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Honoring strength in the face of adversity during Women’s History Month

Inclusion & Diversity




It was the summer of 1993.

My father was involved in a serious car accident that put him in a coma.  The doctors told my mother he would never wake up, much less return to “normal.”  I watched my mother muster all her strength, courage and faith to take control of an impossible situation.

She pushed the hospital to employ any and all means to save his life and never let her children believe their father wouldn’t wake up.  Amid incredible doubt from those around her, she prayed for a miracle.

That miracle came.  My father did wake up from his coma and we were blessed to have him return to a “new normal.”  But the journey was long and hard, and it still continues today.

My mother’s strength in the face of adversity has had the most profound impact on me.

I’ve been very fortunate to have had opportunities to learn from, work with and be mentored by amazing women; particularly here at Campbell.  However, the woman who has had the biggest influence on my life (and my leadership style) is without a doubt my mother.

I suppose in many ways my mother is typical of most mothers—unconditional love, constant encouragement and always pushing us to strive for excellence.  Even if that was the end of the story, my mother would be still be a source of inspiration.

Tara Smith blog image

Me with my mother at my wedding.

I saw what it means to be courageous and what it means to lead. 

Instead of letting the weight of the world come crashing down on of all of us, she found the strength to create a safe place for her children.  She sacrificed in her career to give our family some much-needed stability.  She has stood by my father, helping him when he needed it and, perhaps most of all, preserving his dignity as he continually adjusts to living life with physical challenges.

She is the glue that holds our family together and the rock that makes us all stronger.

Whenever I face a challenge, I think about my mother.  And then I persist. I strive to bring her courage and spirit to work every day to influence the culture at Campbell.  I’m proud to say that I am my mother’s daughter, and honored to be able to share her story with you in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Inclusion & Diversity

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