A native of Lexington, KY, Ashley C. Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She is the Co-founder and COO of Black Soil: Our Better Nature, a statewide agritourism company with a mission of reconnecting Black Kentuckians to their legacy and heritage in agriculture. Smith has worked for such brands as KentuckyOne Health, Bluegrass Hospitality Group, Community Ventures, NetGain Technologies, Smiley Pete Publishing, The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center and Fayette Alliance. Smith’s other professional involvement, leadership and accolades include: Ethical Redevelopment Salon member under the leadership of Theaster Gates, Secretary for Kentucky State University’s Extension and Research Advisory Council, and 2016 Scholarship Chair for the Bluegrass Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
In addition, her leadership also includes serving on the Management Team for the crave food + music festival and Steering Committee member for the Kentucky Rural Urban Exchange. Her professional portfolio also includes voice over and Mistress of Ceremonies duties for City of Lexington 2017, 2018, and 2020 Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration, Stage Emcee for 2017 and 2018 crave lexington food + music festival. She earned an Emmy nomination for KET’s Kentucky Life episode, A Kentucky Christmas, voicing the work of Kentucky native, writer and poet, Effie Waller Smith. Smith gave a top rated CreativeMornings Lexington talk, ‘Insecure’ in June 2020. Smith and Trevor Claiborn are the proud parents of Caroline and Trevor, Jr.