Leader Spotlight

SmileyTavisTavis Smiley (Young Leader 1998)

President and CEO, The Smiley Group Inc.

What do you like most about Switzerland?
The scenic beauty.  Everything looks like a postcard!

What do you like most about the U.S.?
The people and our freedoms.

What defines your leadership style?
Love and service.

Who inspires you?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is your greatest achievement?
I hope I haven’t achieved it just yet.

Do you have any weaknesses?
Yes, too many to list here!

Where do you live?
The City of Angels, Los Angeles.

What is your favorite place in the world?
Hard to beat the Swiss Alps, but I also love Cape Town, South  Africa.

What is the best book you ever read?
The Bible.

What is your goal in life?
To do the best I can with what I have right where I am.



About Tavis Smiley

From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, as a broadcaster, author, advocate, and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. Currently, Smiley hosts the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS as well as The Tavis Smiley Show distributed by Public Radio International (PRI), the Tavis Smiley Network’s Tavis Talks on BlogTalkRadio, and he is the co-host of Smiley & West, also distributed by PRI. Smiley and Dr. Cornel West co-wrote the New York Times best-selling book The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. In this game-changing text, they not only take on the “p” word — poverty — but challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America.

Smiley is the first American to simultaneously host signature talk shows on both public television and public radio. In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has written 16 books including the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, which became the first nonfiction book by a Black-owned publisher to reach #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list. He is also the presenter and creative force behind AMERICA I AM: The African American Imprint — an unprecedented traveling museum exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and to the world. In 2009, TIME magazine named him to its list of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” This year, 2013, Tavis Smiley celebrates 10 years on PBS. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce recently announced that Smiley will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014.


Past Spotlights

Ron Nehring
Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California

Jamie Dailey
Lead Vocalist
Dailey & Vincent

Karen Tan
Chief Actuary
Zurich Life Insurance Company

Thomas Sanderson
Co-Director and Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Niklaus Nuspliger
Political Correspondent for European Affairs
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Fabian Pfortmüller
Co-Founder, Holstee; Co-Founder Sandbox 

Mike Lake
President and CEO, Leading Cities, and Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

Nicholas Johnston
Head First Word Desk
Bloomberg News

Andreas Bach
Head Europe, Middle East and Africa for Aviation, Marine and Credit and Surety Claims, Swiss Reinsurance Company

Nate DaPore
President & CEO, PeopleMatter

Christina Bellantoni
Politics Editor, PBS NewsHour

Spotlight Archive