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Girl Boss: My Mother Shelby, Joi Smither

As soon as this week’s topic “Girl boss” was announced, I immediately thought of none other than my mom Shelby Joi Smither. She is THE girl boss and her career is amazing and the way that she got there is admirable. My mom works/travels for her corporate job every single day and has the ability to deal with all types of people. She is a strong Black women who can hold her own in every situation and that is all shown in her career. My mom works as an executive at IBM. She is a Human Resources Leader. 


I am going to ask my mom 5 questions about being a Black woman in a career run by mostly white men, and what she does to hold her own. 


1). How have you had to deal with prejudice in the workplace? 

“ Sometimes people do not value my comments or my role and my expertise, and so what I do is not let that bother me or stop me, I continue to build my credibility and over time they realize that I know what I am doing, and then we go from there. They then find my expertise helpful.” 


2) How have you balanced your demanding career with being a mom and wife? 

“ I have been fortunate to work for an employer that gives me flexibility to control where I work and how much I work. I also have a lot of technology that supports my flexibility, I am able to do a lot of work from my computer and phone. We also have web conference personality where I can be in meetings and be anywhere.” 


3.) What are your three tips to be successful in corporate america  as a Black woman? 

  • “My first tip is to take the time to develop your craft , and be an expert in your space. “

  • “My second tip is to build and grow your reputation”

  • “Know your value “



Sierra Smither

Hampton U '21

Sierra Smither is a Junior psychology major from Boston Massachusetts! She enjoys writing, hanging out with friends and family, sports, and reading!
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