Laura Smith joined the NASAA staff in 2002. As chief advancement officer, she oversees all fundraising undertaken on NASAA’s behalf. She works closely with the board of directors, the Development Committee and staff to identify opportunities for public agencies, individuals, foundations and companies to support NASAA’s mission. In addition to her fundraising responsibilities, Smith staffs the Nominating Committee, which identifies candidates for NASAA board and committee service, and the NASAA Leadership Awards Task Force. She also advises NASAA members and partners on development and governance issues, and represents NASAA and state arts agencies in key philanthropic forums and networks. She is a certified meditation teacher and has been introducing mindfulness as a leadership skill since 2015.
Before joining NASAA, Smith served with the National Mentoring Partnership, the American Architectural Foundation and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis. She has served as a board member or advisor to various nonprofits, including Women in Film and Video, Skewed Visions (a Minneapolis-based theatre company), and the National Governors Association. She currently mentors new fundraisers through the AFP-DC Mentoring Program, and serves on the board of Minds, Inc., which teaches mindfulness and social emotional learning practices to D.C.-area teachers, students and parents. An avid knitter and birdwatcher, Smith’s arts background includes degrees in English (B.A.) and liberal studies (M.A.), training in piano and creative writing, and an abiding love of craft.