There is something about feeling like you can do anything. Like the world is open to endless possibility. And you can be a player.

This is how I feel at BIF. It’s magic.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain exactly why I go to BIF – or how I fit in. I’m not a hard-core business professional. I don’t have a fancy title. I stopped at a bachelor’s. I’ve never invented anything. I’m not always up on the latest and greatest.

I’m just little me.

What I’ve discovered at BIF is little me is enough. BIF isn’t about who’s who – it’s about breaking down silos, empowering each other, and coming together to learn, share, and uncover TOGETHER how maybe, just maybe, we can make the world better.

When I’m at BIF something happens. I start to think of ways I can complement my writing visually. I decide to buy a sketchbook. I take notes trying to somehow keep the stories alive. I think about my kids. A lot. And how what I’m learning can influence them. I feel a wave of gratitude for BIF, the storytellers, and the amazing people I’m meeting.

I feel ALIVE.

The energy is contagious, the content compelling, the stories life changing, and the people out of this world.

I am humbled.

I am powerful.

Coming together with inspiring people at BIF is a true blessing. I love my work. I love people. And, I love a platform where the two are seamless.

THANK YOU for allowing me the opportunity to attend and cover BIF8.

There are many ways to change the world. BIF does it on a grand scale. They also do it one person – one little me – at a time.

This little me is eternally grateful.



Expressing thanks to businesses that LIVE UNITED!

Posted by A. Smith on May-24-2012

Dear corporate world,

I have never worked for you directly. I have respected you from afar, but I have never really known you – at least not beyond what I have read in the headlines, garnered from ads, or surmised by using your goods or services. Only recently did I get a glimpse of your insides, your heart. I was blown away.

I liked what I saw. As a matter of fact, I loved it.

I will never see you the same.

Last week, I participated in United Way of Greater Portland’s Day of Caring. I teamed up with this powerful nonprofit to mine stories – to uncover nuggets and determine at a later date how we might integrate them into the organization’s larger storytelling movement.

As anticipated, I met with wonderful volunteers, witnessed the magic of teamwork, and discovered nonprofits doing amazing work. What blindsided me, however, was the profound and positive impact YOU had on me.

Yes, I knew over the years your company has done a lot of good. I’ve read about the countless hours and dollars you invest in the community. I’ve seen the press releases and annual reports. But, experiencing the difference you make firsthand was something numbers can’t communicate.

I talked with your workers, watched them toil, and saw the smiles on their faces. I heard how grateful they are to you for not only allowing them but also encouraging them to volunteer. I learned how some of them return to the same place year and year again because they’ve fallen in love with an organization and how others try something new every year because they like giving back in different ways. I realized how much the Day of Caring opens their eyes to the community in which they live and work.

I was overwhelmed by the army of people you empower to make a difference – and by the fact that this was just one day, but that you do this every day in many ways by sharing your people, your services, your dollars…your insides.

You make a MASSIVE difference. You have a great story.

I am grateful for my new perspective. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for showing up and using your power for good and for setting an example for your employees and the larger world.

With gratitude,

Angela Smith


I am a writer & I have someone to thank for it

Posted by A. Smith on Oct-6-2011

“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?”  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Like everyone else who walks this earth I have many dimensions, but perhaps the identity that most fluently crosses into my personal and professional life is this:

I am a writer.

As I am quick to share with many, writing is my passion – a true love. Writing comforts, empowers, and centers me. It lives in me, runs through me, and, I hope, touches others.

In looking back on my life, I realize the writer in me emerged as a child. I can remember pairing up with my older brother John, breaking out the typewriter, and publishing a newspaper when I was probably six or seven years old. No kidding. Fast forward to high school, and I clearly recall writing as an outlet, penning everything from poems to love letters.

But, I can’t help but wonder if I would have stayed the course, actually turning writing into a huge part of my career, had it not been for the influence of somebody. In retrospect that “somebody” turned out to be my 12th grade English teacher who I would not credit until this past summer, more than two decades after high school graduation.

Let me shed light on my revelation: A few months ago, I was looking through my hope chest. I came across a composition book, opened it, and began to read. It was the journal from my senior year, in which my assignment was to write in for five minutes at the beginning of every class. I smiled as I read entrees about my Pop-Pop, babysitting, life in general, and so much more. To my surprise, I was flooded with memories and pride.

Then, I read comments written by my teacher and it hit me…I was already a writer back then. She recognized it, and she helped me discover it. She nurtured my gift. I instantly felt a sense of gratitude, followed by shame as I realized that I had never credited this teacher. As a matter of fact, truth be told, I didn’t consider her a very strong teacher.

Wow, me, someone who dismisses standardized test and how we measure teachers today had failed to recognize that this teacher made a difference not by what she taught me academically but by how she encouraged me – how she gave me five minutes every day to develop my passion.

Thank you, Mrs. Dodson. I hope you would be proud of me today for what I have done with my writing. I think you would be.

I feel so blessed to do what I love. And, I cannot say this without adding tribute to Steve Jobs, who left this world today – a world he changed forever. One of his many, many famous quotes is:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to…love what you do.”

I am happy to say that I do. I write.

Perhaps these remarks shared by Mrs. Dodson in my journal help explain why I write:

“Angela, I admire your feelings of warmth for your family and life in general. You seem to have a peacefulness about you, an ability to discover the good, the positive, the worthwhile around you. This is not a trait to be taken for granted – nurture your optimism (hopefully it will spread to some of those around you).

Keep writing. I enjoy reading your journal so much. Even if it sounds corny, I feel refreshed and inspired.”




LIVESTRONG: Renewing hope in people and in business

Posted by A. Smith on Dec-2-2009

I participated in a LIVESTRONG event in Austin, TX, nearly six weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve gone a day since without reflecting on my experience. First, there’s the obvious: The overwhelming gratitude I felt toward an organization that is confronting cancer in a big way. To witness the difference LIVESTRONG makes firsthand and to celebrate life in the company of survivors was simply awesome.

I will hold steadfastly to my memories of seeing two beautiful bald women embrace each other for the first time, of witnessing cyclists raise their arms in victory as they crossed the finish, and of sharing in conversation with Alyssa, Renee, Doug, and others whose spirits alone lend credence to a cancer-free world.

The weekend was everything I hoped for and more.

I walked away truly inspired by people. I also left with a renewed belief in the possibility of business. Cause aside, LIVESTRONG is an amazing organization. As an individual who is passionate about worthwhile and sustainable brands, I put LIVESTRONG in its own class. Here’s a glimpse of why this brand rocks:

  • Forget a mission statement, LIVESTRONG brings to life a manifesto (
  • The headquarters is LEED certified, incorporates more than a ton of re-used materials from the existing building, relies almost entirely on natural light, and boasts a kitchen where recycling and composting are given behaviors
  • This organization thrives on community from its engagement with local nonprofits to its global networking to its infamous twittering (with a live Twitter feed @LIVESTRONGHQ)
  • LIVESTRONG is not just a workplace but also a workout place where employees can hit the onsite gym, break for yoga, or take a company bike for a spin around town
  • The list goes on – internships, education, art, music, culture, outreach, websites, blogs, public tours, wristbands, patient support, empathy, vision…

LIVESTRONG not only bleeds yellow but also paints the world yellow with hope.

There’s a lot we can learn from LIVESTRONG, including how to live, work, and brand strong.