Ava Smith


ava smith

Ava Smith is a leader and entrepreneur in the Upstate of South Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Limestone University and is a Lifetime Member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society. She resides in Greenville with her children and her grand-children.

Ava Smith has over 25 years of experience as a Human Resources Professional. Her experience includes employee relations, compliance, recruitment, retention, and training. She began her career in the non-profit sector, and shifted into manufacturing, the corporate arena, and staffing. She progressively moved upward in her positions, serving a range of roles from HR Assistant to serving as an HR Director.

In August, 2002, Ava began her own firm, HR Specialties, which specialized in providing HR services, training, and recruiting. She later expanded this firm by adding additional experts, and rebranded it into what is now widely known as Ava Smith & Associates. In 2010, she formed a permanent placement agency called Flat Fee Recruiting that has been recognized in business publications. Flat Fee Recruiting received the Minority Business of the Year Award in 2013 through the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.

She is also a noted Diversity Trainer. She has delivered hundreds of sessions throughout the Southeast since 2005. Clients have included corporations, manufactures, non-profits, service organizations, government officials, municipalities, universities, hospital systems, local chambers, and faith-based organizations.

Using her unique style and approach, she captures her audience and brings them through diversity topics with ease. Ava creates an environment that fosters candid dialogue in a safe atmosphere. High evaluations from employees and participants validate her effectiveness and she is often requested to return. She was the Recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Diversity Award, given by the Greenville SC Chapter of SHRM.

In addition to making an impact through diversity training, she has supported her community in the Upstate of South Carolina by serving as the following:

  • Current, Board Member, The Simpsonville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Current, Board Member, The University Center of Greenville
  • Current Board Member, AID Upstate
  • Board Member, Greenville Technical Charter High School
  • Board Member, Junior Achievement, Greenville SC
  • Diversity Director of the SC Society of Human Resource Management State Council
  • Advisory Board Member, Greenville Chamber of Commerce
  • Small Business Steering Committee Member, Greenville Chamber of Commerce
  • Advisor, Greenville Chamber of Commerce CAPACITY Builders program
  • Chair, Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Greenville Women at Work (GW@W) initiative
  • Advisory Board Member for Virginia College
  • Advisory Board Member for ECPI School of Technology
  • Board Member for the Greenville Society of Human Resource Management (GSHRM)
  • Chair of the Diversity/Inclusion Committee for GSHRM
  • President of the Board of Director’s for the YWCA of Greenville
  • Board Member of Fostering Great Ideas
  • Advisory Board Member for Clemson Small Business Development Center
  • Steering Committee Member for MLK Dream Weekend
  • Member of the Clemson CU-ICAR Diversity Committee
  • Member of the Greenville Technical College Multicultural Advisory Board

All of these accomplishments and contributions resulted in her being honored as:


  • Recipient, YWCA Dream Achiever, YWCA of Greenville
  • Recipient, 2012 – Minority Business of the Year, Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce,
  • Recipient, 2013 – Woman Making History Award, Greenville Cultural Exchange
  • Keynote Speaker – 2014 Commencement Service, ECPI University
  • Recipient, 2015 – Excellence in Diversity Award, SHRM – Greenville Chapter
  • “Success Story” film excerpt – 2015, BMW Diversity Matchmaker Event
  • Spotlight, 2020 – Greenville Business Magazine – Black History Month Salute to Upstate Leaders