Whenever people see or cross paths with Lavenda Smith, they would be witnessing a true fighter.
A proven winner.
Not to mention a woman who boasts relentless faith.
Take, for instance, how Smith, a native Memphian, managed to persevere and press her way through an assortment of adversities and hardships and tribulations years after earning her high school diploma 21 years ago.
A 1995 graduate of Memphis Catholic High, Smith enrolled at nearby Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi, where she majored in Early Childhood Education until 1996.
However, after transferring to then-Shelby State Community College the following year to continuing studying the same area, Smith learned that she was pregnant with her firstborn, a shocking discovery that eventually gave way to her subsequent withdrawal from school.
In fact, it wasn’t until approximately nine years later that Smith returned to school full-time student at what is now Southwest Community College where she switched her major and amassed a 4.0 grade — all while raising three “amazing children by myself,” she recalls.
Surely, the proverbial self-re-invention wasn’t an easy task for Smith who, even while attending school full time, worked for the Shelby County Housing Authority as an office Assistant and spent the better part of her mornings driving school busses for Laidlaw Transportation.
Now a mother of four, Smith gave birth to her last child in 2010, a development that forced her to vacate school once again, this time 14 hours shy of earning her Associate’s Degree in Education only to find out I was expecting my fourth living child.
Still, even as a single parent, she was determined not to become just another statistic in a city that is mired by a plethora of single-parent homes, a city that is plagued by senseless crimes and a seemingly continuous downtrodden economic landscape.
To her credit, she enrolled and was later accepted into the Healthcare Institute, where she took part in a three-week course to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.
As expected, she mastered in flying colors, proving yet again that she is a true fighter.
A proven winner.
“I completed the course and received my Certification and License as a CNA,” Smith told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview.
Fortunately for Smith, such a remarkable achievement gave way to others, most notably the golden opportunity to engage in the world of entreprenuerialship.
Today, Smith, 38, is owner and chief executive officer of DABB Enterprise, LLC, a two-fold business venture in which Smith assumes the roles as a well-established professional tax preparer (for nine years and counting and a notary republic (for five years and counting).
In addition, Smith has been an accomplished poet and author since 2013, having published two books, most notably her debut work entitled, “Reflection of My Past~Restoration to My Present~Revelation of My Future.”
Unleashed Chains2 will be released shortly after The Life of A Poet. Unleashed Chains was released in mid-January.
What’s so intriguing about “Unleashed Chains” — a series novel based on a true story — is that it skyrocketed to No. 96 within a span of 24 hours.
According to Smith, plans are already in the works to release a book entitled, “Life of A Poet,” sometime in March, followed by the much-anticipated release of “Unleashed Chains” shortly thereafter.
“The competitive drive in sports propelled me for my business venture, because I had a passion to play basketball, which was my outlet away from every horrific experience I encountered as a child,” Smith, a former multi-sport athlete, explained. “Basketball and any sport that I participated in helped me to cope with the things I encountered as a child and adult, such as the mental and verbal abuse, molestation, rape, and raising four amazing children on my own. Playing sports has given me the opportunity to coach basketball for the past nine years.”
As for erecting her own business, Smith said, “What I like most about being in my business is that I can provide exceptional service to a diverse group of people. I can mentor and empower others through sharing my testimony and to embrace them to know that they are not alone.”
That her relentless, bend-but-don’t-break faith has enabled her to weather an assortment of obstacles is amongst the grandest reasons Smith view her business ownership venture as a ministry, of sorts.
In other words, not only is she afforded the golden opportunities to share her life-changing stories, but she’s afforded the opportunity to generate income in the process.
“My personal mission for doing the work that I am called to do and have a passion to do is to touch lives just by way of offering my services with a passion…to embrace and love every person I come in contact with,” Smith said. “If my sharing my testimony on how far God has brought me and where He continues to take me can help change and save a life, that further lets me know that my purpose in life is not in vain.”
Spoken like a true fighter.
A proven winner.
Yep, that’s Lavenda Smith for you.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.