The Valley’s own Nick Smith is a member of the Fiesta Bowl Executive Committee, joining the organization’s highest level of volunteer leadership after serving on the Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee since 2012. When Smith isn’t serving the Fiesta Bowl, he serves on the executive team at National PEO, a human resources company and as a football coach at Notre Dame Preparatory. Learn about Nick Smith…
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
First job: I was cutting grass at 10 years old but my first taxable job was working as a busser for Olive Garden.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in Arizona: I have an amazing backyard, so sitting out there when there’s a nice cool breeze and enjoying a nice cold drink is the best.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Outisde of my family, of course, my biggest accomplishment is being a part of the Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee team. Sitting in with that team and being a part of it has made me grow as a person and has allowed me to make a positive impact in the community. Since joining the Fiesta Bowl organization in 2012, as a team, we have been able to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, more than 800 teachers and hundreds of nonprofit organizations in a positive way. In fact, over the past year alone, despite COVID-19, we donated more than 50,000 pieces of personal protective equipment; provided nearly 3.75 million meals to those in need; supported more than 688,000 youth through grant programs; and personally touched nearly 50 local nonprofits via time and financial contributions.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: As a child growing up in the city, sometimes you don’t believe the world is big enough for everyone to be successful. I overcame that line of thinking by teaching myself to work harder and be better every day.
Someone who inspires you and why: I attended the University of Notre Dame from 1989 to 1992 where I played linebacker for the Fighting Irish under legendary coach Lou Holtz. Coach Holtz would never accept anything less than being great. People always say Coach Holtz is a great motivator but he would always respond with that by saying “I get rid of anyone who isn’t motivated already.” He motivated me by forcing me to motivate myself. Now, being self-motivated is one of my greatest strengths.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: No matter what you want to do, you need to start by educating yourself in that arena. Break it down, make it smaller and easier. Foster relationships and learn from people. To move up and be better you need to learn from those who did it before you.
Favorite quote: My father would always say that “the right thing” and “the hard thing” lived on the same street, an allegory about making choices in this life. Often, in order to follow the right path, there are going to be hard decisions, hard trials and hard moments along the way. But that doing what is right is always worth dealing with those hard neighbors on that street.
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am musically inclined. I learned to play the piano when I was in eight years old and, when I was in high school, I played the saxophone in the marching band.
What makes someone fabulous: Ultimately, it’s the attitude they have and the respect they have for other people. Having positive energy and the right attitude is what makes a person fabulous.