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From Homeless to the C-Suite: CEO Traces Improbable Journey in The Most Unlikely Leader


West Palm Beach, FL, Oct. 10, 2022 — At age 15, Roger Smith dropped out of school, left home and became addicted to drugs. By all accounts, he should have hit rock bottom multiple times before that fateful day, nearly 20 years later, when he found himself on his hands and knees, rummaging for remnants of crack cocaine in the carpet. It’s an image of himself he says he never wants to recreate.

“The picture of who I was at the very end — that picture was so strong in my mind that I just never wanted to go back there again,” Smith said during a recent interview.  

The Most Unlikely Leader: An Unbelievable Journey From GED to CEO is Smith’s empowering story of how he got clean, got his act together and rose through the ranks of American Income Life Insurance, where he eventually became CEO. But Smith didn’t stop there. He also went on to serve as CEO of National Income Life Insurance and Liberty National Life Insurance companies.  

A fast-paced blend of memoir, business manifesto and leadership manual, The Most Unlikely Leader is an unflinching look at a side of Smith’s life that few people knew about — until now. He takes readers inside his philosophy, his decisions (both good and bad) and the sheer grit he harnessed to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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Smith speaks candidly about his struggles with addiction, divorce, lack of formal education and homelessness in an effort to show readers that problems can be solved, bad habits can be broken, and challenges can be overcome with the right mindset and work ethic.

“I want to share my story to tell you that your life and your career and who you are as a person are all within your hands,” he wrote in the book’s introduction. “You can fall all the way down to a dark place where you can’t see your way out … and then through sheer grit and gumption and tenacity … you can claw your way out. Because that’s what I did.”

About the Author

Roger Smith is an American author and former CEO of American Income Life Insurance, National Income Life Insurance and Liberty National Life Insurance companies. His journey is one that embodies the fact that no matter how low a person is in life, almost anything is possible with determination and the right mindset. He was the recipient of the Yitzhak Rabin Legacy Award, Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, Healthcare For All Champion Award, Sol Stein Award and numerous others. He is the father of five adult children (Nicole, Conrad, Emily, Adam and Amiah), proud grandfather of Maggie Mae, and currently resides in Florida with his wife, Demi, and his two dogs, Penelope and Chrome.


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