Alumni Spotlight
Gabe Smith

By: Greta Allen, PR student intern

Gabe Smith Photo

Gabe Smith received his Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Theatre in 2005 from Mississippi State University. 

Smith is from Hammond, La., and he now resides in Starkville, Miss., where he works as Executive Director for Starkville Community Theatre. 

Smith’s responsibilities include the management of a year-round non-professional theatre company. He became interested in his current job because of his previous theatre experience. 

“I had volunteered with the theatre for a decade when they decided to hire their first employee,” said Smith. “I'd been working in hospitality management for five years and was looking to make a change. The planets aligned.”

Smith shared his most important piece of advice for undergraduate students applying for jobs.

“Be absolutely honest with your strengths and limitations, and don't pin all your hopes on only one application. However, only apply for something you actually want.”

Favorite memory as a communication student?
Every minute onstage and backstage in McComas Hall.

Favorite communication class you took and why?
Intro to Public Speaking. It unlocked for me that, outside of my initial interest in and love for theatre (which I hadn't really pursued yet), I was a strong communicator and organizer of my thoughts for a diverse audience. It gave me the confidence to commit to a focus on the arts as a life path. 

Most valuable lesson learned from the communication department?
Prepare, yes. But show up, first and foremost. Chasing perfection, and finding failure when you don't achieve it, will hamstring your growth and momentum. Show up. Show up and let life happen outside the boundaries you've tried to control in advance. 

Any funny stories from your time in McComas?
Live theatre is full of tall backstage tales, from pranks to showmances to things going wrong in front of an audience, that should only be told in person - once they're in print, they can incriminate you and others forever. 

What are you passionate about?
Inclusion and balance. Unexpected human connection borne of specific detail - how zooming in on granular minutiae somehow transcends to become something universal.