NEA Women in Business: Elizabeth Smith

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 335 views 

Elizabeth (Liz) Smith
Executive Director
Mississippi County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Residence: Blytheville
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, Arkansas State University; graduate studies at the University of Arkansas

What was your dream job and why? I would love to be a novelist. Spending time weaving tales about the personalities and places I have encountered would be so much fun.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? Not any one moment has been most fulfilling for me. I have enjoyed some highlights, like conducting onstage interviews with Condoleezza Rice and John Grisham. But as for fulfillment, I thrive on accomplishment, so I gain a sense of satisfaction with every successful program or unique resolution.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? My career has been lengthy, but on a personal level, I hope to never tire of being an agent for positive change in whatever I do. Another challenge: I am a founding board member for the National Cold War Center in Blytheville, a museum we are developing that can be a game-changer for our area of the Arkansas Delta. It is a very exciting, but huge, undertaking.

What character traits do you feel have benefited you in your success? Intuitiveness has been a great help to me in a career that demands an understanding of people. I also believe in candor, a trait not everyone appreciates, In the long run, placing value on truth and transparency has served me well. I also embrace change — I love it — and have never been held back by fear of the new and different.

Elizabeth (Liz) Smith.

What advice would you give young women who are at the beginning of their careers? My first advice is to believe in and be yourself, maximizing the strengths that are uniquely yours, which is easier said than done. Also, perseverance and an understanding that it is never too late to try new things are essential.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? I don’t keep a bucket list, but if I did, it would be about our National Cold War Center project, as in getting the funds raised; getting the funds raised, and getting the funds raised.

What’s the last good book you read? I read a great book about the strength of women, the popular novel “Lessons in Chemistry.” Fun, and a delight to read. My favorite business-related book, which I re-read recently, is an old one called “The Radical Leap,” by Steve Farber. It is about extreme leadership.

Who have been mentors who’ve influenced your professional career? I have been very lucky on the mentorship front. Perhaps like others, I was blessed with several inspiring teachers who helped me understand my capabilities early on. I also spent 22 years in New York City working in medical education and advertising, where several people took me under their wings and led me via their terrific acumen and talent. I still feel I am being mentored today! I started my career as a classroom teacher and learned there that I could and should learn from my students — that lesson still holds. I feel mentored daily by the people I work with, and I am fortunate to work with outstanding business professionals as a chamber director.