News & Press
Profile of MEDC Board Member Monica Smith
When Monica Smith landed her first job, she didn’t realize how it might hint at her future career.
“I started working in the hospitality industry when I was 14 as a busgirl at an upscale restaurant in Cleveland, (Ohio),” said Smith, CEO and president of the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“When I was a young girl, I knew I would probably be the first person in my family to go to college,” said the 39-year-old Smith. “I really had an inkling that it was going to be business related, but at that time I thought I was going to become a CPA or be an accountant. That all kind of changed.”
Smith’s career led her to various positions within the hospitality industry -- from a back-of-the-house account executive to hotel sales positions and to work at a CVB in California. She has been in Macon’s top CVB spot since 2010 following longtime CEO Janice Marshall’s retirement.
Smith’s family moved to Cleveland from Jacksonville, Fla., when she was about 7. Growing up in the inner city, Smith focused on getting good grades and was involved in church and youth activities.
At nearly 5 feet 11 inches tall, Smith played high-school basketball, and while she didn’t play when she went to Cornell University, she was one of three female managers for the men’s basketball team.
“I’m pretty much into basketball,” she said. “I don’t watch as much as my husband and sons, but I watch my fair share.”
Besides being team manager during college, she worked in the accounting office at the Statler Hotel connected to Cornell, which is somewhat of a training hotel for students.
At one point, Smith also worked in one of the campus libraries.