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Name: Tara Smith
Position: Executive Director
Organization: Seattle Works
How long have you been at Seattle Works?
Was there anything that initially drew you to Seattle Works?
When I saw the job, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. I was at a point where I knew I was ready for the next step but it wasn’t clear what that was. When I saw the job, I knew this was it. The thing I care about more than any specific cause is how people can get involved with volunteering.
Have you always been in the nonprofit sector or have you worked in for-profits before?
What was the reasoning or motivation behind your decision to get into nonprofits?
I wanted to help people. I figured that you spend a lot of your adult life at work, so if I was going to spend most of my time working, I wanted to do something meaningful. What I learned from college and graduate school was that you can also find meaningful work in any sector, but for me a nonprofit was the way to go.
What kind of work do you do for Seattle Works? How would you describe your role?
I’m responsible for the overall management and health of the organization—Financial status, staff, long-term strategy, and making sure our team has what they need to deliver day-to-day to make the long-term strategy possible.
How do you see your role, or the role of Seattle Works, in relation to the larger concerns of social justice?
I think that if you care about social justice, community engagement is about everyone participating and helping each other. It’s not about people who have things helping the less fortunate, but everyone helping each other. At Seattle Works what we do to bring people in to help communities, the base of people we attract, are not the typical volunteer, board member or voter. We show them that this is your community and you have the power to shape it and that your voice matters. Everyone has something to contribute and has a way and role to shape the community. This is tied to what social justice is about
What are you goals for the future? For yourself and Seattle Works
For Seattle Works – financial stability, serve more people, and develop deeper partnerships with organizations we serve.
I want to see us grow here and build commitment and leadership in people and not just one-time volunteer incidents.