Meet Rashad Smith
Rashad Smith is one of the newest auctioneers to join HUNT Auctioneers, and we are thrilled to have him as part of our family. He is a Brooklyn native who recognizes the importance of community and wants to empower his generation. Those who meet him for the first time are instantly mesmerized by his wit and passion for a better world—qualities that make him a prodigious benefit auctioneer right out of the gate.
Rashad thoroughly enjoys mentoring high school students on the intricacies of finance and entrepreneurship through the NASP-NY Fast Track program, and he is the Vice President of his block association. Fun fact, his ideal suit is a 3-piece tweed in any color (well, particularly burgundy or brown) which he would use to shatter fundraising goals.
I spoke with Rashad about his training with HUNT Auctioneers, his passion for mentoring students, and the importance of seeing diversity on stage.
PAUL FLOREZ-TAYLOR: Rashad, I want to officially welcome you to the HUNT Auctioneers team! What made you want to become an auctioneer?
RASHAD SMITH: [Laughs] Well, I’m an avid eBayer so my negotiation and bidding skills have been up to par for a while.
PFT: I’ve long proselytized that eBay is a gateway drug for auctioneering.
RS: On a serious note, I decided that I wanted to become an auctioneer after speaking with [HUNT Auctioneers President] Lucas Hunt about his experiences.
PFT: Lucas has the uncanny ability to spot potential auctioneers.
RS: Lucas’ passion and excitement for fundraising is inspiring. I would always ask him about events where he would fundraise, and the organizations were always doing things that were beneficial for society.
PFT: What was one thing that surprised you when you began training to be an auctioneer?
RS: Auctioneering had some parallels to what I’d been accustomed to seeing from television and film. However, there’s a lot of technical work and research that’s done to improve delivery. It makes sense because practice makes perfect, but I’ll admit I didn’t take the training into account.
PFT: Not many folks know how hard we train here at HUNT Auctioneers. We have a very specific method that’s tailored to optimizing fundraising.
RS: Sometimes you think, “some people are just naturally gifted at public speaking.” That’s true for some, but repetition makes a difference. Training has been very helpful and eye-opening. I feel like it makes me more mindful when speaking in public, small groups or with anyone for that matter.
PFT: You jumped right into the frying pan with bid spotting. What was that like?
RS: Bid spotting is fun! I felt like I was in an old western film. Every time I saw a hand go up, the bidder was in my sight.
PFT: Your first auction with the team was at the Brooklyn Black Tie Ball at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Describe the evening for us.
RS: It was an incredible event. Everyone was dressed to the nines. The atmosphere gave off a vibe of limitless possibilities. What I found exciting was being in the room with so many influential people who, in some ways, could shape the life of everyday people in this city.
PFT: I’m LGBTQIA and Cuban, and I was shocked at the lack of diversity in the auctioneering community. How important is it to see diversity on stage?
RS: Diversity in auctioneering is very important. People tend to connect with someone they relate to or who can put them at ease. One auctioneer’s delivery may or may not connect with a particular crowd. Outside of that, it’s important to give someone the opportunity and platform to address an audience they wouldn’t normally come into contact with.
PFT: Agreed. It’s about getting the voices that should be on stage in the room so they can connect with the audience.
RS: Generosity and giving are of great importance today. There is so much inequality worldwide. So, it’s important that we all recognize the role we can play to help the next human we encounter get to a better station.
PFT: How has your past experience mentoring high school students helped you become an auctioneer?
RS: Mentoring high school children is something I am really passionate about. I had mentors coming out of high school and throughout college, and their guidance was invaluable to my growth. Those experiences inspired me to want to give back, and in turn have shown me how important it is to help people.
PFT: Well said. A benefit auctioneer is always motivated to give back to the community.
RS: I believe in each one, teach one. It’s important to share knowledge and resources with those who are less fortunate because a community is only as strong as its weakest link. Communities such as the one I was raised in are underrepresented in STEM, the legal field, and a number of other industries. So, connecting people to people and programs helps to strengthen our communities.
PFT: Something tells me you’re right at home with the HUNT Auctioneers family.
RS: We benefit auctioneers have the ability to help people and organizations raise money to fund projects that can grow businesses, provide scholarships, and fund projects, among other things.
PFT: Finally, perhaps the most important question of this interview, do you prefer a regular tie or a bow tie?
RS: [Laughs] I look better in a bow tie.