Robert Cox – Guest Contributor
Sep 26 2012
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Joining one or two organizations is usually enough to keep most people busy. For Grapevine’s Jan Smith, however, being a large part of the community and holding important positions is a way of life.

“I like to do programs, I like to be involved and I don’t really like to be a roster member of anything,” said Smith. “If you’re going to be in something, you should be involved.”

“Involved” could be an understatement.

Smith is the vice president of the Bay View Club, an organization founded in 1908 that never has more than 24 members at one time, and has served as the director of the Grapevine Rotary Club and as the president of the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce. 

On top of all that, she is a member of St. Laurence Church, a 41-year member of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a member of the Grapevine Historical Society and even helped revamp the Leadership Grapevine program.

Despite her involvement with all of these programs, Smith’s passion for service, people and the Grapevine community shine through her position as the volunteer manager of Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE). 

“I really have the best job at GRACE because I get to work with all the people,” said Smith. “I get to tell people about GRACE every day. I talk about GRACE everywhere I go.”

If forced to narrow it down to three bullet points, Smith says her job description is to recruit, retain and motivate volunteers, but she does so much more.

“I think the number one thing is building relationships,” said Smith. “Finding the right fit for people and keeping them motivated is a big part of it. I think everyone finds reward in their work at GRACE.”

Smith enjoys helping others find their passion for service. If volunteers want to work in the medical field, she encourages them to volunteer at GRACE’s community clinic. She has found service jobs for firefighters, Eagle Scouts, corporate businesses, numerous high school students, churches and much more.

“I want GRACE to be the volunteer organization of choice for The Metroplex,” said Smith. “The nice thing about GRACE is we’re so diverse and there are so many volunteer opportunities that there really is something for everyone.”

Before joining GRACE, Smith worked in the airline industry for 32 years and learned how to motivate teams. She believes volunteering at GRACE is one of the best team-building exercises a group can experience. 

“When I was a director at Delta (Air Lines), I brought in every high-dollar motivational speaker to motivate my team,” said Smith. “I took them out to ropes courses and all that. However, all I had to do was take them to GRACE, and it wouldn’t have cost me anything.”

Smith’s passion for service fully developed while she was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority at Southwest Texas State University, and she has no plans of slowing down any time soon. The three-year GRACE employee believes she received her work ethic from her father and 89-year-old mother, whom is still selling real estate full-time in Austin.

Smith considers every day at GRACE a rewarding working experience and believes she has the best life in doing what she loves.

“When you’re around positive people, and you stay positive along with that, I don’t think there’s any accidents,” said Smith. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m real happy right now with where I am.”