Maya loves sushi, Starbucks, writing thank you cards and has an impressive collection of mini-erasers. More than that, she loves people and in particular, her people - her husband Dave and their two children, Logan and Hunter.
Formally speaking.. Maya Smith has over a decade of experience in the youth empowerment, civic engagement, and community development fields. Maya proudly serves as the first Executive Director of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation which works to support the wellness of young people and empower them to build a kinder, braver world.
During her tenure, Born This Way Foundation has engaged a diverse array of partners across sectors as well as young people themselves to conduct innovative research, build authentic youth-focused programming, and lead effective campaigns that foster kindness and advance the conversation around mental health.
Previously, Maya served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Mobilize.org, an innovative Millennial organization whose mission is to empower and invest in Millennials to create and implement solutions to social problems. She began her career as East Coast Coordinator for Rock The Vote, an organization dedicated to building the political power of young people.
For her leadership, Maya has been awarded a Youth Action Net Fellowship, the Independent Sector NGEN American Express Fellowship, Utne Reader’s 50 Visionaries Changing Your World Award, WIN’s Young Women of Achievement Award, and Gelman, Rosenberg + Freedman EXCEL Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Management. Maya was also awarded the competitive Prime Movers Fellowship of the Hunt Alternatives Fund, a multi-year fellowship program for emerging and established social movement leaders working at the national level.
Maya, very proud of her Jersey roots, grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Romanian immigrants and she currently resides outside of San Francisco with her husband, their two children and their black lab, Hudson.
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“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS