Kimberlee Campbell-Smith and Nicholas Schumann
Kimberlee Campbell-Smith and Nicholas Schumann

Impacting the world through service

UF Warrington College of Business alumni and veterans Kimberlee Campbell-Smith and Nicholas Schumann have distinguished themselves as leaders in the military and in the business world. We highlight their stories in honor of Veterans Day on Nov. 10, 2017.

Kimberlee Campbell-Smith

For most people, two weeks is not a significant amount of time. For some, it’s the time between paychecks or the amount of vacation they get every year.

For Kimberlee Campbell-Smith (MSE ’17), two weeks was the amount of time between when she joined the U.S. Army and the events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I initially joined the military because I wanted to set a better foundation for myself professionally and personally than what I had coming out of undergrad [BS in Kinesiology from Temple University],” she said. “Then 9/11 happened.”

Campbell-Smith served as a Mental Health Specialist in the U.S. Army from 2001-2005 during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in the most heavily deployed medical unit in the military at the time.

“It was the best of times and the worst of times,” she said. “But ultimately, 4 years in the military served me better than 2 years in grad school.”

After returning home, Campbell-Smith enrolled at Florida International University where she completed her Master’s in Public Health, which she initially had put on hold after 9/11 and her subsequent deployments.

“I’d always been interested in wellness and wanting to help people live their best lives,” she said. “I had worked with health care companies before, but I recognized there was a gap in how they serve their customers. I thought, ‘I just need a seat at the table with healthcare decision makers to be able to influence change.’”

It wasn’t until Campbell-Smith learned about the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) at the UF Warrington College of Business in 2014 that she thought she could turn an idea she had into a viable venture. As a new mom, Campbell-Smith wanted to create a community for moms and unite them around the challenges of being a new mom, wife and professional woman (all at the same time).

“There’s a conversation about being a mother that is not happening and needs to happen,” she said. “Mom guilt (maternal mental health) is real, and we don’t talk about it.”

After completing the VEP, Campbell-Smith continued to pursue educational opportunities that would help her grow her business idea. She earned a Professional Coaching Certificate from Duquesne University in 2016 and a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE) from UF in 2017.

During her time in the MSE program, she became interested in using improvisation and storytelling as part of her community for mothers. While contrary to what she learned as a professional coach and mental health counselor, Campbell-Smith found that sharing her own story was helpful to many of the people she worked with.

“I started telling people my story, and I found that when I told people my story, people opened up, allowing for breakthroughs to happen in their lives,” she said. “In entrepreneurship, you have to find what makes you different. My life isn’t perfect, but I’ve found a way to manage the sucky parts. That’s what helped me stand out [as a coach].”

Campbell-Smith used this approach to start her project, The Tenacious Rose, where she coaches women leaders, executives and entrepreneurs. She is developing a stage performance and a book, called ‘Unfit and Selfish: The New Definition of a Good Mom,’ as well.

Campbell-Smith partners with her clients on a journey to uncover possibilities, discover new thinking, define and stay focused on their life’s purpose.

“It is my belief that every person is born inherently strong, capable and wise,” she said. “We all yearn for fulfillment. I am dedicated to creating an atmosphere that is safe, non-judgmental, non-competitive and fun for my clients to express their authentic self in pursuit of that fulfillment.”

Campbell-Smith has found the perfect home to continue to grow The Tenacious Rose – The UF College of the Arts’ Center for Arts in Medicine, where she uses her strengths and unique experience to bridge the gap between healthcare, the arts and entrepreneurship.

Ultimately, Campbell-Smith said she is influenced by the notion that it is the obligation of dedicated professionals to train in their field to lead and aspire others to greatness. In addition to mothers, she dedicates a portion of her work to young people transitioning to higher education and the workforce.

“Young people need to develop and hear their authentic voice in the chorus of all the other ones telling them what they should do with their future,” she said. “That’s the only way they will own their success.”

Nicholas Schumann

Nicholas Schumann (BA ’06, MBA ’12) understood the importance of adaptability early in his life.

Schumann had been pursuing a degree in history from the University of Florida from 1998 through 2002, but decided he would need to put school on hold in order to serve his country. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 2003 and was deployed to Kuwait from February 2005 to February 2006. He was later deployed to Iraq for three months in 2007 as part of a joint Special Operations task force.

“One of my key takeaways from the Army was the understanding that I needed to be adaptable to new and changing environments,” he said. “It’s about expecting the unexpected. If you expect change, you’re not surprised when it’s in front of you. Whether you’re in the public or private sector, adaptability will help enable you to overcome the problems you come across.”

Schumann took that lesson to heart and has continued to use it throughout his career.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree from UF, he voluntarily went back to active duty orders in the Army and spent time at both Ft. Bragg, N.C., and Iraq as part of the special operations community. His dedication to the military led him to seek his commission as an officer, which he remains to this day. He was recently selected for promotion to Major.

Shortly after his commissioning as an officer with the Army Reserve, he landed a job with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, where he worked for nearly seven years. There, he helped support the development of targeted financial measures, such as sanctions, against national security threats ranging from transnational organized crime to terrorist support networks.

Schumann’s need to be adaptable resurfaced again when he learned he’d been selected to be the Treasury Department’s liaison to U.S. Southern Command (Southcom), where he was to advise Southcom leadership on illicit finance issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. He had recently been accepted to the MBA program at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., but with his new position being based in Miami, he needed a different institution at which to pursue his MBA. The University of Florida was that institution, with its Professional MBA in South Florida program.

“It was an incredibly last-minute ordeal,” he said. “I had a couple of phone calls with Andy Lord and the MBA admissions team and they were able to get me a spot in the program at the last minute. Kudos to Andy whose Herculean zeal made it possible. I appreciate all of the relationships that I made with my fellow students and professors [in the UF MBA program]. My classmates came from throughout the public and the private sectors, and learning from them and developing those relationships was great. Those are the relationships that are worth developing and sustaining.”

The UF MBA in South Florida program provided Schumann with the flexibility to continue his work with the Treasury Department and give him the additional skills he was looking for to excel in the military and corporate world.

It’s also helped him in his current role at HSBC as U.S. Head of External Engagement for Financial Crime Threat Mitigation (FCTM). In his role, Schumann provides strategic direction and oversight with key members of the public sector and peers to share information on financial crime threats. He helps FCTM focus on the specific financial threats that HSBC faces presently and in the future, pioneering techniques and technology to protect the business, its customers and the communities in which the bank and financial services company operates.

“I like that I get the opportunity to be innovative with how we build, develop and sustain public and private partnerships,” he said. “I’m helping coordinate with like-minded institutions and law enforcement professionals towards a common goal in combatting financial crime and its many social harms.”

Working on a collaborative team and building strong relationships were reasons Schumann was drawn to the military, and feels lucky to have the military pay for his UF MBA through the post-9/11 GI Bill®. In addition to remaining a member of the Army Reserve, Schumann stays connected to the military through “Valor,” HSBC’s employee resource group for military and veterans issues. One of Valor’s main goals is promoting job placement for veterans within the bank, which it has improved substantially over the past year.

The advice Schumann has for current and future students draws heavily from his own personal experiences.

“Be willing to fail and to take on tasks and experiences that get you out of your comfort zone,” he said. “These opportunities are what are going to give you growth – both personally and professionally.”

The University of Florida Warrington College of Business wholeheartedly thank Kimberlee Campbell-Smith, Nicholas Schumann and all of its veterans and active duty faculty, staff, alumni and students for their service.