Future Foundation announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Ronnette V. Smith as Chief Executive Officer. The announcement was made on Saturday, August 6, during Future Foundation’s Open House for students, families, and community partners. Ms. Smith’s position became effective July 18, 2022. She replaces James Tyson, who has served as Future Foundation’s interim CEO for the past two years.
Most recently, Ms. Smith was Founder and CEO of RRS Legacy Group, LLC, a full-service consultancy specializing in brand management, corporate reputation, facility management, and grassroots strategic planning. Her work focused on stakeholder relations, social responsibility, and infusing cross-sector partnerships into diverse, equitable, and inclusive social and work environments. “I feel confident, with her remarkable background in the corporate sector and within the community, Ms. Smith is who we need to both continue and build upon the strong legacy of Future Foundation that we created more than 20 years ago,” said Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Founder of Future Foundation.
Ms. Smith is a former Fortune 1, Senior Executive Manager. She has worked for top corporations, leading teams at AT&T, Walmart, and Sam’s Club. Her senior leadership experience at Walmart Stores, Inc. played a pivotal role in national strategic planning, DEI programming, emerging leaders outreach, and facility operations. Ms. Smith’s work also included customer care center facility management in the United States, Canada, India, and the Philippines.
“The Board is thrilled to welcome Ms. Smith as our new Chief Executive Officer. She is the ideal candidate to lead Future Foundation into our next chapter,” said Imara Canady, Board Chairman. “We know that her notable experience in the corporate sector will help us strategically grow and enhance our programming model, allowing us to continue to serve even more students and families in the South Fulton area and impact Atlanta and beyond.”
“I am excited at this stage of my career to be joining the Future Foundation family, focusing on youth, their families, and the community,” said Ms. Smith. “I feel energized by the opportunity to bring my collective experiences to this organization. I’m proud of the impact they’ve made in their 21 years in Atlanta and look forward to learning more about how to lead them effectively in the future.”
About Ronnette V. Smith
Ronnette V. Smith has worked on behalf of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and with AT&T, Walmart, and Sam’s Club. She led Walmart’s $20 Billion Global Women’s Empowerment Top Tier Reporting Sourcing Initiative. As a cross-sector collaborator, she facilitated the AARP and Walmart Foundation’s $3 Million Workforce Development Grant for women 40+ years of age. Representing the Fortune 5 communications company, her body of work is credited with recurring record-breaking fundraising, top-performing sales, and service teams. Smith is both a mentor and confidant to women-owned business leaders, providing inspiration and support for personal and enterprise development.
As four-year lead in strategic planning and partnership between Walmart, nonprofit civil rights, and advocacy groups along with the National Urban Fellows, Ms. Smith helped develop the America’s Leaders of Change Next Generation Program which recruited over 170 African Americans and other leaders of color from the public policy sector in 20 states to help address their personal development goals, while pushing corporate building initiatives in urban areas, food deserts, and on tribal land. Under her leadership the corporation’s support of American Indian Tribal Colleges doubled.
Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Clark Atlanta University and a Master of Science in Leadership & Ethics from John Brown University. She also has experience as a care supporter during childhood and as an adult care manager. Ms. Smith is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and she is excited to return to the city of Atlanta to bring her experiences and to serve.
Ms. Smith is also a published author of a poetry and prose devotional book and journal.
About Future Foundation
In 2001, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, along with his wife, Delicia, and sister Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim, started the Future Foundation to help level the playing field for students in Atlanta’s underserved communities. The organization began as an afterschool program for 15 students in some of Atlanta’s most underfunded communities and has grown into a paradigm-shifting network serving over 500 middle- and high-school students in the South Fulton community through after-school classes, family support workshops, and corporate mentorships. Future Foundation is proud of its highly successful, easily quantifiable, and replicable model that has the potential to disrupt poverty the world over.
The Future Foundation employs its Second Family model, a program developed, tested, and refined over six years of research and pilot studies, to provide each student with a network of supportive adults outside their own home who can offer academic, social-emotional, and career-planning support.