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Laurie Lanakila Smith-Jackson is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Hunters Lane High School and continued her education at Tennessee State University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.  Ever thirsty for knowledge, Laurie did her post-graduate work at the University of Tennessee and earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Her passion for Social Work also led her to obtain her licensure as a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker).


No stranger to work, Laurie has worked multiple jobs simultaneously since her youth. Her independent spirit, strong perseverance, quiet dignity and faith in God has guided and sustained her throughout the years. Her life experiences have given her a unique perspective and sensitivity to children and youth in general and young girls in particular. She truly believes that, “With God, all things are possible, and that God will give you beauty for your ashes.”

Laurie has several years' experience working with groups, children, adolescents, adults, and families who struggle with a wide variety of challenges such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, trauma/post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional deregulation, eating disorders/eating struggles/body image, and anger management.


As a therapist and Certified Brain Spotting Clinician, Laurie sees social work as a “High and Noble Calling” that can literally change the destiny of an individual for eternity. She has a special passion for children and youth. Laurie has worked for the Nashville Rehab Center in Nashville, the Department Of Children Services in Nashville where she was an investigator for child protective services for the severe abuse unit and the Sumner County Health Department in Gallatin where she was a supervisor of the HUGGS program.


Her love for children who are at risk led her to her to work as a Therapist/Case-Manager of School-Based Services for Centerstone where she counseled, engaged and encouraged students at Rosebank Elementary School. As a result of her entrepreneurial zeal and desire to serve others with compassion and Christ-centeredness, Laurie founded and serves as CEO of New Beginnings Counseling Services, a therapy service that assists persons in starting their journey toward a new beginning.


In recognition of her outstanding scholastic achievement and excellence, Laurie was granted membership into the Golden Key International Honor Society. Laurie has also been inducted into the Iota Chapter of Alpha Mu Delta Mu National Social Work Honor Society and received a special recognition from the Honorable Thelma Harper, Tennessee Senator from the 19th District. Laurie has also been a board member of CASA in Davidson County and the Foster Care Review Board in Gallatin, and she volunteers her time in various community causes. 


Laurie is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers, and she has served as a Mental Health Advisor for the Sumner County Board of Education Pre-Court Diversion Board and the Board for Decisions, Choices and Options (DCO).


Laurie is married to Derrick Jackson, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Gallatin, and she is the proud mother of Joshua Alexander Jackson.  


Although her career is very rewarding, Laurie cherishes spending quality time with her husband and son as well as other family members and friends. Laurie sees her relationship with God and her relationship with her family as her most prized possessions. She loves traveling, reading, shopping, scrapbooking, going to movies, and hanging out with her family. Laurie’s goal in life is to be “an advocate for children, a voice for the voiceless and an encourager for those who have lost hope.”

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