Every year, the Memphis Flyer recognizes twenty young leaders who will help shape the future of our city. This year included our very own JB Smiley, Jr. Read this brief excerpt about JB Smiley and what inspires his leadership. You can check out the full story HERE.
Celebrate this big accomplishment with a $20 donation to the #TeamSmiley CrowdPAC – currently over halfway to its goal!
J.B. Smiley was four years old when his parents divorced. “I spent the summers in South Memphis, and the school year I spent in East Memphis and Bartlett,” he recalls. “Definitely different perspectives. I go to one part of town, and people tell me I’m rich. I go to the other part of town, and I’m like, ‘Man, I’m poor!’”
Smiley was a basketball star at Bolton High School, and went on to play college hoops at Tennessee Tech before transferring to the University of Pikeville in Kentucky, a move he credits with expanding his horizons. “I used to tell people that I wanted to be Michael Jordon and Johnny Cochran. Nobody told me I couldn’t be both things.”
Smiley got a law degree from the University of Arkansas, then practiced corporate law with a big firm. “Financially, it was very rewarding,” he says. “But something was missing.” So Smiley struck out on his own. “Now, I like to do the kind of law I like to do,” he says, “which is interacting with people — hearing their stories, trying to find solutions to their problems.”
Then he ran across a study revealing that people in the 38026 and 38126 zip codes have a life expectancy 13 years lower than the national average. Now, he is running for the District 8 seat on the Shelby County Commission. “I believe God puts you in certain positions so you can carry out his mission.”