Employee Spotlight: Beth Smedley
After a brief stint in the fast food industry, Beth Smedley embarked on an impressive academic journey, culminating in multiple degrees. She first earned her Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in English, showcasing her passion for language and literature, followed by a Master of Arts in Counseling, a testament to her desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Beth’s dedication and expertise led to her first job at a community college where she headed up a program working with displaced homemakers – primarily women who needed to return to the workforce due to divorce, death, or the disability of their spouse. Using a grant to train homemakers in high-wage and high-demand occupations, Beth demonstrated her commitment to empowering individuals facing challenges.
Fellow CFCC Counseling staff also recognize Beth’s commitment and admires her initiative to create, develop, plan, and facilitate Counseling events – especially in the absence of a Director of Counseling.
“Beth always shows up for her colleagues and students. She is so poised and I admire her ability to compartmentalize to serve and support those around her,” shared CFCC Counselor Mackenzie Reaves, “Beth also serves as an incredible mentor and friend in the workplace, always encouraging her co-workers, and acting as a helpful and empathetic ear when needed. Beth is an admirable leader, champion of justice and equity for her students, and is absolutely an invaluable employee of CFCC. The Counselling department would not be what it is without Beth Smedley.”
During her downtime, Beth Smedley indulges in the joys of vacationing in picturesque tropical destinations. It is during these trips that she discovered a passion for scuba diving.
Prior to their relocation to Wilmington, her family obtained their diving certifications, eagerly embracing the underwater world. However, the transition to the Atlantic Ocean presented unexpected challenges, as the ocean’s choppy waters tested their seafaring stomachs. Undeterred, Beth eagerly anticipates their next underwater adventure, yearning for the opportunity to explore calmer waters.
Before Beth sails off to her next undersea exploration, we chatted with her about her CFCC experience.
WHAT YEAR DID YOU START WORKING AT CFCC AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE?
I started as a counselor in September 2020 and previously spent 10 years at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. I’ve worked in higher education for over 25 years and liked the idea of spending these years near a beach and being on perpetual vacation.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?
I love connecting with students and providing them with encouragement. I was a first-generation college student myself and I know how confusing it can be to try to navigate the system. I became a counselor so I could help others become their best selves and do so by extending kindness and grace to the students at CFCC, as well as my co-workers.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING, WHAT DO YOU DO?
I love opportunities for being creative. Whether it is painting a room in my house, reupholstering a cushion, writing a story, or doing crafts, I get excited about making something unique and different. I also love to scuba dive and travel with my family.
WHO HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR EDUCATION AND/OR CAREER PATH?
When my husband was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 32, I thought about how I could provide for my family and be competitive in the job market if something were to happen to him. After he completed a year of chemo and radiation, I registered for my first master’s level counseling class.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
I had a wise geometry instructor in high school who one day shared with the class that he had attended Hofstra University which is a fairly expensive college. He told us if he had to do it over again, he would go to community college where he could get all his required courses for the first two years for less money. That resonated with me because I couldn’t afford to send applications to every college I was interested in. When I was ready to go to school, I remembered his comments and enrolled at Polk Community College to begin my college education.
WHAT IS SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
After a 6-year stint at McDonald’s in varying roles, including birthday party extraordinaire and morning coffee hostess, I was told I would never be able to be a manager because I was, “too nice and polite.” That was the catalyst that resulted in a full-time college course load at my local community college at the age of 21. Things came full circle when a few years later, I would get my coffee from that McDonald’s on my way to work at that community college.
DEGREES & CERTIFICATES
Associate of Arts, English, Polk State College, FL, Bachelor of Arts, English – Creative Writing (fiction), University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, Master of Arts, Counseling, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, Relevant certificates: completed certification in Impact Therapy from U West Virginia, am a certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator practitioner, and am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor
I recently joined the steering committee for “Our Future Cape Fear” which is working to increase educational attainment in the Cape Fear region by 8% by 2030. I am also active on the Domestic Violence Advocacy Committee for New Hanover County. I began my role as Director of Counseling at CFCC and look forward to further connecting with community partners.