Ivori Smith

Ivori Smith, BBA '20

Making Her Mark as a Mentor

Through her various extracurricular involvement, Ivori Smith has certainly made her mark at Michigan Ross. During her time as a BBA student, she served as both an Identity and Diversity in Organizations (IDO) facilitator and Preparation Initiative mentor. 

The IDO program at Ross facilitates discussions among BBA students, preparing them to interact with people from various backgrounds who have had different experiences from their own. Ivori recounts her first experience with IDO. “My first year in Ross, I felt a really strong sense of impostor syndrome and when I went to my IDO session, I was at a table with all white men. When we were given time to reflect, they were saying, ‘Man, I just never thought about minority students feeling like they do not belong because I never had to think about it’. I thought those conversations were so powerful that I wanted to join and be a part of that impact in Ross.”

As an IDO facilitator, Ivori has sparked discussions with BBAs about important topics pertaining to diversity and identity. One IDO session stood out to Ivori in particular; BBAs were prompted to think about the following: “If one of your co-workers had planned a meeting on a holiday because they believe nobody celebrates the holiday anyway, what would you do?” Ivori said, “I was talking to the students about what their responses to the prompt would be. I asked them if their response would change if they were the ones who celebrated that holiday. In the feedback form, a student said that I had asked really insightful questions that got them to dig deeper into the concept.” 

During her first year at U-M, Ivori joined Preparation Initiative (PI), a learning community designed for U-M undergraduates who have demonstrated a strong interest in business leadership and plan to apply to Ross at the end of their first year. After Ivori was accepted to the BBA program, she found that being a part of the PI community was a pivotal part of her Ross experience. 

PI gave Ivori a network of support. She met mentors Rhonda Todd and Dwana Jones, who have always pushed her to be her best and have been supportive through every step of her BBA journey. “PI has been like my home away from home and when I felt like I really didn't belong in Ross or that I wasn't smart enough and things like that, they've really been my support system and my family. Preparation Initiative has been the most impactful program that I'm in”.  Additionally, Ivori’s role as a PI mentor has allowed her to connect with her mentees by seeing them grow and develop throughout the program.

I've developed emotional intelligence from all of the different programs that I'm involved in, since I work so closely with students. Mentoring and facilitating have allowed me to strengthen my ability to effectively communicate.

Ivori believes the skills she's developed from her work as an IDO facilitator and PI mentor will help her in her future career as a human resources rotational associate at Capital One. 

Reflecting back on her time at Ross, Ivori said, “Ross has really taught me that I'm capable of more than I think. Looking back there were times that I felt defeated and overwhelmed, but with my support system I was able to overcome those feelings and learned to always believe in myself.” As a graduating senior, Ivori’s advice for prospective students is to “believe in yourself and take care of yourself. In the end, everything's going to work out and you're going to look back and really be grateful for your Ross experience but things will get challenging and it is important to always make yourself a priority.”