Gregory O. Smiley
NYS Executive Chamber,
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York City
Gregory O. Smiley was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and grew up in the East New York community of Brooklyn, N.Y. He recalls that every time he stepped out of his neighborhood, he became aware of how economically, educationally and socially underserved his community was. These inequalities gave him the drive to pursue a career in public service. “The work I do allows me to influence policy and influence people, which has a profound impact,” he states.
Smiley’s public service career began more than 10 years ago and in the years that followed he has worked with the New York State Assembly and as assistant to the state director of Nevada during Sen. Barack Obama’s first campaign for the presidency of the United States. While working on Obama’s campaign, Smiley aided in strategy development, coalition building, organizing and identifying areas for Get Out The Vote initiatives. He is now the regional representative for the office of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, serving as the principal liaison to members of the State Legislature, U.S. Congress, partner agencies, associations, councils and advocacy groups in Kings County (Brooklyn). He maintains that he is extremely passionate about his work, but concedes that separating emotions from his work is challenging at times. “I’m learning to accept that I won’t be able to solve every problem or satisfy everyone,” he says. “I give my best in everything I do and I am learning to be happy with that.”
Smiley received a bachelor’s degree in political science and Black studies from The City College of New York and currently is a Public Service Management Scholar at the same institution, set to receive a master’s in public administration next spring. In his free time, Smiley enjoys nature. His favorite ways of doing so are camping, horseback riding and relaxing on the beach.