Sophisticated Systems CEO Dwight Smith says words matter, but action is critical in the fight against racism.

Dwight Smith has had a long and distinguished career as founder and CEO of Columbus tech firm Sophisticated Systems, and he is a dedicated community advocate. He’s held roles on the boards of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Airport Authority, Columbus State Community College and more. He co-founded the Ross Leadership Institute at Ohio State University and is the deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. 

But his greatest calling is helping children. Smith and his wife, Renee, founded TBTG (Thanks Be To God) to provide assistance to children. Their new passion is about the power of words.

My Special Word was founded to encourage children—and adults—to choose a word that represents who they want to be and to live that word every day. Smith’s word, for example, is sold. “As in sold out,” Smith says. “The theory is we are all sold out to something—you’re completely all in. I’m sold out to Christ.”

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My Special Word has been embraced at the Kipp Charter Schools. Now he wants the power of words to manifest in board rooms. He believes words become action—and now is the time for action on matters of racial equality, Smith, 63, says. 

“My dad lived in Detroit in the mid-1960s, when there were race riots,” he says. “Back then, the struggle seemed to be about, for and by African Americans. This time is different. Old and young, black and white are locking arms and saying, enough. I really believe there’s going to be material change this time around. I can feel it in my heart.”