40 Under 40: Kira Smith
Tahoe Chamber | June 8, 2021 | 40 Under 40
“Practice compassion: for yourself, for others, and for the planet.”
Kira is the Associate Transportation Planner for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and is an active leader with a strong knowledge of the issues that impact Lake Tahoe.
Congratulations to this week’s 40 under 40 honoree, Kira Smith!
Can you tell us a little about your responsibilities and accomplishments in your current position?
As a transportation planner at TRPA, I help support the development of transportation plans for the region. My primary role is in transportation demand management encouraging residents and visitors to walk, bike, take transit, and carpool instead of driving alone. One of the events I help organize is the annual Tahoe Bike Challenge, which is a super fun community-wide event that takes place in June. I also do some data analysis and visualize the results by making maps for my team, which is one of the best parts of my job!
What has been your favorite professional moment in the last year?
Our team has had to adjust to working remotely this year due to COVID. The change came right when we were kicking off development of the Regional Transportation Plan, which is one of our top work products as an agency. Our Governing Board adopted the plan in April this year and we were able to get together outside to celebrate that major milestone. Completing that plan and celebrating in person with my wonderful colleagues was definitely the best part of the last year.
Do you have a professional/life mantra that you try to live by?
Practice compassion: for yourself, for others, and for the planet. I believe compassion is key to maintaining mental health, listening and learning from others, and protecting the environment. I also feel strongly that we can’t protect our planet without protecting its people. So this year, I’ve been trying my best to recognize my privilege and take a step back to listen compassionately and learn more from others. Truly practicing compassion has driven me personally and professionally in ways I am so grateful for.
Who is your role model?
My parents, Doug and Val Smith, are my role models. They both worked so hard and selflessly to give my sister and I the greatest opportunities and I’m inspired by them every day. Professionally, I’m so lucky to have access to strong leaders and mentors at TRPA. It’s also really motivating to see so many female leaders in our community, but as always, we need more!
Why choose Tahoe to make your home and career?
I grew up here and so I appreciate the outdoor opportunities and access Tahoe has to offer. I went to school in Los Angeles to try to broaden my perspective and experience the city life, but Tahoe kept calling me home. I also feel so grateful to have the career opportunities I have at TRPA and I feel very passionate about the work I’m doing. Loving where I live and what I do is all I could ever ask for!
Are you active in any volunteer roles or community groups?
I volunteer as an advisory board member for the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition and just recently joined the City of South Lake Tahoe Parks & Recreation Commission as a Commissioner. I’m also part of a book club and listen in on meetings of the City’s multi-cultural alliance.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love running, biking, boating, gardening, reading, and cooking. I also recently signed up for my first marathon so I expect a lot of my free time will be spent training!
Where are your favorite South Shore stomping grounds?
I love grabbing a drink with friends at the Hangar or hanging out at Kiva, Cove East, or Fallen Leaf Lake. And you can catch me running or biking just about anywhere.