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Exploring Life & Business with Stephenie Smith of Sophic Solutions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephenie Smith.

Hi Stephenie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I grew up in Kansas City, KS (Wyandotte County to be exact). My community, especially my Parents and Sister raised me with love and a strong connection to the community. I went on to study at Fisk University in Nashville. TN. My world continued to open up as I studied community mobilization and Africana Studies.

After graduate school, I worked alongside people who were living through traumatic situations: Chronic disease and illnesses, racism, poverty, abuse. I started getting curious about root causes and how systems can better work on the behalf of people. My work moved from direct service to macro over time. Along this journey. I met my best friend and now husband, Dr. Rodney Smith. Together, we founded Sophic Solutions in 2007.

Today, we support a cross-industry of organizations and people who are committed to navigating change through an equity lens. I also dedicate, with intention, a considerable amount of time volunteering in my community. I recently served at the pleasure of Major Lucas as the Chair of the Kansas City, MO Redistricting Commission. At the conclusion of this 13-week endeavor, the Commission voted to recommend a courageous and monumental change to the Kansas City Map.

This change is to provide greater opportunity for the growing diversity to be better represented in our council and through decision-making bodies. To my surprise, I am the first Black women to serve in this important role.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Not at all has the road been smooth. I have faced challenges like racism, self-doubt, disappointment, hardship… like so many others. And like others, I have found my strength in the community. Addressing systems of oppression is tough. Navigating change is tough. But what is clear is my purpose. Knowing my purpose and having other committed Leaders to partner within this work is key.

One key challenge is dealing with the fear of change. Many people are naturally hesitant to embrace change (and that’s ok). But because systems change is imperative the resistance to this type of change prolongs the effects of harm. So continuing to address the hurdles, barriers and at times, some outright lies, pointed at this work, can be daunting.

But just when I began to feel depleted, my People step up! I am grateful for a dynamic team and community that reminds me of my power and purpose. I believe: People need people. I am thankful for a strong community of rememberers.

As you know, we’re big fans of Sophic Solutions, LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Sophic Solutions, LLC is change management and consulting firm based in Kansas City, Missouri. As managing partners, Rodney and I come together with over 40 years of combined experience to offer management solutions to large and small business entities, and not-for-profit agencies.

Sophic, specifically, provides educational consultation to schools and school districts, offers change management solutions to a variety of organization types, and conducts diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging training for various companies and associations. Sophic also designs an educational curriculum, offers professional development sessions, and facilitates team-building activities in addition to a number of supplementary management improvement services.

The Sophic team has been able to walk alongside and lead several key efforts in our region and beyond. Our commitment is to foster sustainable change. This work is collaborative. It is our hope that we continue to engage in this work with humility and power. The tension between these two values not only ground us but drives this important work.

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
People may not know that ‘small talk’ makes me want to melt inside. It is a struggle and I rarely engage in it. What is probably not a surprise is that I treasure meaningful connections. I trust the energy I hold and welcome new connections. So let’s connect in an authentic way.

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