Davis Smith, a BYU grad and founder of the outdoor gear company Cotopaxi, will be stepping down from his role as CEO to serve as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning in July.
Smith and his wife, Asialene, will be serving as mission president and companion in the Brazil Recife North mission.
Smith spent most of his childhood in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Ecuador, where he developed a love for Latin America. His wife also learned to love the region after spending several summers in Mexico and working internships in Peru and Grand Cayman. After they were married, they lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil for several years before returning to the United States. Soon after, in 2014, Davis Smith started Cotopaxi.
Named after a stratovolcano in Ecuador, and the namesake of Davis Smith’s childhood school, Cotopaxi’s mission is to create ethically and sustainably produced products. Now preparing to return to South America, he is excited to continue supporting the communities of this region in a different capacity.
“Cotopaxi was built on purpose and mission, and my job as CEO and founder of the business has been to evangelize that mission and purpose,” Davis Smith said. “Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest cause, and we get to be a part of it.”
Davis and Asialene said they are hoping to create a culture of high expectations and love among their missionaries. “We expect greatness out of these missionaries,” said Davis Smith. “I think you get the best out of people when you care deeply about them.”
Asialene Smith emphasized their desire to communicate their love to the missionaries in their stewardship and hopes they can cultivate an attitude of love, personal conversion and diligence within their mission.
Cotopaxi co-founder and COO Stephan Jacob has worked alongside Davis Smith as they have built Cotopaxi from the ground up for the past nine years. While Jacob said he will dearly miss his business partner and friend, he is grateful for how Smith has prepared Cotopaxi for this change.
“Davis is one of the most authentic, truly servant leaders I know,” Jacob said. “During all these years, we have not had a single argument.” Davis Smith’s decision to embrace his new church calling is a testament to his “genuine selflessness, faith and humility, according to Jacob.
Davis Smith said he is an advocate of people using the knowledge and talents they have been given to contribute to the world in whatever capacity they can. As missionaries eventually complete their time in Recife, Brazil, he hopes they will leave with a commitment to uplift and serve their respective communities.
“I hope these missionaries can find ways to use whatever talents they have to lift humanity, lift people and give back to the world. For us this isn’t just a three-year assignment, this is a lifelong assignment,” Davis Smith said.
Davis Smith will continue to work for Cotopaxi as Chairman of the Board while serving in Brazil.