I’ve spent a lifetime in challenge. There’s no way in which you can create any meaningful change unless you do that.” ― Bella Abzug

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?

Within the next 5 years I hope to have only taken steps forward in my career, not backward. To have traveled, learned, and loved more. To become a greater impact toward causes I’m passionate about with my public service work, and more involved with political collaborations. I would like to be married by then, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed on that one. I’m not sure when exactly I’d like to begin a family of my own, but I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to starting within the next 5 years. Some of my plans and goals aren’t ready to be divulged yet so anyone that cares will just have to keep following to find out. However, I can say that my experience has shown that you can attempt to map everything out as much as you’d like, but life will undoubtedly have other plans.

CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Of course! I would LOVE to take my parents to St Thomas one day. They’ve never been to the Caribbean, and I know how much it’d mean to them, especially after I lived there and told them about how beautiful it was. They deserve it.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?

My birthday is only 9 days apart from my boyfriend’s. Every year we plan a trip together to celebrate. I last used my passport on this yearly trip to vacation in the Dominican Republic.

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?

As a kid, my brother and his friends took karate (Isshinryu style from Okinawan). My brother’s only 14 months younger than I so we’re fairly close, and after getting tired of sitting around watching him during his classes I decided to join too. In 1999 I won the national title of USYKA Champion for my division. I actually had the chickenpox, so my brother went to Florida to accept the award on my behalf. I thought it was so nerdy growing up so there aren’t very many people that know.

WHO IS YOUR HERO?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. To be so passionate, fierce, wise, relentless and accomplished in her era with all the obstacles that came with it, and to still be such an impact today AND to do all of that while juggling a dozen other things like being a mother or assisting a husband recovering from testicular cancer…well, it just leaves me in awe.

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

I am part of a Charlotte Ladies Book Club so the most recent books we’ve read are “Divided We Stand” by Marjorie Spruill Wheeler and “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger” by Rebecca Traister. We are now currently reading “Text Me When You Get Home” by Kayleen Schaefer.

WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?

The last movie I saw in theaters was Detective Pikachu, but I’m constantly binging on documentaries and rom coms while at home.

WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?

The last concert I saw was Montgomery Gentry. I do a little social media promo work for concerts in the area in exchange for free tickets so they gave me those tickets, as well as, the tickets to see Kane Brown and Brad Paisley prior to that, and to the Chase Rice concert I’ll be attending in August of this year. I’ll be going to see Taking Back Sunday in October of this year. I’m also weirdly lucky at winning concert tickets on the radio so I’ve gotten tickets this way for Chris Brown, J Cole, and Kendrick Lamar since I moved to Charlotte.

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