David C. Smith

  • What does your organization do?

    United Way for Greater Austin leads and unites the community: individuals, nonprofits, business and government to address barriers to economic opportunities. We are grateful to work everyday with so many excellent organizations and individuals, including our programming: Success by Six, Youth Engagement in Service, 2-Gen work with families, and the Navigation/211 Center.
  • How did you become interested in this work?

    My passion is bringing people together to address the larger issue of poverty, and the thousands of issues and challenges that people living in poverty experience every day.
  • What drives your passion?

    The fundamental belief that we are all interconnected. Your struggle is my struggle, and mine is yours. I believe that when we join together, there is no challenge we can’t meet. So I want to do all I can every day to unite with good people and causes, and make real change in our neighbors’ lives.
  • Did you have a mentor or a role model?

    So many! I’m learning from everyone I meet. The longer I do this, the more I realize how much I have to learn, and I’m grateful to have some of the best teachers/mentors in Austin.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?

    My biggest challenge is learning the many ins and outs of United Way for Greater Austin, in the areas where we need to make some changes, and in the areas where we are making a lasting difference. It’s an established, large organization, with a lot of moving parts. My challenge is to make sure all those moving parts are working together in the best way possible.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?

    Be true to yourself.
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?

    1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think you’re the only one who doesn’t know.
    2. Speak your truth, and be open to other opinions and ideas.
    3. Let go of turf or getting credit. Changed lives will be the best praise you’ll ever get.