Prestigious Women Awards Honorees: Germaine Smith Baugh
Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh is President and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County – a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating the standard of living for families in underserved urban communities. In 2006, Dr. Smith-Baugh was appointed as the only woman to lead an Urban League affiliate in Florida. She is credited with several achievements including the opening of a $9 million Community Empowerment Center located in the Historic Sistrunk Community. In 2015, Germaine spearheaded efforts to secure Greater Fort Lauderdale as the premier destination for the National Urban League Conference which attracted over 13,000 attendees and generated an estimated economic impact of $10 million for the region. Her most notable recent honors include Ultimate CEOs by the South Florida Business Journal in 2017; named the 2018 African American Achiever for Community Service by JM Family Enterprises and was recently inducted into The Jim Moran Institute’s South Florida Fellows. A native of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Germaine holds a dual bachelor’s degree in business communications, a master’s degree in social work administration, and a doctorate in organizational leadership with a concentration in non-profit leadership and management.
Favorite quote: Well behaved women rarely make history.
Fun fact: As the last of five children, I am 12 years younger than the sibling ahead of me – so I grew up like an only child.
How do you unwind after a long day of work? After a long day, I honestly like to be alone. I spend a great deal of my time interacting with many people and the idea of alone and quiet is fine with me.
What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? There are many challenges that I face daily in my career -too list them would take too much time. I believe what is important is how to overcome them. I have very simply true north which is prayer and my faith in Jesus Christ. The principles that I glean from my faith helps me to see the possibilities in the middle of adversity.
What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? The most monumental moment was having my husband and children as well as my parents and siblings join me in the grand opening of the Urban League’s Community Empowerment Center in 2012. The CEC is built to change the lives of families and to have my family there and to know how far we have come from immigrants to the USVI, it is a blessing.
Who are your role models? I find role models in every sphere of my life – both younger and older. I think that for me it is simply an idea of how we connect with people and our willingness to be open to what the universe has to offer in the process.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? My grandmother would always tell me “if you want clean water, then go to the head of the fountain”. It is the best leadership advice ever!
What advice would you give a young woman at the start of her career? The advice I would give her is something that I have adopted most recently “if it is not in your imagination then it cannot be a part of your future”. So I would advise all young women to imagine all the possibilities and don’t be concerned if others don’t see what you see.
How does being a woman has impacted your career? I enjoy being a woman leader. It has not been without its challenges; however, for every challenge, there is so much to celebrate. Being a woman gives me a perspective at the table that I feel is honoring to those around me and gives me the opportunity to assertively address many of the injustices I see in our community. It also allows me to wear some really cool heels!