Staff Spotlight: Harold "Hal" Smith
Smith has been connected to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula for more than a decade, first serving as a Corporate Board member. Additionally, he served for nearly two years as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). As COO, Smith implemented the “EatSMART” program, a grant with the USDA that provides over 1,000 meals and snacks to Club members every day at no cost to the members. He has also developed partnerships around TowneBank Athletic Park; instituted staff performance evaluations; managed an operations team of three service directors, ten unit directors, and nearly 100 part-time staff; served as a Task Force member on the Newport News Mayor’s Initiative to End Bullying; and served as a Board Member for the Denbigh Youth Alliance. Smith resumed the role of President & CEO beginning April 15 after being unanimously voted into the position by the Corporate Board of Directors on March 17.
What is one of your favorite memories growing up?
“I grew up in York County, VA with my brother and parents. I always liked going to the beach, whether it was here or on the Eastern Shore. My grandparents lived on the Eastern Shore, so I have lots of good memories. I guess that’s why I live where I live now on the water in Hampton!”
Where did you go to college?
“I went to George Mason University, and my degree is a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. Going to school up there I considered going into government or public service. I was enrolled in ODU’s MBA program for about a year and half, but then life just got too busy.”
What do you mean by too busy?
“Well, my career was really taking off. I worked with my dad and brother in our construction business for about 15 years. In fact, we did some projects for some of our Board of Directors, and even Steve.”
How did you meet them?
“I actually joined the Board of Directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula in 2002. My brother, Les, was a member of the Denbigh Kiwanis Club, and Steve gave a talk at one of their morning breakfasts. Les was so impressed that he said to me, ‘Hey, we need to start supporting these guys.’ So, we met with Steve to see how we could help, and then we established a scholarship fund. Eventually we were invited to join the board.”
When did you start working with Boys & Girls Clubs?
“In March 2010 after we closed our business from the state of the economy, I was hired as Director of Finance for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia located on the southside. Steve actually helped by providing the connection.”
So, how did you end up with the Virginia Peninsula organization?
“Funny - I actually called as a reference for one of my co-workers from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia who was applying to a position with the Virginia Peninsula organization. Steve asked to have lunch and catch up, and when we did, he ended up showing me the new organization chart and the job description for COO. I applied shortly after.”
What’s your favorite program run by the Clubs?
“Well, all of our programs are instrumental to our mission, but I really like Badges for Baseball. That’s something we didn’t do at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia. It not only teaches baseball, but also the aspect of developing relationships with law enforcement officials. It’s an important lesson to kids, especially with the issues going on today like in Ferguson. There’s a lot of merit and value there, plus, it ties in great with the youth development park!”
What are your goals as President & CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula?
"The main goal is to continue the great work that was established by our Board and Steve Kast, and to create an environment where we develop the future leaders of our community. We will continue this impact so that tomorrow’s leaders will be today’s Boys & Girls Club kids, and not only will they be leaders, but they’ll give back in their communities to pay it forward.”
On a more personal note, what do you do for fun?
“I’m still going to the beach regularly, playing golf (pretty poorly, actually), and paddle boarding. And in general, whatever my kids and wife want to do. I have two daughters, Sydney, 12, and Cameron, 8. They’re big into gymnastics; you know, it’s their ‘thing.’ Sydney surfs and also paddle boards. She’s actually better than me, but that might just be because she’s shorter.”
Do you have a quote that inspires you?
"Some people dream of success, while others work hard to achieve it,"
What's the best advice you ever received?
"Be yourself, and don't ever ask someone to do something that you wouldn't be willing to do yourself."
Last question - any interesting facts?
“I was born on a leap year. So I’ve technically only celebrated 11 birthdays."
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