Professor, Management, Entrepreneurship and General Business
Charles Smith, professor of management, entrepreneurship and general business, recently co-authored An Emerald Earth: Cultivating a Natural Spirituality and Serving Creative Beauty in Our World with his wife Felicia Norton. Specializing in organizational development, small group dynamics and strategic decision making, Professor Smith believes that individuals must be spiritually balanced in order to be effective business leaders.
What are some of your best experiences at Hofstra?
My best experiences at Hofstra are in the classroom with students who bring fresh ideas, inspiration and new perspectives.
Why did you become a professor?
An army aptitude test helped me identify a talent that I didn't realize I had, teaching. I started teaching at the army intelligence school. From there I earned my MBA then pursued doctoral studies.
What is your book about?
Right now I am in the process of writing another book with my wife on creativity and service in work life and the arts. The book we just completed, An Emerald Earth, is about bringing spirituality to everyday life. It comes out of the tradition of the Sufis who see that the everyday world is sacred. Much of the sense of that sacredness has been lost in our overly rational, highly scientific culture. Our lives need a balance that comes from a developing a deep meditative life.
The book presents a modern Sufi perspective that life is a great opportunity and a precious opportunity for spiritual awakening for one's self but also for helping in a world that needs a lot of help right now.
How does spirituality relate to business?
Corporations have tremendous power to do good in the world. The more that people become aware of their soul and what is ethical the more they have a chance of using the corporation as a tool for helping people and doing it in a way that can be profitable but also beneficial for many people. The essence of a real manager is to set a tone to do things right. It doesn't always have to be something that looks spiritual. It can be as simple as how to do a process better.
What lesson do you want students to take away from your classroom?
I want them to know that they can make a difference. If there is anything that I can share from my book or my classroom, I hope it's that each of us has a power to bring about change, to make a difference. It's a seed at first but it can become a very strong force.
If you weren't teaching what would you be doing?
I would probably be painting more, doing calligraphy and writing more. I have a great love for painting and there are a great number of books in my heart that are waiting to come out.