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So where does Smith fit in?

This will be a year of big changes for Jimmy Neil Smith.
As of Jan. 1, Smith is no longer the president of the International Storytelling Center.
For the founder of the storytelling movement in Jonesborough, this is the first time in 40 years he will not be the man in charge.
But Smith, who has been the face of storytelling in Tennessee’s oldest town since 1972, will not be leaving the ISC.
Instead, Smith will remain with the organization on a full-time basis, but in a different role and with a new title — Founder and President Emeritus.
The change in Smith’s status is part of the ISC’s strategic plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The organization’s attorney, Mark S. Dessauer, filed the plan with federal bankruptcy court on Dec. 29, 2011, nearly one year to the date of the original bankruptcy filing.
As outlined in the plan, Smith will serve as a consultant to the ISC Board of Governors, but will not be a member of the board.
He will also be responsible for planning, development, marketing, and delivery of new programs, products and services directed toward the advancement of the ISC.
With no involvement in the financial aspects of the organization, Smith is looking forward to the change.
“I’m anxious to get the new year started working with a new generation of leadership,” Smith said. “Instead of having to focus on all the general operations of the ISC, I can devote my time and skills to expanding ISC’s role. “I can sleep at night,” he added.
Smith said he is hopeful the changes the ISC is making “will help us regain the community’s confidence.”
“We’ve taken a hit here and we want very much to rebuild our position here,” Smith said.
At the age of “almost 65,” Smith has spoken of his future retirement and the ensuing plans for leadership succession in past interviews with the Herald & Tribune.
Now, he says, he is excited to help tell the next chapter of the ISC’s story.
“Rather than staying here so long that I can’t get up the steps or I’m dead, I’ll get to see the building of the future,” Smith said. “After 40 years I’m moving into a role that suits me to a tee.”