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Best Under 40: Emily Smith

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 8:10 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 8:17 a.m. CDT
(Josh Peckler -
Emily Smith

Age: 29 Occupation: Realtor, Harding Real Estate Residence: Lake in the Hills Hometown: Huntley Family: Husband, Jonathan; Kinley, 1 Education: Bachelor's degree, marketing, University of Illinois Favorite McHenry County restaurant? Dairy Mart In Huntley Favorite movie? That would require me to stay awake long enough to watch a movie. One word that describes you? Devoted

What is your job and what makes you so good at it?

My new full-time job is being a mom. I am also a Realtor with Harding Real Estate and continue to volunteer with nonprofits throughout the county. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who inspire me, encourage me, and are a lot smarter than me.

What accomplishments and innovations are you most proud of this year?

Being a mom. Nothing else will ever compare again.

How do you give back to the community and what drives your service?

My sister-in-law Whitney Ruth and I started the My Sister’s Dress event in 2008 along with a group of our sisters, cousins and friends. Each year we are in awe of the generosity of the community and the appreciation of the recipients. Over the last five years we have had nearly 5,000 dresses donated to MSD. We put on a one-day event annually to sell the dresses for $25 each to youths in our community in an effort to make prom more affordable and fun for all. All proceeds have been donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County. It has been such a blessing for us to watch the community rally around the event.

What is something you have never done but want to do some day?

Take my daughter shopping for a prom dress at the My Sister’s Dress sale.

What is the best career advice you have received?

My parents ingrained into our minds: “Do a job, big or small, do it well or not at all. Once a task has begun, stick with it until it is done.” It seemed to be on repeat in our house growing up. If I ever feel like giving up on something that is important to me, that little sing song phrase pops into my head. As annoying as it may be, it has kept me from giving up many times.

Nominator’s comment:

“I am continually impressed with Emily’s commitment to serving others. Emily leads by example and is active in various volunteer roles within McHenry County,” said friend and former colleague Talia Koronkiewicz. “Emily founded and coordinates the annual My Sister’s Dress event, which raises money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County while providing inexpensive formal wear to teens during prom season. Emily’s personal dedication to serving the community inspires all with whom she meets.”

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