Employee honored with The Lincoln Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award

Jacque Smith, Union College director of public relations, received The Lincoln Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award. The award, presented at a breakfast at the Cornhusker Hotel on June 1, celebrates the accomplishments of 40 Lincoln-area business owners, managers, entrepreneurs, and professional men and women under 40 years of age. Smith is the second Union College employee to accept the 40 Under 40 Award; accounting professor Lisa Forbes received the award in 2006.

Union College president David Smith (no relation) describes Smith as an integral part of the college. "She is thorough, professional and yet very personable," he said. "Jacque has moved our public relations to a whole new level."

"I am honored and humbled to receive this award and represent Union College," said Jacque Smith. "I've told my students many times that success in a public relations career begins by working for an organization you would support even if you were not paid. My role at Union College is fulfilling and rewarding because I am proud of the organization and the people who learn and serve on this campus."

LuAnn Davis, vice president for Advancement and Smith's supervisor, nominated her and wrote, "She has developed strong relationships with the media, publishes high-quality publications, brings creativity and accuracy to every project she touches, and takes the time to develop her workers and students into sought-after professionals. Jacque integrates all her skill and passion into a comprehensive plan for the campus, creating a new sense of mission around our message. When I look at her accomplishments, I'm amazed she is just one woman."

Smith graduated from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tenn., in 1995 and earned her Master of Science degree in communication with a public relations emphasis from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1999. She started her public relations career at Life Care Centers of America's corporate headquarters in Cleveland, Tenn. While in graduate school, she served for two years as an intern and the interim communication director for the University of Tennessee College of Engineering. She moved to Lincoln in 1999 to fill the associate director of annual giving position at Union College before becoming the college's director of public relations in 2001. In addition to her full-time work, Smith has taught writing and public relations classes at Union.

As director of public relations, Smith manages special projects with her typical creativity, Davis says. She helped to launch an alternate date walk in support of the Lincoln's annual Heart Walk. This event has allowed Lincoln-area participants to participate in the American Heart Association's largest local fundraiser if their schedule did not fit with the citywide event. Smith also helped establish the Union College employee wellness program and has served on the committee since 1999. The program has since achieved a Silver Well Workplace Award through WorkWell, the local council for Wellness Councils of America. Additionally, she works each fall with Union College's Campus Ministries staff to inform local, regional and national media about Project Impact, the longest-running and highest percentage participation collegiate service event in the country. To draw attention to the 25th anniversary of Project Impact, Smith and her colleagues created a paint pail media kit, which won two awards.

Smith has earned the professional designation of Accredited Business Communicator through the International Association of Business Communicators; the yearlong process included submitting comprehensive portfolio samples for evaluation and passing a four-hour essay exam and half-hour oral exam. She has received three IABC Bronze Quill Awards for excellence. Through the Lincoln Public Schools' TeamMates program, Smith serves as a mentor to a fifth grade girl and is the TeamMates volunteer liason for Union College.

Student worker Becky Dewey describes working under Smith's guidance: "She has overseen my growth as a communication professional. I am honored to work under Jacque's direction and mentorship."