Sidney R. Smith, III
Chairman of the Board, Global Nomads Group
President, SRS Counsel, LLC
Sidney R. Smith marks his earliest cross-cultural experience as “being the only African American kid among all white classmates or teammates.” Basketball games in towns that were predominantly Black offered a rare opportunity. “It allowed me to forge friendships with other Black kids,” says Sid, “and by extension, my white teammates became friendly with them as well.”
When his 7th grade basketball team won a championship and went to play in Puerto Rico, Sid stayed with a Puerto Rican player and his family who spoke only Spanish. “He had sisters, I had sisters, and we clicked right away even though we spoke different languages,” he recalls. A traveler ever since, Sid visited Europe during college and accompanied a congressional delegation to Zaire in his first job after college.
Today, Sid is President of SRS Counsel and Chairman of the Board of Global Nomads Group. He’s on the boards of Pahara Institute and Alder Graduate School of Education, and coaches the girls’ high school basketball at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.
Sid learned of the Global Nomads Group through a fellowship and then visited a program site in Amman, Jordan. As an adult observer, he felt the same takeaway students describe. “They were classmates who’d been working together, but they still were discovering things, opening up, and developing newfound respect for each other’s viewpoints,” he says. “My presence and curiosity were welcomed. I came away with feelings of hope and levity, a sense of purpose, and an even more open heart.”
“Young people use tech as a jumping off point for in-person learning,” says Sid, affirming Global Nomads’ 20-year history of success. “Technology can be a catalyst for kids craving more human connection—sometimes even helping them to overcome their fears.” He celebrates this board’s capacity to give more young people that opportunity as Global Nomads Group grows to its full potential.