By Donna Purchase

Charleen Smith; Courtesy of SWBID

Southwest DC is “the place to be.” We continue to spotlight the dedicated staff of the SWBID who are focused on making Southwest a clean, safe, vibrant community to live, work, visit, and enjoy.

Charleen Smith came to SWBID two years ago through Project Empowerment. Project Empowerment, an initiative of the DC Dept. of Employment Services, connects D.C., MD, and VA businesses with District residents, who are willing, ready, and qualified to work. Project Empowerment partners with businesses to recruit, train, match, and coach candidates for successful employment. The Wharf, ANC6D, SWNA and the SW/SE Community Benefits Councils are key partners. Under this program, Charleen was assigned to the SWBID through the Wharf partnership and is now a full-time employee. 

She is a “floater” which means she has to know every job route and be ready to jump in. When asked what she likes about her job she said, “Not like, LOVE!” Charlene considers her co-workers more than a team – they’re family.  

Charleen is a native Washingtonian. She attended Woodson Jr. and Sr. High Schools and is proud that her children and grandchildren attended those schools. She has three children and 8 grandchildren, but she is known as the “neighborhood mom” because on any given day her house is full of neighborhood kids.

SW residents and tourists find Charleen a great listener – they talk to her about the families, jobs, and more. She has made many friends and loves it when people call out her name.

Charleen is a sweetheart – no for real! Her birthday is Valentine’s Day. 

SWBID COO Andre Witt says: Charleen has been a rock solid employee from day one. I recall a time during a significant snow storm our executive director engaged her in the field and was simply amazed at her very strong work ethic. Charleen is one of our veterans that we can always count on to get the job done. She is simply amazing.

Charlene’s’ Favorites 

Music: oldies but goodies

Favorite Song: loves slow jams 

Sports team: Dallas Cowboys

Best thing about her job: interacting with residents and tourists   

Proudest moment: When she transitioned from contractor to permanent employee.

Favorite Quote: “If you believe it you can achieve it.”

So when you’re out and about – be sure to say hello (and happy birthday) to Charleen!

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