HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As long as Laura Smith has been in charge, Goodwill has grown and flourished. So it comes as no surprise that she is one of the honorees for the YWCA Woman of the Year.
Laura Smith has spent 32 long years at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, and since 1994 she has been the Chief Executive Officer and President.
"When I started we were really small serving about 3 hundred people a year. I think our total budget was 4 million," Smith explained. "Now we're statewide serving 13 thousand every year. We have 11 stores through the island."
Even with all her accomplishments through Goodwill, Smith says she didn't expect the nomination.
"I was completely surprised at the nomination," Smith said. "I wasn't anticipating it. When I walked into the lunch where we got to meet the other nominees, I was just taken aback at the level of nominees and I was just humbled to be a part of that group of them."
But while Laura didn't expect the nomination, the people who have worked with her say there was no surprise at all.
"She has the ability to execute. Goodwill projects come in on time and on budget," said Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Board Member Gwen Yamamoto Lau.
"The mission of goodwill is to help the underprivileged people," said Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Board Chair Amori Ogata. "And to that end, Laura does a good job of not only keeping the business running smoothly. She's also looking forward to try and see how we can do things better."
One example of Laura's work is the annual fundraiser. She says the four-year-old event now entices 3,000 people and raises $250,000 annually, five times what it used to generate.