November 7, 2005 at 1:33 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 4:46 PM
Christopher Smitherman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the North Avondale neighborhood. He attended St. Mark Elementary and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). High school was a cornerstone that unleashed Christopher's interest and dedication to human equality. During his teenage years, Christopher spent extended time with his grandfather. The wisdom and guidance he received from their conversations reinforced Christopher’s manual labor practice of running the Alabama farm. This hands-on experience is where the lessons of preparation and long-term planning were planted into Christopher's mind and actions.
Christopher earned a degree in criminal justice from The Ohio State University. He completed a master's degree in Guidance and Counseling at Bowling GreenStateUniversity (Ohio). He was employed in the residence life offices at both universities serving in several capacities of the departments. Then Christopher relocated to West Virginia to work for WheelingJesuitUniversity. WJU provided the opportunity to use his knowledge and experience to actually implement policy changes. Christopher brought new ideas and new perspectives to his positions as Director of Campus Life and Director of Summer Conferences and Adult Education respectively.
While at Bowling Green, Christopher and a co-worker created and began facilitating "Let's Talk About Race" workshops. The intent was to get individuals talking honestly and openly about their race-related opinions. The workshops continue to be conducted periodically across the Midwest. During his time at Wheeling Jesuit, he instituted a new method for selecting and training residence hall staff in addition to implementing new discipline strategies for eliminating extreme student behavior. WJU also experienced an unprecedented growth of revenue generated from the many summer conferences that Christopher recruited.
After such a successful stint at WJU, Christopher was encouraged by his wife to follow his dream for self-employment to become a financial planner. Christopher was always impressed by what his grandfather had attained—land and cattle—but particularly having reached such accomplishments as a black man in the deep South. However, Christopher was greatly disturbed that the variety of people he met over the years did not know how to make the most of their money. Christopher has remained committed to his original purpose of helping individuals, specifically young adults, to use money well. In five years, his financial planning practice has grown to 600 clients and a merger with another financial planner.
Christopher returned to Cincinnati at age 30 (1997) not only to begin his entrepreneurial endeavor, but also to settle down his growing family. Throughout his 10 years in the Residence Life field, Christopher has received consistent feedback and affirmation about the clarity, fairness, and effectiveness of his leadership skills. His clients often express appreciation for his ability to simplify financial concepts and explain the benefits/drawbacks of various products. His education in criminology and counseling enhance his natural people skills. His success as an independent businessman is a tangible testimony of his persistence and productivity. The combination of his enthusiasm and leadership serve as the foundation for his team-building talents to accomplish a set goal.
Biography obtained from the Cincinnati city council website