February 10: Ava Smith

Ava Smith is a leader and entrepreneur in the Upstate of South Carolina.  She has over 20 years of experience as a Human Resources Professional. Her experience includes employee relations, compliance, recruitment, retention, and training. Ava began her career in the non-profit sector, and shifted into manufacturing, the corporate arena, and staffing. She progressively moved upward in her positions, serving a range of roles from HR Assistant to serving as an HR Director.

In August, 2002, Ava began her own firm, HR Specialties specializing in providing HR services, training, and recruiting. In 2010, she formed a permanent placement agency called Flat Fee Recruiting that has been recognized in business publications. Flat Fee Recruiting received the Minority Business of the Year Award in 2013 through the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. She is also a noted Diversity Trainer.

Ava Smith is a noted Diversity Trainer and has delivered hundreds of sessions throughout the Southeast since 2005. Clients have included corporations, manufactures, non-profits, service organizations, government officials, municipalities, universities, hospital systems, local chambers, and faith-based organizations. Using her unique style and approach, she captures her audience and brings them through diversity topics with ease. Ava creates an environment that fosters candid dialogue in a safe atmosphere. High evaluations from employees and participants validate her effectiveness and she is often requested to return. 

In addition to making an impact through diversity training, Ava Smith has supported her community in the Upstate of South Carolina by serving with several organizations. Ava is currently chair of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Greenville Women at Work (GW@W) initiative. She also serves on the advisory boards of Virginia College and ECPI School of Technology. She previously served as a member of the Clemson CU-ICAR Diversity Committee and the Greenville Technical College Multicultural Advisory Board. She is an active member of the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce and serves an Ambassador for the organization. She is also an Alumni of the Riley Institute at Furman University Diversity Leadership Academy.

Ava Smith has been recognized for her accomplishments and contributions to the community. Notable awards and honors include the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce Minority Business of the Year (2012), Greenville Cultural Exchange Woman Making History Award, SHRM-Greenville Chapter Excellence In Diversity Award (2015), and YWCA Dream Achiever.

Ava Smith holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Limestone College and is a Lifetime Member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society. She resides in Greenville with her children and her grand-daughter.