Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner
We Beachy Beachers know how super precious our Mama Bear, Karen Smith is. Her heart and compassion are as unmatched as her infectious energy.
We could go on and on, but the introduction to the Community Impact Award given by Jayna Leach (and crafted by Erica & Carl Averion) last night, truly says it all. It went as follows:
“In our eyes here at the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Community Impact Award is an honor we hold in the highest regard. And the reason is this…
The Community Impact Award honors someone for having a tangible and measurable effect on our community. This is not someone who simply motivates us and inspires us- but even more so this person truly leads by example and calls us all to our feet to action where each of us is nudged to make our very own impact & positive contribution to the world around us. In fact, this person believes that each one of you seated in a chair tonight actually has your very own special touch that only you can contribute in your unique way to make an impact.
This person’s impact has resulted in a number of activities, such as job creation, workforce development, volunteer efforts, community committee & board service, and innovative initiatives that promote social improvements in Panama City Beach and Bay County as a whole. They have lived on the Emerald Coast for over thirty years and even developed their very own philosophy for entrepreneurship. They started a company that was small- but mighty. Beginning with 3 employees and growing to 70+ employees. But even more than the success behind this person in the business world- they are a trailblazer when it comes to community service and social impact…serving on the board of many charity organizations and business advisory groups they put action into words. Whether that’s being a long-time leader of support for Beach Care Services, an anchor & signature sponsor for our Chamber’s very own IdeaCamp, hosting monthly pop up charitable initiatives at their office that have raised unprecedented funds that go directly to locals in need- especially children through Food for Kidz, or serving on the board of the Chamber in a number of capacities…this person transcends adversity and if there is a need they help fill it.
The greatest part of recognizing this individual for this particular award is that we get to highlight how they have positively impacted not just their own business- but so many other small businesses in this room in ways that inspire INTEGRITY. You can’t help but step up to do better and be better when you come in contact with this person.
I’d be up here all night if I listed out the actual examples of service and leadership this person has been a part of, but more than anything here’s what they are best known for:
-Sharing publicly not just the celebrations in their life, but also the challenges and hardships that make us all feel the realness of their spirit in everything they touch.
-Their rags to riches story of building not just a business- but a legacy in our community of generosity.
-Problem solving in really insanely creative ways!
-Starting their business later in life (when they were FIFTY years old!!!)
-The size of their heart- not their business or “success”.
-Saying a special prayer for our Chambers many community centered functions.
-Reading too many books at one time and sharing their love of reading!
-Always giving up ther time on the mic to talk about what charity in our community needs us the most.
-Promoting happiness and KINDNESS above all.
-Writing a LOVE NOTE to hundreds of people every month!
-Obsessively promoting PEACE, LOVE, and the BEACH!!!
-Leading a company where their mission and motto is…
”The Only People We Have to Get Even With Are Those Who Have Helped Us!”
Y’all (because no other greeting or salutation will do for this special lady), please help me celebrate Karen Key Smith with Beach Real Estate.”
We are so grateful for our Karen and the inspiration she gives us on a daily basis, and couldn’t be more proud of her receiving this award!
~Team Beachy Beach