Luncheon speaker shares principles of faith on the job in book

Harry L. Smith, keynote speaker, talks with Kathy Watts of Horne CPAs, at the ‘Business Through the Eyes of Faith’ luncheon Tuesday. | Photo by Ebbie Davis

By Felicia Taraczkozy, Asst. Online Editor

The Business Through the Eyes of Faith luncheon April 10 focused on demonstrating humility, fairness and integrity in the workplace.

Students and business leaders packed the Carl Grant Events Center while Harry Smith reminded audience members that living a Christian life in the business world is not easy but is still rewarding for those who faithfully trust God in professional decisions.

The annual event, sponsored by the McAfee School of Business, is designed to encourage and equip members of the local business community to integrate their Christian faith into their professional lives.

In addition to being the chairman of Schilling Enterprises, a Memphis-based business that was heavily involved in buying and selling car dealerships for 25 years, Smith has served as chairman of the Union University board of trustees and authored the book, “Driven to Deliver.”

During his address to the more than 200 university and community members, Smith shared personal stories about making difficult business decisions between doing what was right,and what was easy.

After having his own paper route for more than a decade, Smith became a certified public accountant in 1967.

Years of accounting experience prepared him for a career at Schilling Cos. Inc., where he became chairman and CEO.

The “dog-eat-dog” business world frequently makes Christians choose to put their faith in God and not their career ladder or their wallet.

Smith faced this dilemma multiple times in his professional life.  While making these decisions, Smith developed nine life principles he lives by and encourages others to live by as well.

• Have a genuine interest in everything you do.

• Improve your mind continually.

• Live a lifestyle focused on good physical health.

• Practice ethical standards.

• Demonstrate a selfless attitude through humility.

• Continually strengthen your communication skills.

• Let your life reflect loyalty to others.

• Develop leadership qualities.

• Strive to finish strong.

While a business owner, Smith’s company filed Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. After struggling for nine months, the company was able to pull out of bankruptcy.

Through rebuilding the company, Smith said he made two commitments based on what he felt God was directing him to do. The company began donating a portion of its income and closed its doors on Sundays.

When he began at Schilling, the company had more than 1,000 employees, and Smith told the audience of students and community members that he was overwhelmed by the responsibility.

“That’s when I really learned to pray,” he said.

Smith provides several distinct goals in his book. In addition to honoring God, he wants to share his experience and what he has learned from his mentor of 25 years.

“Mr. Smith is an exemplar of how to live out your faith within the business environment,” said Ashley Smith, sophomore marketing major. “The ultimate goal is to glorify God in every aspect of your life, and that is exactly what Mr. Smith has challenged us to do through his new book and today’s address.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.