Why She Leads: Phyllis Smith

| Sofia Pereira

Over 13,000 women have started their journeys to elected office with the She Should Run Incubator. These are their stories. There is no shortage of fierce women leaders, and with over 500,000 elected offices across the country, there is no shortage of seats waiting to be filled by them. 

What is your most memorable career and personal accomplishment?
My most memorable career accomplishment is graduating from business school with my MBA at 40 years of age. My most memorable personal accomplishment has been seeing my three daughters finish college and start their professional careers. Most recently, my youngest daughter graduated from MIT with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

We’d love to hear more about your leadership path. How did you get to where you are today?
Of course, I am still on my leadership journey. However, I believe I started on this journey years ago. My father was a Pastor, a Director at a local college and a Retired Army Master Sergeant. He was my first mentor and had a great influence on my leadership path growing up. In college at the University of Georgia, I was in Air Force ROTC and the Emerging Leaders Program. In graduate school at the Simmons College, I studied leadership and worked alongside other women leaders in an all women’s MBA program. In my career, I completed a Leadership Development Program through the Network of Executive Women in 2015. Most recently in 2017, I’ve completed the She Should Run Incubator. I am excited about what the future holds for me in Public Service leadership!

What is your personal mission related to running for office? Why?
My personal mission related to running for office is: I care about families (single parents, married and blended families). I care about people of diverse backgrounds (ethnic, racial and women). I care about parents who want their children to obtain an affordable and excellent education. I care about families who want to be able to live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle, in communities that are safe and affordable. I care about people (especially those of diverse backgrounds and older workers) who want to maintain employment doing what they love and to be free from discrimination and marginalization in the workplace. Why? I think it speaks for itself. (I developed this statement while being in the incubator program.)


What are steps you’ve taken on your path to a future run?
Upon finishing the She Should Run Incubator, I had two goals. First, to get more involved in my local political party. I am currently an Independent. As a result, I reached out to both the Republican and Democratic local parties to review their platforms and find ways to get involved. After doing so, I decided that the Democratic Party was more in line with my current political views. So, I signed up to get involved and will be volunteering at the 2017 Massachusetts Democratic Convention. I am so excited to be getting more involved in my local political party!

Tell us about your favorite She Should Run “aha” moment or success story. Why are you an Incubator member?

My “aha” moment was when I saw how many women were signed up for the She Should Run Facebook group. At that moment, I realized I was not alone. I had found a community of like-minded women who wanted to run and make a change. That is why I am an incubator member. To be a part of the movement for positive change in this country. For my daughters and all of the daughters out there. I had to step up. It was the time I got off the bench, got in the game and found a place to serve!

Note: This interview has been shortened for clarity.

Update: Phyllis was appointed to a local committee and is an official member of the Franklin Cultural Council.


Views reflected by those featured in our content do not necessarily reflect the views of She Should Run. As you know, She Should Run is a nonpartisan organization. However, some of our guest contributors (and readers) may not be. That is totally okay! It means we’re all human. She Should Run is committed to celebrating the diversity of backgrounds in our community and lifting up the voices of allwomen.

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