Father, Husband, Businessman, Cancer Survivor, Life Coach, and More

A career-driven narrative about Jeffrey Smith’s life.

Jeffrey F. L. Smith is a man with a diverse background.

Born in September 1960 in Detroit, Smith grew up alongside two brothers and a sister in a suburban neighborhood. His sense of hard work and business savvy developed at an early age as he worked for his father’s office supplies company, Gregory, Mayer & Thom, delivering and selling office items throughout the Metro Detroit area.

Upon graduation from Grosse Pointe North High School in 1978, Smith attended Western Michigan University for one year before transferring to Michigan State University. While a student at MSU, he majored in physiology and minored in psychology, earning honors, while also holding presidency of the MSU Pre-Med Society. He planned on attending medical school.

However, after earning his degree in 1982, Smith instead jumped into a more entrepreneurial adventure. He decided to go into business with a longtime friend who had developed an innovative luggage holding accessory for motor vehicles. When the company was acquired by a larger manufacturer shortly thereafter, Smith headed to the Big Apple — New York City — to pursue a per diem internship opportunity with CBS in their Human Resources Department.

He soon landed a full-time position with the network conducting audience research, and then went on to conduct more concentrated market research with WCBS-TV, the local New York affiliate. Smith held eleven different titles in a span of seven years at CBS and was often the youngest amongst his colleagues. In 1988, he became an account executive for WCBS-TV and displayed his sales aptitude by leading the office in new business during his first year.

In 1990, he left WCBS-TV to explore a more lucrative opportunity with Crain’s New York Business as a manager and account executive. Once again recognized as the top salesperson, he was quickly promoted to ad director and layout manager, and played a significant role in guiding the young magazine to its first ever profitable year.

By 1992, he married Lisa Vallee-Smith, his high school sweetheart, and two years later, they decided to move back to their hometown of Grosse Pointe. Their first son, Gerard, was born in Detroit, and Smith was named the president of the American Automobile Centennial Commission around this time. Tasked with spearheading the 100th anniversary celebration of the car, he coordinated top-tier press, several parades, a gala, and a three-part PBS documentary, “America on Wheels,” among other things.

After the commission shuttered in 1997, Smith welcomed another son into the world, Jeffrey, and accepted a financial advisor position with Lincoln Financial. Leveraging investment knowledge acquired while living in New York, Smith developed a keen insight for money and started his own wealth management firm, Woodworth Financial, just three years later.

For over a decade, Smith assisted clients in making smart, fulfilling, and personalized investment choices, resulting in secure long-term returns. But in 2014, life was put on hold as he was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer. Smith, a health-conscious individual, was shocked.

Thankfully, after making a strong commitment to holistic health, his cancer was declared to be in remission in early 2015. He sold Woodworth Financial a year later, and now operates two family-business-focused consultancies: CIQ Coach, which focuses on conversational strategy and executive development, and FB2FB, which focuses on succession planning. In association with FB2FB, he also cohosts a monthly radio show on WJR-AM called Family Business Forum. Finally, he is a certified cancer coach, and chairman of the Smith Family Foundation.

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