11-14-2016 · Young Professional Leaders

denise-smithDenise Smith
Service Centre Portfolio Lead, HR Systems

YPL: Why did you decide to get involved in United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group?
I often tell my teenage son, “When I volunteer, I make a difference. When you volunteer, you make a difference. Every person counts!” My son and daughter are the reason why I donate my time and treasure as a YPL advisory board event chair. This quote by novelist James Baldwin sums it up best: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

YPL: What’s your biggest concern within the community?
Lack of empathy for those less fortunate than yourself.

YPL: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment thus far? Why are you passionate about your professional work?
Denise: Serving as the Event Chair on the YPL Advisory Board and Serving as the incoming 2017 Program Director for Women In Technology Forums and Socials. I am known for utilizing my passions as a catalyst in making connections for people within our community to help them grow in their careers.

YPL: What is something about you that might surprise people?
Denise: I lived in Gurgaon, India.

YPL: Why do you choose to give to United Way?
Denise: I give to United Way because the United Way acts as a trusted conduit to get money to the community organizations that need it most. Furthermore, the organizations are humanitarian. They are keen in making a long term difference for individuals in our community as opposed to “dropping in” aid to solve an immediate need.

YPL: What would you tell someone who is considering joining YPL?
Denise: If you believe that volunteering encourages civic responsibility and that Community service and volunteerism are an investment in our community and the people who live in it – join YPL. The bonus is the opportunity to meet and network with like-minded individuals.

YPL: What is your favorite YPL event or experience and why?
Denise: Agency visits. I always leave with a renewed spirit and enthusiasm to continue to do more to help their mission thrive.

YPL: What are your hobbies/interests?
Denise: Cycling, Kickboxing, Snowboarding, Hiking, Camping, Cooking, Philanthropic Events, Reading (on-line), The Beach

YPL: Who in the world (past or living) do you most admire and why?
Denise: My parents. As I grew wiser, I appreciated the fact that they have a strong marriage. They are a unit that exudes the meaning of parenthood – they created a fun, stable, nurturing home environment, and always acted as a positive role model for my brother, sister, and I.

YPL: What is your favorite quote?
Denise: “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.” Or “Worry is a misuse of your imagination.”


Special thanks to our Marketing Committee Chair, Jennifer Grove, for conducting this interview.