Kristene (K.N.) Smith, Founder & CEO
Kristene (K.N.) Smith is an award-winning author, publisher, and screenwriter most noted for her current fiction work–The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses–an urban fantasy novel called “Brilliantly crafted and written!” and “A wonderful and deeply written emotional adventure!” by reviewers. She is a passionate advocate of youth development, mental-wellness, family literacy, and arts and enrichment programs throughout the world. Her creative, lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of action-adventure and urban fantasy in exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives. In August 2016, her novel was awarded “Best of” in the category “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards at the 10th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair, which boasts an audience of over 5,000.
In addition, she has over twenty years’ experience in writing, communications, brand strategy, and creative design as an award-winning communications consultant. She is a sought-after writer, creative director, and strategist behind successful campaigns in mental health, independent living, education, development, and entertainment for public and private institutions. A former freelance writer for Essence Magazine, she is the driving force behind her campaigns’ unique marketing thrusts, mastery of communications, creative direction, and diversity strategies. She is recognized for her understanding of general and multi-ethnic audiences.
Kristene holds a degree in Family and Consumer Science and connects with audiences through magazine, newspaper, television, and new media appearances (including the Fox, ABC, and UPN networks, Sacramento Magazine, and Redbook Magazine, among others) giving advice on design, style, and business communications. She has a global audience and readership from California to New York City and London to Bangkok, Thailand.
Her non-profit venture, Mental Health California™, is her signature community project, one that is personal considering she is a family member with lived experience. In 2018, she joined the Behavioral Health Subcommittee of the California Future Health Workforce Commission. She is nationally-certified to teach Mental Health First Aid™. Kristene is the creator and director of the Mental Health for Boys and Men of Color Initiative, the annual California Champions of Mental Health awards gala, Mental Health California Magazine, and impactful behavioral health programs for diverse, underserved communities. She is also a gardening enthusiast who makes all kinds of homemade ice cream and other treats. She lives with her family in California.