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Jane E. Smith, Executive Director
Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (LEADS)
Spelman College


Jane E. Smith, Executive Director, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (LEADS), Spelman College.

Jane E. Smith is an accomplished educator and nonprofit executive. Since 2004, she has served as the executive director of the Spelman College Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (LEADS), where she has convened a successful annual leadership conference. Prior to joining LEADS, Dr. Smith held national leadership positions at Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, INROADS Inc. and The Carter Center. Previously, she served as president and CEO of the National Council of Negro Women and CEO of Business and Professional Women/USA. Dr. Smith is a nationally recognized thought leader and speaker (Jane Smith Speaks!) who delivers keynote presentations on life-long learning, leadership development and civic engagement. She is currently working on two books, A Life in Four Quarters and A Call to Leadership.

Dr. Smith’s career includes membership on numerous boards: Delta Air Lines Board of Curators; The American Institute for Public Service; “To The Contrary,” a nationally syndicated television program; The University of the District of Columbia; Higher Education Resource Services; and the United States Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She has served as a member of the National Judging Panel for the National Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, and as a judge for Lifetime Television’s Lifetime Achievement Awards. Currently, she serves as general co-chair for the board of the Alliance for Digital Equality, and she is a board member of Public Leadership Education Network and the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation.

Dr. Smith was appointed by former President William Jefferson Clinton to the National Women’s Business Council and by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to the United Nations Beijing Plus Five Conference delegation. She is a member of the International and Georgia Women’s Forums and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She is also a member of the National Park Service’s honorary committee for the 30th Anniversary of the official opening of the National Archives for Black Women’s History. Dr. Smith is a fellow of the American Council on Education and a 1980 graduate of Leadership Atlanta.

Dr. Smith holds a doctorate in social policy analysis from Harvard University, a master’s degree in sociology from Emory University, a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Spelman College, and two honorary doctorates. In addition to her academic achievements, Dr. Smith has received many awards of distinction and recognitions for exemplary service including the Johnnetta B. Cole Achievement Award, the Emory University Alumni Medal, the American Association of University Women’s Woman of Distinction Award, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Roy Wilkins Award, and the National Council of Negro Women’s Presidents Award. Additionally, she has received recognition from local and national media.

Dr. Smith is a proud member of the “baby boomer” generation and has two sons and four grandchildren.