Parc Smith

Parc Headshot
  • What does your organization do?

    The mission of American YouthWorks is to provide young people with opportunities to build careers, strengthen communities, and improve the environment through education, on-the-job training, and service to others.
  • How did you become interested in this work?

    It combined my passion for social justice and creating opportunities for young people with my love for the outdoors and restoring natural landscapes.
  • What drives your passion?

    What fuels my passion? Seeing the personal and community transformation that occurs when young people are asked to do something significant for others and are given the skills and opportunity to see that through.
  • Did you have a mentor or a role model?

    I’m fortunate to have had many great mentors and role models. Among them, the most influential have been my father--Dr. G. Pritchy Smith, a warrior for social justice and equity, a passionate teacher, and an extremely hard worker who stood by his convictions and never swayed from his cause—and my grandfather, he had an ethic of always helping others and always doing the right thing to make the world better in small ways throughout each day.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?

    Finding the balance between our roots as a community-based organization and our growing presence on the national scale.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?

    You don’t have to be an expert at everything if you’re good at surrounding yourself with a variety people who are experts in their areas.
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?

    1. Join One Voice Central Texas! Build a network of amazing leaders for support and guidance; it’s a surprisingly lonely role. All complaints come to you, and there are no peers to commiserate with in your organization anymore once you take on an executive role. Get strong, smart leaders who support your vision and efforts.
    2. Get involved in the associations that effect your line of work, to stay at the front edge of the trends. If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.
    3. Slow down! This was one of the harsh lessons in my first year--I got so many speeding tickets that first year trying to get to all the meetings, get everything done. I drove too fast that first year.