Zoe Dean-Smith

Vice President, Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship

With 35 years of experience in for-profits, non-profits and social enterprise, Zoe heads up the organization’s economic empowerment programs, including the Global Ambassadors Program, the Fortune / State Department Mentoring Program and the VV GROW Fellowship.


More about Zoe:

Favorite Quote?

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Name three inspiring women you’ve met in your own life.
Mikaila Ulmer (12 years old uber-entrepreneur who is saving our bees), Karla Ruiz Cofino, Beth Brooke-Marciniak


List five things that people could ask you about
Economic empowerment and social enterprise in countries with emerging economies, Waterskiing, the Kingdom of Swaziland, Indoor cycling, Dogs


Where is your favorite place you have traveled?
Inhaca island, Mozambique


What inspired you to work at Vital Voices, and what do you love about your job here?
A group of young women who attended the VV 2007 Summit in Cape Town. The incredible women around the world that I get to work with, who inspire and motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing and to keep evolving within my work


What is your favorite place in D.C.?
Hain’s Point, Clare & Don’s beach shack in Falls Church, Kenilworth aquatic garden


What is the most unusual thing you keep at your desk?
A Tibetan singing bowl filled with beautiful healing stones and crystals. It’s always interesting to see which stone visitors pick up first


What makes a great leader?
Intellectual curiosity, Humility, Passion and Compassion


What was the last great book you read?
“Eat, drink and blame the ancestors” by Ndumiso Ncobo (a South African journalist / author). I loved the book because he made me laugh out loud that the things we all do in our daily lives. A breath of fresh air !


What would be the title of your autobiography?
Man, what a ride !!!


What do you see as one of the greatest challenges facing women leaders?
Them having the courage to take their rightful place in the world


You’re hosting a small dinner and have seats for three famous people, who are they?
Richard Branson, Mark Knopfler, Jonny Wilkinson


What’s your Myers-Briggs? Is it accurate?
ENTJ, Yes.