Maya Enista Smith

Nonprofit Director

“I get to travel the world and talk to young people about the power they have to change the world.”


San Francisco, CA



Average Work Week

40 +

Like so many Americans, Maya Enista Smith’s life changed direction after September 11, 2011. Having just begun her professional journey at the time, Enista Smith immediately looked into youth activism jobs after the tragic day, believing she had to find a way to make a greater positive impact.

Sixteen years later, Enista Smith is the executive director of Lady GaGa’s Born this Way Foundation, with the mission to cultivate “a kinder, braver world.” The organization encompasses programs aimed at helping kids destigmatize conversations around mental health as well as creating safe spaces for dialogue on and offline. The director calls her job a privilege and travels the country to speak with young people “about the power they have to change the world.” Hear more in the video.

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My Advice

You should really have the experience of getting up and talking to a crowd. I know that it’s super scary, but the opportunity to share what you believe in and what you’re passionate about is truly transformational.

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