Smith to be honored with Caren Franzini Leadership Award

Marketsmith founder and CEO Monica Smith – a top female founder, executive, investor and philanthropist in the state – will be honored with the 2021 Caren Franzini Leadership Award by the N.J. Business & Industry Association.

Smith will receive the award at NJBIA’s 7th annual Women Business Leaders Forum on Sept. 22-24 at the Palace in Somerset. It will be a hybrid event this year.

The annual event is one of the largest professional women’s conferences in the state. It brings together hundreds of corporate and nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, and students online and in person to inspire and empower the building of successful businesses and to increase diversity in corporate leadership.

NJBIA CEO Michele Siekerka said Smith was selected for the Franzini award because of her achievements in both business and the nonprofit sector.

“The Caren Franzini Leadership Award is an honor bestowed on individuals who inspire and empower others to achieve professional excellence,” Siekerka said. “NJBIA is pleased this year to be honoring Monica C. Smith because she is an executive who leads by example in the boardroom and in the community, just as the namesake of this award did.”

Smith founded Marketsmith Inc. in 1999 and grew the agency to become a leader in data-driven direct marketing strategy using its proprietary analytics-based prediction platform i.Predictus, which can predict sales with over 90% accuracy. For three straight years, Smith has driven over $1.5 billion in retail sales annually, and is now responsible for the management of $200 million of media spend a year.

Smith also is one of only a few women who have successfully raised capital in the tech arena. 

(Smith and her wife of 25 years, Amy Allan Smith, were the original investor in ROI-NJ.  She funded and helped launch ROI-NJ in 2017 before selling it to Tom Bergeron and Tom Hughes in 2020.)

Over the past two decades, Smith has contributed, built and sponsored dozens of philanthropic organizations and causes. One More Smith, a 501(c)(3) organization, has provided permanent sanctuary for thousands of hard-to-home animals since its inception in 2004. Bring Dinner Home, an annual Thanksgiving event, provides holiday dinners, warm coats, books, and grocery store gift cards for hundreds of families of schoolchildren at Newark’s Camden Street Elementary School.

After many years of fostering and adoption, Monica and Amy Allan Smith have been recognized by the state of New Jersey for their dedication and approach to fostering, and by CASA Morris County for their support of Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in the foster system. 

The Caren Franzini Leadership Award honors the legacy of the longtime chief executive of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, who died in 2017. Franzini worked with seven governors from 1994 to 2012 to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth, particularly in New Jersey’s largest cities.

After her tenure at EDA, Franzini served on NJBIA’s board of trustees until her death at age 57.

The sponsors of the 2021 NJBIA Women Business Leaders Forum are: Primepoint HRMS & Payroll, NJM Insurance Group, Atlantic City Electric, Bristol Myers Squibb, Investors Bank, United, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Johnson & Johnson, New Jersey Natural Gas, AT&T, Fidelity Investments, IBEW Local 102, Delta Dental, Northfield Bank, RWJBarnabas Health, Campanella Law Office, Panasonic, Archer Attorneys at Law, Accurate Box Company Inc., Chase and SobelCo.

For registration information for the 7th annual NJBIA Women Business Leaders Forum, go here.