Lansing’s Micaela Smith Talks Economic Development, Airport as Women in Business Guest Speaker (Glenwood, IL) — On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, the Southland Black Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosted the monthly Women in Business Luncheon at Tuscan Gardens in Glenwood. The event had a tremendous turn out of successful women across all industries, providing the perfect environment for networking. The event was emceed by Chicago Heights Park District Board President Jessica Mangiaracina.
The highlight was guest speaker Trustee Micaela Smith of Lansing, IL. Trustee Smith shared the trials obstacles she faced in her journey to becoming Lansing’s first Black elected official. From literally getting door after door slammed in her face while door knocking to hate from nay-sayers who were not quite ready for a person of color to be leading, Trustee Smith never gave up hope.
Prior to her accolades in Lansing, she was also the first black commissioner for Lan-Oak Park District. Although she faced many obstacles on her road to success, she never allowed them to derail her from the path she was paving. In fact, they only motivated her to work harder and expand her horizons. Trustee Smith shared her recipe for success with the audience.
“My journey of becoming who and what I am required a recipe; sustaining growing pains, experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly. It also requires fixing one’s mess; your inner self- release negativity, hurt and the unfairness that you will go through only sours your attitude, drains your energy, and limits your creativity. Also, I had to stop blaming other things and people for my lack of success.
“This is where we start creating excuses used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.
“The last a final ingredient, I had to get uncomfortable. I had to release, let go and take a leap of faith.
So, let’s recap my ingredients; growing pains, inner Mess, accountability, and getting uncomfortable. These are my ingredients for my success.”
As a trustee, her duties include leading Lansing Municipal Airport and economic development. With the pandemic underway, she had her work cut out for her. Many of Lansing’s major businesses could not sustain the nationwide shut down, with the Torrence Business Corridor taking a major hit.
Using her own recipe for success, she has commenced multiple initiatives to drive investors and residents to the village. This has fostered opportunity and collaboration between the village, its residents, and stakeholders.
“Implementation of a Village grant matching program which is our Facade Improvement Program, which offers new or existing businesses funding for interior and/or exterior improvement. These improvements can be as small as a new awning, sign, windows, or doors or as large as new roof or plumbing-something much larger towards your renovations.
“In addition, Tax Increment Financing, also known as TIFs, that can provide funds for stability, improvements or for other financing needs. Also, Enterprise Zones which offer a variety of subsidies to companies and a Village buy option which is a grant funded program through the (SCP) Strong Communities Program from IL Housing Authority which helps stabilize housing.
We’re able to receive funds to demolish, renovate, or purchase property that maybe foreclosed or delinquent and sold at a lower price to get the property back on the tax rolls. Also, there is the option/opportunity for Class 8 Tax Incentive as well.”
Once again, Trustee Smith has triumphed her obstacles bringing many well-known businesses to the village in 2022, such as, Starbucks, Smoothie King, and Chipotle. A trail blazer in her own right leaving her mark in history, her story was inspirational and insightful.
Lansing’s Micaela Smith Talks Economic Development, Airport as Women in Business Guest Speaker