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Anna C. Smith 

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Anna C. Smith
Class of 2021 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(She, Her) is 33

The year 2020 feels like a worldwide wake-up call in so many ways. As a leader, I realize the most important thing I have learned and will take forward is…

The most important thing I have learned and will take forward is the ability to harness the feelings of fear and frustration to create traction for real change from difficult conversations to initiatives that have never been done before. 

Anna C. Smith is the recruiting Outreach for Merck Rainbow Alliance (MRA). Within two years, she has driven their recruiting strategy to new heights. In 2020, the organization made a significant investment in sponsorship and recruiting support to the Out for Undergrad (O4U) – Engineering effort. O4U helps high-achieving LGBTQ+ undergraduates reach their full potential. Smith has also championed engagement with Lesbians Who Tech and built upon MRA’s Out in STEM conference efforts with oSTEM campus outreach. Smith actively works across Merck’s Employee Business Resource Groups to foster an inclusive workplace. She shares feedback with company sponsors and leadership on cultivating an inclusive culture in the workplace.

Anna C. Smith began her journey as an out LGBTQ+ leader when her colleague, Joe DeGolia founded the oSTEM chapter at the University at Buffalo in 2015. To their surprise, they were not initially met with open arms. They had to rely on alternative means to launch the chapter as an unrecognized organization welcoming undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty of the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

Today the legacy of the University at Buffalo oSTEM chapter continues to grow and flourish. Students that participated in the chapter early in their academic careers, later on, tend to become tenacious leaders of the organization. Skills obtained through student participation and leadership of the organization translate to skills needed in professional careers.

Since her transition from the academic arena to industry Smith has been heavily involved in the Merck Rainbow Alliance as the Outreach Recruitment Lead. This is a natural progression of her passion to bolster LGBTQ+ leadership and an opportunity to expand hiring pipelines and beyond. Smith is thrilled to be able to connect the myriad of diverse talent and skillsets within the community to new and unexpected opportunities to drive innovation, push affirming policy, and create inclusive cultures.  

Smith has an Associates of Science – Engineering Science from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, a Bachelor’s of Chemical Engineering from the University at Buffalo and a Master’s in Material Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Smith sees a bright future leading to a healthier society for generations to come. In the next decade, she’d like to see LGBTQ+ professionals and those at the intersections represented in more positions of leadership and expanded opportunity. Smith hopes every LGBTQ+ person could have access to incredible mentors and sponsors to look up to within their organizations and across the community.

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