Erik D. Smith, PhD

Erik D. Smith, PhD, strategy and analytics, Deloitte Consulting
HBA chapter: San Francisco and Los Angeles
Current role with the HBA: HBA global board member

I volunteer for the United Force for Change because I am a life-long egalitarian. My parents raised me as such, and as an adult, I continue to choose to prioritize gender parity, gender partnership and gender progress as core beliefs of what ought to be, of what can be.

Volunteering has impacted my career by empowering me to speak with my clients and colleagues about a topic and organization that I am genuinely inspired about. This opens whole new levels of connection and closeness.

My favorite HBA event I ever attended was my first Woman of the Year, a number of years ago in NYC. It was so amazingly energizing, and inspiring, to come together as a community around a topic and cause in that moment. It was a charge that has lasted!

The most valuable lesson I learned from a fellow volunteer is don’t wait to find “the” perfect cause that inspires you to put your most valuable asset – time, energy, thought – into. Just find one and start there.

My employer encourages me to volunteer for HBA because my partnership shares the same core values around inclusion and parity, personal growth and development as the HBA does. My Firm believes in giving back, and in the power of leaders doing so not only for their own direct action and impact, but also for the signal that sends to colleagues, clients and the world.

My favorite part of volunteering for the HBA is seeing firsthand the impact that my own decisions and actions can have with such an important issue as progress towards gender parity, in society, in companies, and quite literally with specific individuals.

I first got involved with the HBA when colleagues told me about about their involvement with the HBA, and how I could play a role in progressing an issue that’s been important to me my entire life.

I applied for my current role with the HBA because I was invited and encouraged to by other volunteers, who I respect for their own success and accomplishments so I figured they couldn’t be entirely wrong!

What would be your advice to someone thinking about joining or getting more involved with the HBA? Pick a spot, and just jump in. Be present, be genuine, be helpful.

Follow me as I take over the HBA social media accounts on 21 April.


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