Among the newly called mission presidents for 2023 is President Davis M. Smith and his wife Asialene, who have been called to preside over the Brazil Recife North Mission. Smith is the founder and former CEO of Cotopaxi, an international outdoor apparel company based in Utah.
In a heartfelt post on LinkedIn, Smith shared the news along with his personal testimony of the life-changing impact of missionary work and photos of his own missionary service as a young man in Bolivia.
► You may also like: ‘Gear for Good’: How Cotopaxi’s founder got the idea for his one-of-a-kind business
“While this move may not make sense financially or professionally, it is perfectly aligned with our family’s values,” Smith wrote. “I was a young missionary myself from 1997-1999 in Bolivia, and the Parkers were my mission leaders. They have played a meaningful role in my life the last 25 years, and I look forward to shaping the lives of these young missionaries and having them shape ours.”
“I recognize that many of you are not religious or members of my faith. The one thing I know, however, is that we all share a desire to make the world a better place. To each of you, thank you for being supportive as I follow this path that means so much to me.”
You can read Smith’s entire statement on his LinkedIn here.
Along with his service as a young missionary in the late 90s, Smith also grew up in Brazil where he first the inequalities of poverty and opportunity and knew he wanted to do something to change that. His company Cotopaxi has certainly achieved that. With its motto “Gear for Good,” its good corporate citizenship has helped roughly 3.5 million individuals living in extreme poverty, according to Deseret News. Today the company is a Certified B Corp, meaning it must achieve and maintain verified levels of employee benefits, charitable giving, equitable supply chain practices, and ethical resource uses.
But that mission and success didn’t happen right away. It took Smith some time to find exactly what he was meant to do and how best he could help people, but he’s grateful for the road he’s been led down.
In 2021, Smith told All In podcast host Morgan Jones, “It was really an amazing experience because it gave me hope that God knew me, that He understood what my desires were—and while I was feeling discouraged, and I felt like ‘Man, I’ve spent 10 years building something that’s just not helping me get where I want to go.’ I look back and I was recognizing that the Lord gave me these experiences that I needed to have to be able to go build Cotopaxi. I couldn’t have built that when I was 24. I needed more experience, I needed to go have some success and have some failures along the way.”
You can listen to more Davis and his wife Asialene Smith’s experiences on the All In podcast in the player below.