Title: Chief of Staff
Company: Benedict College
Location: Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Ceeon Smith, Chief of Staff at Benedict College, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in communications.
Dr. Smith was initially inspired to pursue her field after really seeing firsthand the impacts of unexpected accordance. She saw families struggle every week during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, and she was dedicated to making a difference in their lives and making sure they were still able to receive the gift of an education. Dr. Smith’s godmother, Yvette Smiley Smith, told her to do what she could do to make the world a better place. Ever since then, she has strived to do so. Dr. Smith feels that she was chosen by her career, as opposed to choosing her own career. She was interested in communications since high school and she wanted to sharpen her writing abilities, as she was always skilled in math and science. Following her interests, Ms. Smith met Mr. O. Duke, who taught her about the field of communications and what it had to offer.
Much of Dr. Smith’s career has consisted of working in crisis situations, which requires the communication skills she had learned years earlier. However, she never learned exactly how to operate in a crisis. Learning from her experiences, Dr. Smith feels she has performed well thus far. After her experience in the BP Oil Crisis, she was preparing for her doctorate and realized that the future held endless possibilities of crises that would require solving. This prompted her decision to pursue a career in higher education. Dr. Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Howard University. She then received a Doctor of Philosophy from Arizona State University.
Dr. Smith was the first African American to receive a PhD from Arizona State University. Her greatest career achievement to date is working as an executive assistant to the Mayor of Communications in the city of New Orleans in August of 2006, which was one year after Hurricane Katrina. She was young, but the challenge was that an entire city had been displaced and the residents had not gotten back to their homes yet. She was able to go to New Orleans to help and work with a team to help the residents. Moreover, Dr. Smith was able to show people that progress and preparations were being made so they could return home, which was fulfilling personally and professionally. Just seeing the traffic lights being completed was rewarding. Being able to walk through the community and talk to the people, as well as helping them to make positive decisions that would affect their lives and the lives of the next generation, was rewarding. Dr. Smith feels lucky to be able to have witnessed the reconstruction of New Orleans.
Dr. Smith began her career as an adjunct instructor with Alabama State University for 10 years, going on to become a faculty associate at Arizona State University for five years. For the next seven years, she was a senior publicist for BET. In 2016, Dr. Smith became the vice president of external affairs and communications at Florida Memorial University. That same year, she began working as a communications administrator and crisis communication professor at the university, holding that position to this day. Since 2017, she has also been the chief of staff at Benedict College. As a testament to her success, Dr. Smith received a CIC Presidential Vocation from the Council of Independent Colleges in 2019. She has also been inducted as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, The Links, Inc. and Blessed 26.
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