Cameka Smith

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Cameka Smith 

Founder and CEO

The BOSS Network, Inc.

Chicago, IL

Age: 38

 

 

Downsized from her job in higher education in 2009, Cameka Smith turned to entrepreneurship. Says Smith, “People were losing their jobs and wanted to know about starting businesses. I found that there weren’t many resources in Chicago to learn how to start and grow a business, particularly for women of color. So, we launched a series of events addressing those needs and they became very popular.” Later that year, Smith launched The BOSS Network Inc. and assumed the role of CEO. “Within eight months, we were leveraging social media to engage career women and women entrepreneurs. We began giving ninety-minute workshops that catapulted the brand into a network for women of color to have conversations about career moves and starting businesses,” Smith recalls.  

 

BOSS has been consistently recognized in Forbes magazine as one of 50 best websites for entrepreneurs, as well as by Black Enterprise and other publications. “Being mentioned in Forbes several times as a top online resource was a big accomplishment that has opened doors for us to partner with some other amazing brands,” Smith admits. Earlier this year, Smith launched the nonprofit BOSS on Campus. “We go to colleges to talk about strategies for life after college and also, entrepreneurship if there’s an interest. I believe that education is legacy; once you educate yourself or someone else, you give them power to change their life. I started my nonprofit to educate other young people on the importance of creating a legacy through business,” she says.  

 

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in education from Northern Illinois University. She has a long list of activities that she enjoys, including membership in the National Association of Professional Women and the Art Institute of Chicago’s Leadership Advisory Committee. In the future, she hopes to open BOSS programs in London and Cape Town, South Africa. 

 

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