In early May, White Pony Express was given a boost by the arrival of our new Development Associate, Lawrence “Joe” Smith. When Mary Brooks asked early in the interview process whether he prefers Lawrence or Larry, he asked her to call him Joe.
Joe’s background includes over 12 years with nonprofit organizations beginning at his family’s Taekwondo academy, R.E.A.D.Y. Inc. Both of his parents hold blackbelts in Taekwondo and teach individually at academies in Michigan and Alabama. (Joe is the only member of his family, including two siblings, that doesn’t hold a black belt. Yet.)
He graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and has since worked at Peninsula Bridge in Palo Alto, California, which prepares highly motivated, low-income students for success in high school and college, and LifeMoves in Menlo Park, California, which provides interim shelter and support to homeless families and individuals.
Our mission of delivering the abundance that surrounds the Bay Area to those of us in need appealed to Joe, and conversations in his interviews confirmed his interest in White Pony Express. And ours in him!
With a nonprofit background and strong technical qualifications he brings to the crucial role of managing and expanding the use of our donor database, just two weeks in, he is highly engaged and already a huge asset to the Development Team.
Joe’s solution to the cost of Bay Area housing is unique – he lives on a 25’ sailboat in the Oakland Marina and loves it. He sails as well. The reverse commute to Pleasant Hill is an added benefit and a welcome change from his former daily commute to the Peninsula.
Outside of work, he heads to a nearby rock-climbing gym in the evenings, and he recently returned from a four-day commitment as a wilderness guide for Gateway Mountain Center, a nonprofit in Truckee, California, guiding middle school students from suburban Menlo Park on a challenging, snowy, enrichment adventure. Joe quickly earned the respect of “the cool kids,” which made the entire group fairly easy to manage. He’ll make a similar trip with high school students in early July.
Please join us in giving Joe a warm welcome to the White Pony Express team!