Antoinette, you are a change-maker in Higher Education as a PhD and a CPA. What is your personal story and what made you so successful in your career path, including what it took to answer this calling as a black woman in a the often homogenous field of accounting ?
So many things inspired me. Growing up in low income household, having a dad who was in prison most of my life, being raised by a mom who put me first and having an excellent family support system that included aunts and uncles from my biological dad's side, my mom's side, and my step-dad's side. I was completely surrounded by love and support. I wanted to be the example, be the 1st generation to graduate from college, to show my family and be a legacy for change.
I knew that my life had a bigger calling and I would dream about a world that existed, a world that perhaps I wasn't supposed to have. Thus, I went after every fear in my mind to eliminate and correct, one by one. That required seeking wisdom, being bold, taking risks, having a strong focus, and being okay with not getting it right the 1st time, or the 2nd time.
Another thing that motivates me is the feeling that I missed out on so much because I did not know how to go for what I wanted. People can keep their successes to themselves. I suffered because such individuals were not willing or able to show me the ropes. I post all my accomplishments on social media and I give the knowledge away for free...you just need the motivation.
What made you write the book, Insider Secrets to Classroom Success?
Many students enter college thinking that it is just about getting a great grade or joining the right student organization. They miss the opportunity to treat the classroom like a platform to develop their social skills, leave a memorable impression on their professors. In the book, I give away the nuggets that I have observed from students who understand how to matriculate "artfully in the classroom" which ultimately impacts your grade and overall success in the classroom. I wrote the book so that "no student would be left behind" and that everyone would know what is great from a professor's viewpoint.
Tell us about your passion for Technology, Robotic Process Automation, Fraudulent Behavior, Data Analytics Cyber Security and your Center For Excellence in Cyber Security? What are your goals there as a STEM star/woman of color?
I enjoy learning and I enjoy the challenge in going into areas that few blacks have gone. Thinking outside the box challenges me and these areas are never stale in the market. It is hard to become an expert based on what you knew 5 years ago, and these topics keep me on my feet. It also gives me an opportunity to learn and teach others what I've learned.
What do you most want to say to young people today who aspire to be as successful as you, especially our emerging African American talent as we celebrate Black history in this past year of multiple measure difficulty?
Block out the noise of the world. Have fun on your time. But when it comes to your future, never play with it. Stay ahead of deadlines, so you can handle the unexpected. You have what many of us didn't have and that is boldness, now mix that boldness with some focus, determination, and motivation, and go for it ALL. I mean GO FOR IT ALL.
Bio: Dr. Antoinette Smith is a Worlds Ahead Full Professor within the School of Accounting, College of Business at Florida International University and a 2021-2022 Editor of the Journal of Information Systems. She is the first Black woman to receive full professorship in the School of Accounting at FIU Business. She holds a PhD. in Business Philosophy from the University of South Florida, where her focus was on accounting information systems, auditing, and identifying fraudulent behavior. Smith, whose background includes four years as senior auditor and fraud detector at the U.S. Air Force Audit Agency, a 10 year career at NASA Langley Research Center, and a 2 month career at the Central Intelligence Agency, a summer contractor for KPMG, joined FIU Business in 2006 and teaches a PhD seminar, as well as forensic accounting and accounting information systems. Prior to FIU, she was a professor at Miami University from 2004-2006.
In 2019-2020, she served as the 1st black President of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy. In this role, she led the organization in efforts to support and promote high-quality accredited graduate accounting programs. A list of other firsts include establishing the 1st accounting bridge summer program at FIU for high school students, establishing the 1st South Florida behavioral research symposium, and selected into FIU's 1st Presidential Leadership Program. In 2017, she served as the 1st Faculty Fellow in FIU's Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity (AWED) and was recognized as one of Miami's Top Black Educators of 2017 by Legacy Miami.
Additionally, Dr. Smith is the author of two self-help books, as well as numerous articles that have been widely published in premier national and international journals including The Accounting Review, International Journal of Production Economics, Accounting Horizon, Journal of Behavioral Finance, Journal of Information Systems, and Decision Sciences. Her research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, a first for an accounting information systems professor. She is also a successful entrepreneur, the co-owner of two Florida-based storefronts in alternative health.
Dr. Smith's success has been supported by her family and friends, her husband and four daughters, and scholarships and fellowships from the PhD Project and the Florida Education Fund, the AICPA. Her achievements required organization skills, a high level of motivation, emotional intelligence, and focus; and the ability to tap into resources. It required hard work for long hours, often in isolation, determination, and prayer, and the willingness to serve/give.