Courtney Smith
Detroit Phoenix Center, Founder & Executive Director

Courtney is an advocate fighting to break the cycle of poverty in Detroit. She has distinguished herself as an industry leader and champion for youth.

She is the Founder & Executive Director of Detroit Phoenix Center (DPC). Detroit Phoenix Center is a high-impact nonprofit organization that provides critical resources and a safe, nurturing environment for youth experiencing homelessness. Under her visionary leadership, Detroit Phoenix Center opened the first and only drop-in facility meeting the emergent needs of teens and young adults in crisis in Detroit, launched a scholarship fund, and tripled their operating budget to expand their programs and services to get more youth off the street.

Her commitment to professional excellence, advocacy, and service has led her to be featured in Comcast Newsmakers, USA Today, Michigan Chronicle, Rolling Out magazine, Mic, NPR and many other media outlets.

She was recently named to the prestigious “Crain's Twenty in their 20s”  list of trailblazing millennials to watch in the region and is a Forbes Under 30 nominee. Courtney is a double-time recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award, a recipient of the Women of Excellence Award, and received the Community Champion of the Year Award from the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness; among many other awards and achievements.

Courtney is a sought after speaker and facilitator on topics related to: youth and community development, advocacy and servant leadership. Her unique and practical engagement style has landed her international speaking engagements and conducting leadership workshops for Fortune 500 Companies and Big Ten Universities.

Courtney received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Eastern Michigan University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Entrepreneurship.  She serves on the Board of Directors for School House Connection and is National Youth Advisor for the National Network For Youth.