Mary Kay Smith
Managing Dir., N.E. Project & Dev. Services Lead.
Cushman & Wakefield
What is the best advice you have received, and who was it from? From an early age, my dad always told me to “Find your thing, and be the best at it.” My parents never tried to push me in a direction that didn’t inspire me, but instead encouraged me to be open to every opportunity. I had to take responsibility for finding my own path. Once you find it, commit to it and set the bar high. I think that advice is applicable to everyone–you’ll get the best results if it’s work that you truly enjoy.
What honor, achievement or recognition means the most to you and why? I never thought I could do it until I crossed the finish line, but running the Boston Marathon for the first time stands out as one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life. I was honored to run on behalf of the Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center in Hopkinton, which does amazing work supporting the families of children with special needs. Focusing on their daily challenges and their strength was deeply motivating to me. Being one among thousands running for a cause is an extraordinary experience.
Who was the best speaker you have seen at an event? I was quite impressed by Erik Qualman’s recent presentation to a gathering of the International Interior Design Association. He has a thought-provoking and relevant take on how technology is changing the way we work and interact. But really, it was his delivery- active, entertaining, engaging- that stood out the most to me. I think his communication style has lessons for anyone that has to speak to a group, regardless of the topic.