Alumni Spotlight: Evan Smith (LLA '19)

Can you explain a little bit more about how you got connected with the PlusMe Project and how you eventually joined their board? What is the mission of the organization and who do they serve?

Shortly after graduating from Leadership LA in 2019, I knew that I wanted to make an impact in Los Angeles outside of working for a nonprofit, whether applying to be a commissioner for my city or join a nonprofit board; I wanted to make a difference.

I got connected with the PLUS ME Project through volunteer match. I had heard about PLUS ME over the years, but it had never crossed my mind to join their board. It was meant to be as soon as PLUS ME appeared after signing up for volunteer match. The mission of PLUS ME Project is “a community partner dedicated to empowering middle & high school youth to build their confidence for college, career, and community advancement by teaching the art of storytelling.” The moment that I read the mission statement, I was in. I truly believe in the power of story and that your story matters and the cherry on top for me was their values, community, equity and social justice, all things I stand behind.

Shortly after applying for the Board, Richard, the Executive Director and SCLN alum, reached out, and I went through multiple rounds of interviews and they impressed me with the process every step of the way. It’s a dedicated board who is passionate about the work of PLUS ME. You learn a lot about an organization by seeing how the Board and Executive Director work together and it was very clear that the Board supported Richard and his vision. After multiple interviews, they appointed me to the Board of Directors as of November 2020.