Updated May 23 at 11:16am

Victoria J. Smith

Rhode Island has always been close to Victoria Smith’s heart, so it’s no surprise that she excels at looking out for all the hearts in the state. More

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A PBN SPECIAL SECTION: 2011 40 UNDER 40

Victoria J. Smith

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Rhode Island has always been close to Victoria Smith’s heart, so it’s no surprise that she excels at looking out for all the hearts in the state.

As executive director of southern New England for the American Heart Association, the 33-year-old Smith is responsible for raising $2 million from fundraising each year for the nonprofit organization.

Since assuming her position in 2008, Smith has pioneered new advertising campaigns and partnerships to raise awareness of heart disease and educate the public on cardiac health.

Smith has worked for the assocation since 2003, first as the corporate-events director in Providence and then as executive director in Purchase, N.Y. Her initiatives have included the Leading Ladies of Rhode Island campaign, which raised public awareness that heart disease is the top cause of death in females.

Smith graduated from Union College in New York with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She held development positions at the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation Inc., and the New York Public Library before deciding to return to Rhode Island in 2003.

“I was ready to move back home,” she wrote. “I remained keen on continuing my career in public/charitable service but at the same time, I wanted a position that would provide an opportunity to have a more direct impact on my community.”

Smith has certainly seized opportunities to make a difference in her local community since returning to the Ocean State, through both her nonprofit-development work and her volunteer activities.

She serves on boards and committees for StyleWeek Providence, Gabrielle’s Heart and Hope Fund, Gabrielle’s Heart Camp and the Heart and Soul Ball. •

26-17, 080111 , American Heart Association, health care, nonprofit , 2011 40 under forty, American Heart Association , health care, nonprofit, 26-17, 201140U40Export.pbn

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