Generating ideas, connections, and action

Member Spotlight on Laura Smith


It is with our deepest appreciation for her always strong support and commitment to the Leadership Learning Community that we announce Laura Smith, Associate Director of Programs and Services at the Tides Center as this month’s Member Spotlight. Nine years ago, just shortly after LLC became a project of Tides, we were incredibly fortunate to have Laura designated as our Program Manager. She nurtured our relationship with Tides and made sure that our work was supported and that any questions or issues that came up were addressed immediately. And although, she is no longer our Program Manager – she continues to be an extremely active, engaged, contributing and invaluable member of our community.


As I sat down to write this piece about a great friend and colleague, and began to go over all her contributions, I was struck by how considerable Laura’s contributions to LLC were (and are). Put out the call, and if she is able, she’s there! Laura has not only participated in at least four national meetings (Creating Space), but has been a member of the session selection committee twice and served as a Design Team member at our 2009 Creating Space. She has often attended our LLC Bay Area Circle meetings.  Laura has tapped into the Leadership and Race site, and the Leadership and Networks site, downloaded resources and shared them with her colleagues at Tides. Laura also contributed as an advisory committee member for the Leadership for a New Era initiative as it was taking shape.

We have been greatly enriched by Laura’s contributions – always bringing an inquisitive lens and generously sharing her insights at every convening. In terms of her perspective Laura writes:

Whether it’s in my work life at Tides or my work in theatre, nothing strikes me as a better metaphor for what LLC has added to my toolbox than the name of its gathering: Creating Space. It’s a lesson that I have had to learn several times, and will probably have to learn again in the future: there is no way to innovate, be thoughtful and capture learning, make meaningful change, without creating the space and being willing to spend time with the process and intentionality. Any time spent with LLC creates that space, and I’m grateful to be a member of the community that makes that possible.

We celebrate Laura who gives definition to what it means to be in community.