505: Turning Pain Into Triumph With Barbara Furlow-Smiles

Today's episode is with Barbara Furlow-Smiles. Barbara is the Global Engagement/Internal Resource Group Program Manager a. Facebook. She has an extensive and strategic background in Diversity and Employee Resource Group management with over 10+ years of experience.

In her previous role as Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at MTV Networks in New York, she led the diversity strategy for internal Engagement and Employee Affinity Groups domestically and globally including offices in: London, Miami, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York and Washington D.C. She was named Employee of the Month (out of 15,000 + employees) in 2013 for being the Most Inclusive employee. In her past role as Program Manager for University Relations/Diversity at Cox Communications in Atlanta, she managed full life-cycle recruitment for two programs: Summer Interns and Technology Co-ops year- round impacting over 200+ students annually. She was instrumental in establishing diversity partnerships to increase diversity recruiting efforts with top HBCU’s: Spelman College, Morehouse College and Howard University.

Barbara prides herself in always fearlessly living in her truth and finding her calling starting at: Age 15, when she started the 1st Minority Heritage Club in high school with resistance from the Principal and then launched chapters in other schools within her district with a feature in the Houston Chronicle spotlighting her win with creating these clubs that are still in existence; Age 19, she went to study abroad in South Africa at The University of Cape Town for 6-months against the wishes of her family to understand the beauty of the continent and dispel many of the stereotypes associated with Africa; Age 20, she started an international magazine called, Afro-lution, aimed to create a positive narrative of the African Diaspora and was the first student to be sold in Spelman’s & Morehouse’s bookstore; Age 21, she volunteered abroad in Costa Rica with a program called, Global Learning during the Summer, teaching students about entrepreneurship; Age 33, she created her own non-profit corporation, Global Smiles Health focused on sustainable health, providing people with the basic needs of living around the globe, one community and SMILE at a time; Age 34, she created a study-abroad scholarship fund at Spelman College, Smiles Scholars to encourage students to study abroad in the African Diaspora and beyond.

Resources Mentioned In The Episode


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