Aronda Smith-Benson is an honorably discharged Army veteran; she deployed during Desert Shield-Storm as a medic with 3rd Armored Division 45th Support Battalion. Aronda’s Unit received the Valorous Unit Award. The Valorous Unit Award is the second highest unit decoration which may be bestowed upon a U.S. Army Unit (the highest being the Presidential Unit Citation.
Aronda is the first female and the youngest appointed member (2013-2018) of the City Council Veterans Advisory Commission of Philadelphia since its inception in 1957. She is a recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal – Veteran of Influence Award, Women Veteran Rock – Leaders and Legends Award, Point Breeze Association – Veteran Advocacy Award, Spectrum Health Services – Community Gem Award, and the Women Veterans Leadership Award. She has also had the distinguished honor to moderate a panel at the Women Veterans Employment Symposium in Washington, D.C. sponsored by Redbook Magazine and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
She is also the Founder & President of the Women Veteran Command Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The WVCC is dedicated to providing opportunities for women veterans to explore and define their life purpose. The Women Veterans Command Center provides strength-based initiatives to empower, educate, and enrich the lives of women veterans throughout their lifespan by utilizing the appreciative inquiry coaching model.
Through her firm, Aronda Enterprises LLC, she provides executive coaching and consulting primarily for start-ups and small businesses. She is also a veteran subject matter expert (SME). Her professional focus is in: military transition, organizational development, program design, value propositions and personal effectiveness. She emphasizes “leading from the center” a rite of passage to becoming an authentic leader. She is known to equip leaders by introducing the practice of Appreciative Inquiry into their leadership philosophy.
Aronda’s down to earth approach has enabled her to inspire and encourage people from all walks of life. Clients and audiences alike are drawn to her candor and the use of humor. She is pragmatic, thought-provoking and authentic. Sharing her personal and professional challenges has enabled her to gain the trust required to co-create the journey.
In addition, Aronda has extensive experience working with ex-offenders. She worked at Liberty Management Services, a Community Corrections program as the Assistant Director of their 124-bed facility designated for parolees and pre-release. During her tenure, Mrs. Smith-Benson was promoted to Director of the Liberty Management Center, Women Work Release program contracted by the Philadelphia Prison System.
Aronda earned a master’s degree from University of Pennsylvania in Organizational Dynamics.