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Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. to Honor Anita and Gerald Smith for Exceptional Community Leadership at 14th Annual Barrier Breaker Luncheon

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Houston
1200 Louisiana Street
Anita and Gerald Smith
Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. (CRR), a non-profit United Way agency that helps persons identify and overcome barriers to employment, will celebrate the achievements of Gerald B. and Anita Smith at the fourteenth annual Barrier Breaker Award Luncheon on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Houston. The Smiths were chosen for the award because of their outstanding community leadership, advocacy and civic activities within the Houston community. Gerald B. Smith is chairman and chief executive officer of Smith, Graham & Company Investment Advisors; Anita Smith is an interior designer and director of her own company, Webb Design Interiors.

The award luncheon is held annually to laud inspirational community leaders who have achieved success or have helped others to overcome barriers to success. The Smiths are accomplished on both fronts. In addition, the event recognizes CRR Star Clients who have overcome significant obstacles and have achieved career accomplishments through assistance provided by the agency.

“We are blessed to have outstanding community leaders like Anita and Gerald Smith as our 2010 Barrier Breaker Honorees,” said CRR CEO Vernus C. Swisher. “The Smiths are dedicated to supporting our community and share CRR’s mission to help others identify and overcome barriers to employment.”

Gerald B. Smith, a native of Houston, has served in many capacities as a business and community leader in his home city. He is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Smith, Graham & Company Investment Advisors, a global investment management firm – with offices in Houston and New York City – which he founded in 1990. He is a member of the board of trustees of Charles Schwab Family of Funds; lead independent director and deputy chairman of Cooper Industries; a member of the board of directors of ONEOK Partners, L.P.; and a founding member of the New York Futures Exchange. In 2007, Black Enterprise Magazine named him one of the 50 most powerful African-Americans on Wall Street.
Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. logo
As a volunteer for the non-profit community, Mr. Smith has served on many community and civic boards, including: the Houston Museum of African-American Culture; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Greater Houston Partnership; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He served as vice chairman on the METRO Board for the City of Houston and currently chairs the Texas Southern University Foundation Board.

Anita Smith is an interior designer and director of her own company, Webb Design Interiors. Her designs have been featured in publications like House Beautiful, Houston Life, Woman’s Day Special Publication, Houston Chronicle, ICON Magazine and Texas Monthly. She has been involved in many philanthropic endeavors, chairing and co-chairing fundraisers for March of Dimes Best Dressed Luncheon; the Legacy Clinic’s Power of Legacy Gala; the American Heart Association’s Power to End Stroke Campaign; the Gala Grand Opening for Nordstrom benefiting Project S.A.F.E.T.Y. of MDAnderson Cancer Center; and the Texas Southern University Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala.

Mrs. Smith is a recipient of the Humanitarian award from Kuumba House. She has also been inducted into the March of Dimes “Hall of Fame” for Best Dressed, and recognized by Lamar High School as a Distinguished Alumni and as a Woman of Distinction by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She has donated her time and efforts to other organizations, such as the Ensemble Theatre, Project Row House, the Rice Design Alliance Board, and Missouri City Chapter of Links.

In addition to honoring Anita and Gerald Smith, Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. will honor a number of its Star Clients at this year’s Barrier Breaker Luncheon.

Star Client Hernandez Miller started drinking when he was in high school. His drinking habits lead to three DWI arrests in twenty years. Hernandez’s last arrest would have cost him a two-year jail sentence, but the judge let him go on the condition he would enter treatment. Hernandez connected with CRR during his four months of outpatient alcohol treatment and worked with his counselor to secure a job after his alternative program. Mr. Miller has been sober now for 17 months and works for Safe Way, a professional driving service, as a Field Supervisor. Hernandez now enjoys a strong relationship with his wife and 12-year-old son, and describes his experience being sober as the “best time of my life.”

Star Client Elizabeth T., a native of Houston, began using drugs in her junior year of high school and was eventually arrested and jailed several times for felony drug possession offenses. She went through several treatment programs prior to coming to CRR, but had trouble due to recurring relapses. At CRR, Elizabeth successfully completed 11 months of outpatient drug/alcohol treatment and was a successful graduate/participant in the Harris County Drug Court initiative. She is now a single mother raising a four-year-old child and has been clean and sober for 22 months. She works full-time for Adesa Houston, a large auction company, as the outside fleet coordinator handling all aspects of auto presentations and sales and is a mathematics student at UH Downtown.

This year’s Luncheon Host Committee Co-Chairs are Leslie and Jack Blanton, Jr., Alice Aanstoos and Mark Yust, Beverly and William Harmon, Vrinda and Dinesh Pejaver, Marsha and Tom Ramsey, Joyce and Ambassador Arthur Schechter, and Patti and Gary Tuma. Event underwriters include Cooper Industries and Gerald and Anita Smith.

Luncheon proceeds benefit the agency’s employment and training programs. Career and Recovery Resources offers specialized employment programs for job seekers who often have multiple barriers to employment. Services include adult basic literacy classes, computer classes, career counseling, job search preparation, intensive case management for job placement and retention, substance abuse treatment, prevention and education, among others.

The agency is dedicated to providing persons in need of employment with sound career advice, resources – even including interview apparel – job skills and guidance which equips each client with the confidence to gain successful employment. Last year, the agency served more than 9,000 adults through a variety of service delivery programs and helped nearly 12,000 youth through substance abuse prevention and education programs.

Tables and sponsorships range from $2,000 – $25,000, while individual tickets are $200 and VIP couple tickets are $500. For more information and to RSVP for the luncheon, please call 713.754.7065 or 713.754.7082, or visit To ensure reserved seating, reservations should be made by June 11, 2010.

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