Making Black History Today! Dr. Shanell T. Smith

Making Black History Today! Dr. Shanell T. Smith

Tell us about yourself and your business journey

I am a doctoral expert and institutional consultant. Through private and group coaching and various masterclasses, I help doctoral students successfully navigate through the various stages of their programs while living their best lives! I also help prepare them for the (academic) job market.

I have been coaching doctoral students for over ten years, and after eight years of being a full time professor, I resigned to pursue doctoral coaching full time. I get to help the next generation of scholars earn their doctorates in an accelerated and healthier way. 

My clients are also master's students who are applying to doctoral programs, and postdocs and faculty who need customized strategic action plans, help with tenure portfolios, publishing pipelines, etc.

It is indeed a blessing to do what I love, what I've been called to do, each and every day. 

Which black history figure has inspired you the most and why? 

There are so many phenomenal black history figures from which to choose! However, who's coming up for me right now is the incomparable Madam C. J. Walker. Her tenacity, entrepreneurial savviness, shrewdness, and perseverance are exemplary. As a philanthropist, she also models the importance of giving back so others can also move forward. And her being recognized as the first self-made millionaire in America is nothing to sneeze at either! #takingnotes #goals

How have your efforts impacted the black community 

As a first-generation college student and the first person in my family to earn a doctorate, it has been an honor to trailblaze a new path, albeit with internal pressure to achieve. I always want my work to do something and it's important for me to take up space in order to show other persons of color that they can and should do the same. I am very intentional in my efforts, especially on social media, to engage, encourage, and provide tough love to all doctoral students, and especially to black doctoral students. I read and hear their stories and I see myself reflected in many of them. It is imperative for them to know that they can do it. We need them and their scholarship, just as we needed those who came before us. And together, we shall make the world shift.

What is next for you in 2022 and how can readers connect with you online? 

2022 has already been simply amazing! I am excited about the continued growth of my Accelerate Your Doctorate private and group mentoring programs whereby I help Future Doctors graduate faster and become "Doctor" sooner. I am working on getting my 4-part Accelerate Your Doctorate Method licensed so that institutions can adopt my method to help their doctoral students, thereby decreasing attrition rates and shortening time to degree. I am already overjoyed by the number of Future Doctors who will cross my path that I will have the pleasure to engage either as clients, fellow lovers of knowledge, or those on my social media platforms.

Readers can connect with me in various online spaces: 

* Instagram, TikTok, Twitter: @shanelltsmith 

* Facebook:

* YouTube:

* LinkedIn:

Describe the legacy you plan to leave behind for generations to come

Take a leap of faith. Even when others say that you're crazy for leaving a "good job," follow your dreams. Yes, it's scary, but Oh My Gosh it's so worth it. Be fearless and follow your dreams, your calling. 

As a mother of two beautiful black princes, it is imperative to me that they see their mother as a powerful woman with a gentle spirit, one who bet on herself, makes her own money, and creates the life she wants, all the while knowing that they can do the same.

For Future Doctors to come, I want them to remember that they are more than their doctorate. That there is a healthier way to earn their degree, and that they should always prioritize themselves and their families. Lastly, to be intentional about making their scholarship do something, beyond theoretical and abstract thinking, but to foster the much-needed change in the world.

My legacy encompasses all of the above (and more). But I'll end with this for anyone who reads this: Whatever you desire, if you believe that it is yours - even in the face of contradicting evidence - then the Universe shall respond affirmatively. All they have to do is stay in a state of gratitude.