May 17, 2022

"To me, having 'No Ceilings' means not letting expectations be your limitations, whether those are coming from others or yourself. Having 'No Ceilings' means that you could always level-up if you choose to... It means allowing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and go places that you haven't been before." - Savannah Smith.

Welcome to another edition of #SummerSearcherMade -- a blog series to lift up our Summer Search students and alumni who are business-owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and creatives.

Summer Search Alumni Network

Savannah Smith: Entrepreneur, Change-Maker, & Maritime Mentor

Savannah Smith

Follow Savannah's company on Instagram: @sea.potential.

If you don't know Summer Search Seattle alumna Savannah Smith or her incredible work, you need to!

Earlier this year, Summer Search prepared to launch NO CEILINGS, our call to action to raise $75 million in support of our participants and alumni charting their own destiny and fulfilling their limitless potential and highlighting the visions and achievements of Summer Searchers.

For the launch video, Summer Searchers declared what No Ceilings means to them and how they embody those concepts in their lives.

Savannah's mentor, Therese Williams, gave a glowing recommendation.

"Savannah is the Co-Founder and Director of Youth Engagement at Sea Potential LLC, which has a mission of increasing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) representation in maritime. I believe Savannah is breaking ceilings by cultivating BIPOC-led spaces that connect to environmental education."

We connected with Savannah, and as they say on social media, she understood the assignment. Check her out:

Creating the Space, Breaking the Ceiling

As she strolls along the Seattle shoreline, Savannah shares, "I'm embodying No Ceilings because this past year I started a company with my good friend. As Black women in Marine science, we both faced similar barriers and decided that we could do something to create space for ourselves and for others in the field."

Savannah always had an interest in water and the environment -- from growing up with pet hermit crabs and peacocks all the way to earning her BS in Marine Biology from Western Washington University. In 2019, she met her Sea Potential co-founder, Ebony Welborn, while working at EarthCorps, an environmental restoration non-profit.

Along their journeys, Savannah and Ebony recognized the lack of representation of BIPOC in environmental spaces. Then the events of 2020 "...hyper illuminated the racially-fueled systemic injustices that exist within the US," (as Savannah writes on the Sea Potential website). Savannah realized her purpose lies in intersecting her passion for marine environments, with her commitment to creating spaces where BIPOC are seen, heard, and valued.

Ebony and Savannah knew there was no time to wait to create the reality they wanted to see. Within two months, they announced their plan, began extensively networking, acquired their business license, secured fiscal sponsorship, and received their first grant! Lately, they've been busy running engaging workshops for young people and showing off their TikTok skills!

"Overall, starting a company was a little bit scary, but I'm so glad that we did it and removed the ceiling to the box that we were confined in," Savannah reflects.

Sea Potential Team

Sea Potential co-founders: Savannah Smith and Ebony Welborn.

Representation Over Assimilation

Savannah describes the mission of Sea Potential as "creating a full cycle of BIPOC representation in maritime... Full cycle is essentially pointing out that we are supporting both BIPOC introduction/entry into maritime careers via youth programming, and BIPOC retention/longevity within the industry itself."

Savannah elaborates on those two main focuses of her company:

Youth engagement -- "helping youth foster heart-based connections to marine and aquatic environments. That looks like acknowledging individual and generational trauma youth could be carrying with them, incorporating tools for healing, and just creating more opportunities for positive experiences and exposure to the field."



Corporate advancement -- "helping maritime industries improve their workplace culture and promote representation over assimilation."

Savannah is creating safe spaces for BIPOC to be their authentic selves, "living your truth and encouraging others to do the same." She and Ebony are truly embodying the spirit of No Ceilings, breaking barriers and providing the next generation with tools and opportunities to do the same.

Savannah sums it up:



"To me, having No Ceilings means not letting expectations be your limitations, whether those are coming from others or yourself. Having No Ceilings means that you could always level-up if you choose to... It means allowing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and go places that you haven't been before."

Sea Potential Team

Sea Potential co-founders: Savannah Smith and Ebony Welborn.


Please consider making a gift today to help us reach our $75 million milestone and provide more young people like Savannah with the tools to break through.


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