The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce announced its the Top Five Young Leaders to Watch, which included Candace Bowen, Bayou Title, Inc.; LaToya Houston, Quality Care at Home, LLC; Sarah McKinnie, Origin Bank; Oliver Neal, Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix & Hixson, Inc.; and Phillip Smart, City of Ruston.
Over the next few days, the Lincoln Parish Journal will feature these individuals and their contributions to our parish.
Phillip Smart may not have been working for the city of Ruston long, but already he has made a big impact on the community.
Smart has been Ruston’s economic developer for the past three months, but he is also owner of Royal Consulting & Marketing and co-owner of P.S. I Love You.
“It is a prestigious award and I am so honored,” Smart said. “It allows others like me from my particular background — low-income, single parent home, unstable environment, interracial family — realize that anyone can achieve what they put their mind to.”
Smart said his story shows that all experiences have a purpose.
“It allows people to understand you will never know why we have to go through the things we go through,” he said. “However, everything you go through helps you develop into the individual you are meant to be. We all have a destiny and we must stay away from the victim mentality and keep a victor mentality. It is easier said than done; subsequently, for you to live and express your full potential, we must be able to make sacrifices and stick to God’s plan.”
When he heard that he had received this recognition, Smart said he was quite surprised.
“I was in disbelief,” he said. “It confirms the concept on how I try to live my life. No matter what you do, do it to the best of your ability. If it is raking leaves, rake those leaves like no one else has done before. If it is customer service, serve those individuals like you would serve the person you admire the most. This will not only make you a better employee, manager, etc. Moreover, it will make you a better human being and that is what we need in the world. More people that care and take pride in what and how they do things.”
He said working at the city of Ruston has allowed him and the city employees to complete many objectives in a short amount of time.
“We have completed some amazing things in this short time frame, and we look forward to accomplishing even more major agendas in the future,” he said.
Part of his goals include the parish working together even more, even with his own family, which includes his wife Kaneshia and their three children: Kaylan, Raylan and Emery.
“I would love for everyone to see each other as family,” Smart said. “No matter if you are from Choudrant or Simsboro, Louisiana Tech or Grambling State University, college graduate or high school dropout. We must be on one accord to lead — not only in our region but in our state. There is a quote that states If you want to go fast, then go alone. If you want to go far, then go together. We must come together so we can go far and reach our full potential for Lincoln Parish.”
Smart that leadership is an action, not a position. The action of a leader is not to give greatness to others but to help extract the greatness they already have.
“It is important to contribute to your community because your community is family,” he said. “These are individuals that will be around you and your family, and how you treat them and how they treat you makes a difference. Some community members have no one to count on or no one to turn to. That person that they may need could be you. One may need help taking down Christmas lights, building a resume, someone to play basketball with or just having someone to talk to. Little acts of kindness like these affect people in a big way. The more we can contribute to our community and care for each other as a family the more we can grow. We are better together.”