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state mother of the year
Charifa Smith, 2024 New York Mother of the Year.

Charifa Smith

February 12, 2024



Charifa Smith, a seasoned entrepreneur with 20 years of experience, currently serves as the CEO of Mother’s Reserve, a global consulting business. A highly skilled senior management consultant, Charifa excels in client experience, international law, and organizational analysis. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Spelman College and a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School. Previously, Charifa served as the Executive Director of the Federal Judicial Learning Center and Museum of the Western District of Oklahoma. Passionate about international affairs, she contributed to research at the Council on Foreign Relations and interned at the United Nations Headquarters. Charifa is dedicated to community service. She has actively contributed to programs supporting women and children, entrepreneurship, and economic research. She serves as a member of Jack and Jill of America, Brooklyn Chapter and Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Charifa lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her three daughters, engaging in various community and leadership roles.

Parenting Philosophy

My parenting philosophy centers on fostering a supportive and nurturing environment that promotes the holistic development of my children. I believe in a balanced approach that combines love, discipline, and open communication. Building a strong emotional connection is paramount, as it forms the foundation for trust and understanding. I strive to be an involved and empathetic parent, actively participating in my child’s life and being attuned to their needs. Encouraging independence and resilience is crucial, as it empowers my child to navigate challenges with confidence. I believe in setting clear boundaries and expectations while allowing room for exploration and learning from experiences. Education, both formal and informal, is a cornerstone of my parenting philosophy. I aim to cultivate a love for learning by exposing my children to a diverse range of ideas, cultures, and activities. I value curiosity and encourage questioning, fostering a mindset of continuous growth. In cultivating a sense of responsibility and empathy, I emphasize the importance of kindness and respect towards others. Teaching them to appreciate diversity and embrace differences is essential in fostering a compassionate worldview. Ultimately, my parenting philosophy is dynamic and adaptive, recognizing the unique personality and needs of each child. It involves active listening, continuous learning, and a commitment to providing a secure and loving environment that enables them to flourish into well-rounded, confident individuals.

Motherhood and Community

I am involved in several activities that have had a positive impact including Jack and Jill of America Gavel Club, Mother’s Reserve Youth Entrepreneurship Program, and the Foundation Board of Langston University. Supporting youth leadership, oratorical programs, and entrepreneurship is an investment in shaping the future by empowering the next generation with essential skills and confidence. Youth leadership development is about nurturing the potential of young individuals to become effective, ethical leaders who can drive positive change in their communities and beyond. JJ Gavel Club-a youth oratorical program-plays a crucial role in honing communication and public speaking skills. It provides a platform for young voices to be heard, fostering self-expression and the articulation of ideas. Through oratory, youth develop the ability to persuasively convey their thoughts, inspiring others and building the foundation for effective leadership. Mother’s Reserve Youth Entrepreneurship program is a program we developed to give back to the local youth. We are instrumental in fostering creativity, innovation, and a strong work ethic. By equipping young minds with entrepreneurial skills, we enable them to identify opportunities, take risks, and turn their ideas into reality. We also set up an exchange program with young entrepreneurs in Botswana. To support youth leadership, providing mentorship is key. Mentors can guide young individuals, offering insights, encouragement, and practical advice based on their own experiences. Creating platforms for youth to engage in leadership roles within community organizations, schools, or local government fosters a sense of responsibility and allows them to apply their skills in real-world situations. For youth entrepreneurship, partnerships with local businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies can create a supportive ecosystem. Access to resources such as mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities is crucial for aspiring young entrepreneurs. Encouraging a culture that values entrepreneurship and celebrates the successes of youth-led ventures inspires others to pursue their dreams. Raising funds for Langston University is impactful because education should be accessible to all youth, irrespective of their socio-economic background. By ensuring inclusivity, these programs can amplify diverse voices and perspectives.