Shelby Smith - Business Development Manager

Shelby jumps at any opportunity to innovate how things are done at Ford.

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Running full force at any challenge that comes her way is how Shelby Smith approaches everything in her life. Outside of work, Shelby, a business development manager based in the Ford Credit Business Center, keeps busy with a variety of unique hobbies. When conventional workouts didn’t sustain her attention, she took up poi spinning – a type of dancing that uses fire to create a visual effect. To keep her mind stimulated, Shelby actively reads. This year alone she’s read more than 200 books. And as an animal lover, Shelby also fosters kittens and promotes knowledge of the ocean, specifically sharks, within the Florida community.

“If something piques my interest, I just kind of run full force at it,” she says.

This innovative spirit is evident in Shelby’s approach to her career at Ford as well. As a second year employee, Shelby proposed a new way to finance cars in China that ended up on the desk of the president of Ford’s China operations, who later became her mentor. And when she came into her business development role, she tackled it head on, providing dealers with new ideas on how to improve their businesses. “When it comes to my job I absolutely love what I do,” she says, “helping dealers move metal and coming up with ways that if they can’t get someone in the door, figuring out how can I help them fix that.”

Shelby’s innovation and gumption have not gone unnoticed. Out of 800 nominees she was one of 40 recipients of the 2016 Global Diversity and Inclusion Award, specifically in the area of Fostering a Respectful and Inclusive Environment. Additionally, she was accepted into the inaugural Ford “Thirty Under 30” leadership program, which pairs young service-minded employees with their favorite charitable causes in the community. Throughout the program, the 30 employees selected also get the opportunity to have lunch with Ford Executive Chairman William Clay Ford Jr. and pitch ideas on how Ford can better interact with the community at large.

“The more innovative side of things really comes in with Thirty Under 30. There are literally no barriers to what we can do. I’m working with a very small team there; we’ve come up with some absolutely fantastic ideas.”

“The more innovative side of things really comes in with Thirty Under 30,” Shelby says. “There are literally no barriers to what we can do. I’m working with a very small team there; we’ve come up with some absolutely fantastic ideas that we’re actually going up to Detroit to try and further develop.”

Shelby’s zest for life and all that it has to offer also extends to the friends and home she has made at Ford. Celebrating birthdays with her team, going to happy hours, volunteering, attending extracurricular programs and stopping by the CEO’s office with cookies have caused her to fall in love with the company. That’s a good thing, since she also happens to come from a long line of Ford employees.

“Ford has been a big part of my family for so long,” she says. “When my great-grandmother found out that I got this offer from Ford she called me on my cell phone, which she’s done twice in her entire life and said, ‘You’re taking that job, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.’ Her husband worked for Ford and apparently so did all his brothers. So it would take a lot to make me leave this company, and I don’t think it will ever actually happen. I plan on being a lifer here.”

– Shelby Smith, Business Development Manager, Ford Motor Company