Travis Smith co-founded Howard University’s Social Impact 360 chapter. He is a first-generation American with parents from Jamaica and currently works with VISA focused on strategy execution.
Travis took it upon himself to gather a faction of young social entrepreneurs who pursued similar passions to start the first SI360 chapter at Howard University. An introvert by nature, advocating to start a group like this and recruit was a difficult task. In fact, it took two attempts. On his second attempt, he was able to exert a certain manner of confidence and assurance that made it an absolute success; Howard is still a chapter today.
“One should act as if the community you are building already exists. Start with that confidence and it becomes easier to recruit people to support your vision and make it their own,” said Travis.
Travis uses this same dedication to serving others in his position at VISA, where he uses his role to bring to market products that make it easier to pay and be paid with an eye on financial inclusion. He also draws from his past experiences to mentor and guide new employees who are starting in their careers. “Serving others helps one find purpose in life and one’s own potential. With that approach, work can be joyful.” He continues to carry the tools SI360 has given him to better serve the public in the business sector.
The SI360 connection
Travis was already instilled with values that included the importance of education and hard work. SI360 was an opportunity for him to practice these values. He found no greater joy than “watching the growth of the fellows.” Travis believes that SI360 was and is a tightknit community that transcends age, status, social class to redefine the seemingly impossible of what students can accomplish as changemakers on and off campus.
“SI360 is the bedrock of my community with many of closest friends,” he said. “[Social Impact 360] is a community for all of us who felt like odd-balls for daring to be more than students who took tests, joined clubs, and perfected resumes.”