Trained in black cultural studies, queer theory, religious studies, ethics and critical race studies, Albert Earnest Smith, Jr.’s passion for justice and equality sits in the nexus of academia, community development, public policy and grass-root activism. Albert brings over 10 years of experience leading medium to-large system initiatives in the federal government, non-profit, and private sector to his role at Cook Ross. Most recently, he served as the inaugural Sexual and Gender Minority Portfolio Strategist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At NIH, he provided leadership and support on diversity and inclusion program and strategies as well as monitored the agency’s process in eliminating discriminatory practices that adversely impacted SGM employees.
Previously, Albert served as Deputy Director at the National Public Housing Museum and Center for the Study of Housing and Society (Chicago, Illinois); Director of Student Affairs at The Art Institute of Tennessee (Nashville, Tennessee); Assistant Director of Residential Education at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee); and as a civil servant with the United States Departments of Labor and Defense. A trainer, facilitator and educator, he has guest lectured at Vanderbilt University, American Baptist College, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University, Western Kentucky University and Al Asad Air Force Base (Iraq) in areas of race, gender, sexuality, globalism, public health, violence and terrorism and has facilitated diversity training on sexual orientation and gender identity issues for over 2500 federal government employees.
A magna cum laude graduate of Fisk University with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature, Albert received a master’s in theological studies from the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University and studied literature and religion at Oxford University – Trinity College. He was a 2001 Congressional Black Caucus Intern and a 2005 graduate of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators – New Professionals Institute. He has served on the Community Advisory Board for the Meharry Medical College Community Wellness Center and holds professional membership in the America Academy of Religion. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and is a trained rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse and suicide prevention counselor and mentor to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) youth across the country.