Ja’Ron Smith

Vice Chairman & Advisor, Urban Policy and Community Revitalization
As a Vice Chairman, Ja’ron provides advice and counsel to clients across all Highland Poe business verticals on matters related to community and economic revitalization.

Ja’Ron joins Highland Poe after serving in several senior roles in the White House. Prior to his departure, he worked as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, where he was the chief policy strategist for the “Opportunity Zones” provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. He is also credited with managing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council’s response to underserved communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In this role, he implemented the $60 billion Paycheck Protection Program set-aside for minority-owned businesses. Ja’Ron was a critical force in securing passage of the Formerly Incarcerated Re-Enter Society Transformed – Safely Transitioning Every Person (FIRST STEP) Act of 2018, for which he served as chief White House negotiator.

As a lifelong champion of HBCUs, with two degrees from Howard University, Ja’Ron was also a key negotiator in helping to secure permanent funding for HBCUs under the FUTURE Act. He also serves as Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunities, a research and education initiative housed at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Prior to his time at the White House, Ja’Ron worked on Capitol Hill on the legislative teams for U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the House Committee on Financial Services, the Republican Study Committee, and the House Republican Conference lead by then-Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.