Meet the Founders: Clayton Smith


Clayton Smith

Co-Founder, Head of Community

Clayton was born on the west side of Michigan then moved to Swartz Creek, a suburb of Flint. After graduating high school, Clayton moved to Flint and worked at a factory in Webberville, driving an hour each way everyday. When the factory relocated to Mexico, Clayton was left with limited prospects in Flint. With the future looking dreary, Clayton made a trip down to Ann Arbor to visit an old friend, Kyle (another founder of GoWork). This trip permanently reshaped Clayton’s purpose in life and gave him a new perspective of what life could be like outside of the factory life in Flint.

Ann Arbor was quite different from Flint, but it had a vitality that Clayton couldn’t ignore - his eyes were open anew and he moved down to Ann Arbor as soon as he could. Clayton found a new home in Washtenaw County by immersing himself in the local agricultural community. He found a job at Old House Gardens and realized that he wanted to be deeper in nature and natural living. With the connections he made, Clayton was able to become a part of Tantre Farm in Chelsea - one of the most enlightening experiences he has ever had.

After living on the farm for a year, and certainly milking his fair share of cows at 6am in the morning, Clayton decided to venture to the west coast of America. From Spokane, WA to San Bernardino, CA Clayton spent 5 months exploring organic orchards, intentional communities and visiting friends and family along the Pacific Ocean. After months of self-actualization, Clayton hitchhiked all the way back from San Bernardino to Ann Arbor to make it just in time for his hair appointment to donate the ponytail he had been growing during his travels. Despite having an epic adventure, Clayton was happy to back to the place he knows as home - Michigan, particularly Washtenaw County.

He settled in at the Washtenaw Food Hub, working as Production Manager at a local fermented foods company, The Brinery. Clayton played an integral role in the growth of The Brinery as it scaled from 3 to 12 employees and began to sell to all Whole Foods in the Midwest. Seeing how finance impacted business, and its employees and owners, Clayton realized that as a financial planner he could positively impact the people and businesses he knew and loved.

Clayton moved to downtown Ypsilanti with his then girlfriend, now wife and started directing his efforts towards financial planning. He has since worked for multiple local Financial Planning companies and currently sits on the Financial Planning Association of Michigan Board of Directors. It was during this time that Clayton fell in love with Ypsilanti - the culture, the food, the community - all of it so unique.

Having lived in Ypsilanti, Clayton jumped at the opportunity to partner with his old roommates on GoWork. Every day the vibrancy of the Ypsilanti downtown community shines and Clayton realized GoWork is a perfect fit to serve the needs of the hard working community. Clayton couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.

When he’s not at GoWork or improving himself as a financial planner, Clayton enjoys exploring Michigan with his wife and going on walks with his Irish Wolfhound, David.