Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too” blared through the speakers when Courtney Smith was announced Duneland Chamber’s 2018 Ambassador of the Year. She was speechless. And not because she just had her tonsils removed.
“It was humbling to be recognized. I don’t expect anything, or recognition,” Smith said. “I like to fly under the radar, probably because I grew up in a big-name family. But I’m just me,” she said.
Smith is a humble people person with an upbeat personality. She is known for her blunt words and warm heart.
Smith shines in her role as Ambassador for the Duneland Chamber of Commerce and dedicates 25-40 hours a month volunteering. She does it for her spirit, and to be an example for her two daughters.
“I’m not home for dinner every night, but my family doesn’t question me because they know how important it is,” Smith said. “When I give up my time, I’m hoping that they will do it, too.”
Smith is a lawyer who practices family law and also works with people in need of guardianship over adult family members. She loves her career, especially when she forms a bond with her clients as they help their elderly parents move into long term care facilities. Smith has a soft spot in her heart for the elderly.
While eating lunch with a client’s sister at Journey Senior Living, Smith was invited to call bingo. She jumped at the chance. To make it exciting for the bingo players, Smith purchases prizes like lotions, air fresheners, and supplies to decorate their doors. She attends all events at Journey Senior Living.
“I like working with the elderly,” Smith said. “It’s nice for them to see a new face and have fun with bingo.”
From a meaningful career, to motherhood, and with all of her volunteering and sponsorships, Smith leads an exciting life. Regardless of her tight schedule, Smith never puts her health on the back burner. She got involved with the American Heart Association Executive Leadership Team, to help with “Go Red for Women” and fundraising for Northwest Indiana. She was inspired to be a part of the solution of heart disease when a close friend had a heart attack in her 20s. Her friend was told her symptoms were just anxiety. Smith believes knowing the signs of heart distress is important, especially for the busy, modern-day woman.
“We women push ourselves,” Smith said. “We are the first to sacrifice ourselves for family and jobs and a lot of women don’t know the signs that something is wrong. They might think it’s just anxiety or stress.”
Smith has lent her time and talents to countless organizations such as: Valparaiso Parks & Recreation, Opportunity Enterprise, Shared Ethics Advisory Commission, and the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In addition, Smith gifts monetary donations to organizations and individuals in need. Smith prefers to be anonymous with her gifts, because she does not do it for self-promotion. An example is when she sponsored a friend’s child in a soapbox derby, and declined having her name on the side of the car.
“You get what you give,” Smith said. “If you volunteer a half an hour, the rewards are two fold.”