Aces Interview: Seattle Works' Tara Smith Gets SWANKy

Fall brings a lot of fun reasons to dress up, and here in Seattle we have no shortage of fundraiser galas. One of my favorites is Seattle Works' SWANK, coming up on Saturday, October 12th. Seattle Works has worked tirelessly to foster a lifetime commitment to community involvement in Seattle's young adults through innovative volunteer activities and educational opportunities. I first learned about Seattle Works back in my chamber of commerce events director days, and these days the organization is led by Tara Smith. Tara and her board members have created a whole palette of different ways you can give back to your community - from board training, one-off or ongoing group and individual volunteer opportunities, and special community events. SWANK is the one time Seattle Works volunteers and fans can get fancy and raise money to keep these programs in business.

I asked Tara to share a little more about herself, life at the helm of Seattle Works and about SWANK. Read on & see details on SWANK below:

Seattle Works-Tara Smith
Seattle Works-Tara Smith

What's on your playlist right now?

This is a little embarrassing*, but I will confess to having spent the past few weeks totally rocking out to the new 103.7 radio station that replaced The Mountain. That crazy lady in her car at the stoplight belting out Leona Lewis? That might be me. *Don't be embarrassed. That new radio station is AWESOME.

Describe your style.

My everyday style is casual and approachable, but put together. I go for simple, classic looks and then be sure I’m incorporating in color or print to keep things interesting.

My style at Swank is very intentional. Being up on that stage and asking people to support us, I need to visually embody the Seattle Works brand: fresh, contemporary and vibrant. At the same time, asking people to provide their financial support is a serious business. I love the people who look fun and sexy at Swank! But that can’t be me. My look is about being professional and credible, without going a traditionally conservative route.

Seattle Works SWANK
Seattle Works SWANK

Who inspires you?

The people who volunteer with Seattle Works. I get the privilege of being in an environment where I’m inspired every single day. From board members who strategize on how to take our game to the next level to Project Coordinators and Team Captains out there making it easy for people to jump in and make a difference in our community, I see caring, smarts and passion in action on a continuous basis.

Seattle Works
Seattle Works

What are you reading?

I’m digging into a series of articles on board governance and adaptive leadership. They’re relevant to the leadership training courses Seattle Works offers, and they also are helping me think about how to be a better partner to our board of directors in my professional role and how I can be a better board member in my personal life as a volunteer.

Seattle Works-Tara Smith
Seattle Works-Tara Smith

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

Next year is Seattle Works 25th Anniversary! I’m excited for the opportunity this milestone brings to gather and share stories, and to reconnect with our volunteers and supporters from the past quarter century.

Seattle Works Swank 2013
Seattle Works Swank 2013

Thank you Tara! Find out more about Tara at SeattleWorks.org. Details and tickets for SWANK 2013 here.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.