by Amy Haggerty. Photos by Jennifer Hammerberg.
Small town guy, Mike Smith, grew up to have grandiose ideas and big dreams that he turned into reality. Thursday, September 6, with the help of a grant from the Stockbridge Area Educational Foundation, Smith came to Stockbridge and inspired students from seventh through twelfth grades during a morning assembly.
Later, he met with smaller groups of students in the library and individual classrooms. Throughout the day, Smith inspired Stockbridge students, sharing information about his own life.
Smith grew up in Nebraska, from a small town that most people have never heard of, much like Stockbridge. He was an average student and an avid skateboarder in his free time. After high school he attended a small college where he played sports.
Over time, though, Smith built a portfolio of small businesses. He is now the owner of six companies. Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that read “Vans,” sporting long hair with a baseball cap, Smith hardly fit the stereotype of the typical business owner—which was one of his points.
As Smith talked to students, they remained engaged and quiet. He moved around the floor, hollding students’ gazes, and he appeared to inspire the audience. In fact, the room remained transfixed on his every word.
Smith spends half his year on the road talking and encouraging young people around the country. The rest of the year he spends working with the companies that he owns. He talked about how to become a successful leader.
Smith told Forbes Magazine, “People always say do what you’re passionate about. It’s not quite that simplistic. You should do what you’re good at, what you have the skillset for.”
Smith educated the audience with impactful stories. It was a great day to be a student at Stockbridge Junior/Senior High.