On a monthly basis, we would like to feature our community members and showcase their work in the field of women and gender studies.
We would like you to meet Jessica Smith of the Women's Business Center of Northern Virginia where she connects women, minorities and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals with the resources they need to build sustainable businesses. She has also presented her work at the Women and Gender Studies Annual Gender Research Conference in the past.
In February, Jessica was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Reward at the 3rd Annual Black Excellence Gala, hosted by GMU's Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education.
Jessica graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Communication and Philosophy, magna cum laude. During her academic tenure, Jessica’s passion for mentorship and leadership development was honed through a variety of service-oriented organizations. She planned personal and professional development events through her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; tutored middle school students through the National Society of Collegiate Scholars; served as a peer mentor through the women’s empowerment organization, Chase Dreams Not Boys Inc. and advocated for disadvantaged populations as a staff writer for the university newspaper.
The strong support system she found in these like-minded communities led her to pursue various programming and development roles in nonprofit organizations upon graduation. She spent her post-graduate gap year in New York City, completing a residential ministry training program with Every Nation Church, NYC. During this time, Jessica was able to equip both students and young professionals with the confidence to carry out their life callings in their various spheres through motivational events, inspirational talks, support groups and introspective interviews.
Upon completing her time in New York, Jessica moved back to the Northern Virginia area to serve as a youth development specialist. She developed diverse curricula that engaged teenagers in self-reflective exercises to broaden their understanding of themselves in the world around them. Currently, Jessica is a business counselor at the Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia, where she connects women, minorities and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals with the resources they need to build sustainable businesses. Her clients range from age 17 to 70, and she is able to relate to all of them with poise and grace.
Outside of her role at the WBC, Jessica writes for various publications as a way to share her expertise with a larger audience. Jessica has been featured in Black Enterprise and recently received the Carol A. Coleman Award for her commitment to empowering women in the community. She has also been invited to speak at a number of community events related to personal and professional growth. No matter what role she’s in, she will always find a way to get planted into a community and lend a helping hand.
March 14, 2018