WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH WITH SUNSHINE SMITH WILLIAMS: ADVOCATE, PHILANTHROPIST & SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR

Sunshine Smith-Williams is an author, wealth educator, youth advocate, philanthropist and serial entrepreneur. Featured on the hit shows “American Gangsta” and BET’s “Cooking With Love,” Black Enterprise, Forbes, Source Magazine, Inside Edition, as well as Yahoo Finance, and a variety of other print, digital and broadcast media.

Sunshine Smith-Williams is also a film producer who has  partnered with veteran production companies to develop stories that are loosely based on real life issues.

Sunshine Smith-Williams was raised in south Jamaica Queens, New York by her mother, who struggled to make ends meet. Smith-Williams grew up in impoverished housing projects with dim hope. Utilizing education as a weapon to overcome poverty, she obtained several degrees and certifications, climbing the corporate ladder to achieve success.

  After being laid off from a paralegal job in 2010, Smith-Williams gained the faith to start her own business. Sunny Legal Realty is a financial firm that assists clients obtain their real estate, credit restoration, and credit building goals. Her firm also specializes in consumer law, housing law and contracts.

  Through an intense journey that equipped her to discover her gifts and talents, dethrone her character flaws and increase her self-esteem, she successfully opened other thriving businesses and mentored others to do the same.

   As a financial educator she believes in ownership. To date Smith-Williams is a best selling Author of five books. The self published Author is the owner of Sunny side-up Publications where she writes workshops, programs, scripts and books. She also is the owner of “Ambitious Beauty Collection” animal cruelty free global cosmetic line. Her global cosmetic line is in Africa, Sudan and London.

  Education has been a very important factor to the best selling author. In 2020, while the pandemic crippled the world Smith-Williams successfully completed and obtained her degree in Education in family engagement from Harvard EdX. She also created her latest book/journal “Speak it, Until You See it” to help readers break down future goals and next steps into actionable to-do lists, speak affirmations, record daily events and arm readers with words of wisdom and positivity.

  As a youth advocate and co-owner of “Investing In Us Organization” she has implemented workshops, lifestyle, financial curriculum, and programs in her homeless shelters for formerly incarcerated women and men. Investing In Us also has trade workshops in charter schools and at DYRS.  This experience enlightened Smith-Williams to her purpose.  Her life is a living testament that the past, regardless of the mistakes you make or your background, does not have to dictate your future! She shares this message of hope with both youth and adults across the world, inspiring them to overcome life’s difficulties.

IAQM: You have been in some of the most influential publications. Black Enterprise, Forbes, Inside Edition, Yahoo Finance, and so many others. When you were a little girl did you dream about being in publications like this?

SUNSHINE: I wanted to be an anchorwoman. I’ve always wanted to work with Sue Simmons; she was my mentor. I loved her on NBC. Sue was definitely someone I wanted to be like.

IAQM: When I say knowledge is power: what does that mean to you?

SUNSHINE: That is a very powerful question. Knowledge is the strongest tool, providing us with the power and the information we need to navigate this life. It gives me the ability to survive in this world. The more knowledge you have the better decisions you’ll make. Knowledge is power and that power is freedom.

IAQM: When hearing your story, many would say that your chances of becoming successful were limited, but you did it. How did you rise above the noise in your life?

SUNSHINE: The ability to grow and talk about your past is such an admirable thing. But when you come from a place where success was limited-I’m from the concrete jungle. New York is known as the BIG APPLE to many but for me, it was the rotten apple. I’m from South Jamaica Queens. What made my borough so unique was that I saw firsthand people who grew in the dark. I admire people who can grow without water and light. My native American ancestors prayed for me and instilled everything in me that I needed to rise above the noise. I knew I wanted more and I went for it.

IAQM: That is so powerful. One of the things that can become a major distraction in our lives is friends. We understand that you were sent to federal prison because of a friend. Tell us a little bit more about that story.

SUNSHINE: So in 2013, I reunited with an old friend from my area of South Jamaica, Queens. Some people have it and some people don’t, and the majority of us are trauma bonded. If you don’t know what trauma bonding is, that’s when you share something that might have been a trauma, whether it’s being poor together, it could be something that was not healed properly. We all know that with trauma if it’s not healed properly, becomes bitterness. When it’s healed properly, it becomes wisdom. I found myself in a federal, for my association with an individual that I normally would not talk to. What I didn’t know is that you’re supposed to only be around those that have a common future, not those that have a common past. Sometimes we feel like we need to still be in contact with those that we have left behind. It is okay for us to say hi, it is okay for us to see each other in passing. But to reconnect on that level where you’re trying to be, you are the five people that are around you. I have forgiven that individual and I am grateful for that season. I’m not angry about it. But I will tell you this in my book, Sunny 101: The 10 Commandments of a Boss Chick, which I wrote in federal prison. One of the commandments is dedicated to him and that was chapter is titled, Thou Shall Be Leery of The Company You Keep. And I’ll leave that there.

IAQM: In 25 years, what would you like the history books to say about you?

SUNSHINE: In 25 years,  I would like the history books to show that Sunshine Smith Williams didn’t come from a wealthy family but a wealthy family came from her. I’d like them to say that I was a powerhouse a business mogul, resilient, and that I never gave up. I want them to say that I helped others achieve and accomplish their financial goals. But most importantly, that I was a spiritual being and that I never compromised. Overall, I do see myself living along healthy, wealthy, happy life surrounded by those I love and those who push me every day to become a better version of myself. That’s what I see. 

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