How Angela Patton (CEO of Girls for a Change) Makes Things Happen

Angela Patton - CEO of Girls for a Change

Angela Patton captured the hearts and imaginations of hundreds of thousands of online viewers with a TED talk describing an unusual (and uplifting) father-daughter dance–between incarcerated dads and their young daughters. The dance was the fruit of a girl-led social-change project convened by a grassroots organization Patton began in Richmond, Va.

In every setting, Patton brings a palpable enthusiasm, a drive to connect and uplift that I wish I could bottle up and spread around. She’s not “busy,” she’s driven–and I love it. I admire her ability to be an engaged, attentive mom, even as she expands her own capacity and power to lead on a national scale as executive director of Girls for a Change. She illustrates daily that womanhood and motherhood aren’t impediments to leadership and in fact can be powerful catalysts for it.

Read More


The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

If you only read one happiness book, let this be the one. Written by a serious psychological researcher, “The How of Happiness” eschews the usual laundry list of quick fixes and instead offers a unified theory of sustainable happiness, backed by empirical evidence and sound … Read More


The Freshmen ABCs

Maya Smart

I was invited to give a Welcome Week speech at VCU and the occasion provided a great opportunity for me to reflect on my college years.  Ultimately, I decided to leave the incoming students with three pieces of advice (the Freshmen ABCs) that I hope will serve them well for … Read More

Advice and Inspiration for Smart Women

What do women really want? Trust me, it’s not “balance.”

This blog offers a daily exploration of the varied, determined, sometimes misguided, but unfailingly human ways that women pursue meaning and happiness. Peruse the eclectic mix of advice, interviews, trend spotting and social commentary, then let me know what you think.

Here are a few of my favorite posts to get you started:

Come on. Click around. It’ll be fun, I promise!

Maya Smart