Cole Society Leadership Spotlight: Venitia Smith

February 23, 2021

We’re excited to spotlight Cole Society Leadership member and Director of Human Resources at Genuine Parts Company, Venitia Smith!

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta?

I have been a long-time participant in United Way campaigns throughout my career path in Corporate America. For over 35 years, United Way and area grantees have been the focus of my annual giving initiatives.  All through the years, no truer words echoed with each year’s campaign – “it’s the right thing to do”.

Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?

As a child, my parents instilled the importance of ‘giving back’ to those in need.  Our small family of 4 was not considered wealthy, but what little we did have, we shared with other friends and neighbors.  Each year, my sister and I bagged the clothes that we had outgrown and we took them to family friends who had children our ages.  When we arrived with the bags of clothing each year, I can vividly remember them running out to the car in anxious anticipation of tearing open the bags to find the clothes their size.  To this day, the image of those happy children and the smiles on their faces are etched into my memory.  To me, those clothes were old and worn; to them, they were brand new and beautiful.

Why did you decide to become a Cole Society member?

Genuine Parts Company has five Operating Principles and one of those is Giving Back to the community. By participating in the Cole Society Level, I know that my contributions are making a positive impact. I am assured that every dollar is utilized in the best way possible in making a difference in the lives who receive those funds.

What advice to you have for others who are thinking about becoming a Cole Society member?

It is a personal choice and financial sacrifice but give what you can. Always be assured that any amount you contribute will be allocated to organizations in your community that make the most difference in the areas of health, education, and income.

What advice do you have to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (from a personal and/or corporate perspective)?

We may be apart physically, but in our hearts, we are all in this together.  If every contributor would rise to the call of helping those in need, together, we can have a huge impact on those communities in which we live, work and play.

It's Give United Day!

Today your donation goes further with a dollar-for-dollar match up to $100,000 from generous friends including KMPG and PwC.