Putting Others First: Marketsmith

“My belief,” says Smith, “is that those who have achieved a level of success owe it to their community to give back.”

Marketsmith founder and CEO Monica C. Smith
Marketsmith founder and CEO Monica C. Smith
Photo by John Emerson

“I founded Marketsmith in 1999 out of my home because I was fired from my job for coming out,” says CEO Monica C. Smith. “I knew I couldn’t work for a company that wouldn’t let me be my true self.”

Today, Marketsmith claims to be the largest female-owned marketing agency in the state, creating media campaigns for clients such as the New Jersey Lottery and the Museum of Modern Art. The firm also provides pro bono marketing support for nonprofits, including Jersey Battered Women’s Services.

“My belief,” says Smith, “is that those who have achieved a level of success owe it to their community to give back.”

A life-long Jersey girl, Smith and her six brothers were raised in South Orange by working-class parents. “Having been raised to put others first set the tone for my company,” she says.

At Marketsmith, employees are given up to eight hours a year to dedicate to a charitable cause of their choice. “But in reality, they exceed those hours,” says Smith.

In 2011, Smith and her wife, Amy, adopted the Camden Street Elementary School in Newark after meeting principal Sam Garrison at a local soccer field. “We immediately connected,” says Smith.

“Monica and Amy have such a strong drive to continue their philanthropic efforts that it became part of Marketsmith’s DNA,” says general manager Anne Picone.

“Our staff wants to make the world a better place,” she adds. “People join our firm because they believe in our mission.”

Over three-fourths of Camden Street students come from low-income households. Marketsmith supports the school through monetary donations for programs, as well as supplies, which are provided through the Camden Cares room, a safe space where students and their families can do their laundry and take home nonperishable necessities.

The Smiths also introduced the school’s Bring Dinner Home program, an annual Thanksgiving celebration, through which Marketsmith employees team up to feed almost 1,000 people, and give away hundreds of winter coats, books, diapers and grocery-store gift cards.

“The goal is to offer children and their families meaningful proof that others care about their well-being and futures,” says Smith. “Not just with words, but with actions.”
Marketsmith also helps support and fund Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Morris and Sussex counties, a cause particularly close to the Smiths, mothers of six.

“Five out of our six children had a CASA advocate to help them through the legal process,” she says. “For that I am forever grateful.”

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