In celebration of Women’s History Month, I had the privilege of interviewing Veronica Smith. Veronica is the founder and clinical director of Autism and Behavioral Consulting Services, LLC. Her journey began far from there, however.
After graduating from their small-town Texas high school, Veronica and her husband got married. He joined the military and was deployed as an Air Force firefighter to Italy, where they spent the first few years of their marriage. During this time, Veronica confronted the challenging reality of finding a job as a young mother with no college degree.
“The truth is, I had wanted to serve in the military myself. Life happens; I got pregnant and chose to care for my daughter and contribute to the military community in my own way, but I—personally—always wanted my two daughters to see me pursue a career for myself, too.”
A Homecoming and a Revelation
Veronica worked at her daughter’s day care in Las Vegas, where they’d been stationed after their time in Italy. She enjoyed the balance of a steady job that allowed her to remain physically close to her child. During this time, she realized the importance of early child development. She saw places she could step in to serve.
Veronica pursued various scholarships and ultimately secured her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Then, she got her master’s in applied behavior analysis, making her a board certified and licensed behavior analyst. After years of serving military families at her local child development center, she was ready to evolve. Veronica took a position with Early Intervention Services and was introduced to the world of autism.
“Then I knew immediately that I wanted to serve autistic children and their families, and I needed to help progress this community. Thanks to my Hispanic heritage, being bilingual also allowed me to serve those confronting the challenges of having autistic children in America while also not being English-speaking.”
Providing Healing, Promoting Hope
Working with older children in the public school district led Veronica to her next move. She wanted to open her own practice to provide more resources to these children and families. By 2013, Veronica founded Autism and Behavioral Consulting Services, LLC, devoting her career to applied behavioral analysis of children on the autism spectrum.
Autism and Behavioral Consulting Services, LLC employs certified experts in areas such as occupational therapy or behavioral analysis. Her team members have experience with autism spectrum disorders and behaviors. Connecting them with this deserving population of children serves and changes their lives.
In fact, even her husband and one of her daughters now work for the company, fulfilling another dream of Veronica’s. Her business allowed her husband to retire early from the military. Her daughter’s participation resolved Veronica’s childhood wish to set a different kind of example as a mother, gifting her daughter with hope and possibility.
A Family in Service
“When I was growing up as a Hispanic young woman, I didn’t see a lot of women that looked like me pictured in the media as successful career women or superheroes. While I was surrounded by wonderful women and stay-at-home mothers in my community, I was also drawn to the women in the military and those I saw trying to help lead our country. I wanted my two daughters to know it’s never too late—as a woman or a mother, no matter when you start, you can make anything doable for yourselves.”
Veronica never gave up hope on her dream and has devoted her life to serving the underserved. It was inspirational to speak with her about her career growth as a woman and mother.
On behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union, we thank Veronica for her contributions to the military. We thank Autism and Behavioral Consulting Services, LLC for the hope they provide for the autistic community. We are honored to celebrate you, Veronica Smith. We thank you for your membership.
Author Bio: Madison Rafferty has been with Navy Federal since 2019 and serves as a Corporate Communications Strategist for the Marketing and Communications department. Madison leverages communication strategies and integrated marketing tactics to reach and engage Navy Federal members and stakeholders. She lives in Richmond, Virginia and enjoys spending her free time reading, exercising and enjoying the company of her loved ones.