Creative, Compassionate, Result-driven, and Risk-taker executive fundraising professional with entrepreneurial Passion, Drive, and Vision, Farrah Smith, Director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has navigated through 20 years of journey in generating revenue and increasing support bases for nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
She joined SSCS in 2011 and has spent a decade working here. She is also a proud member of Former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Farrah is a regular contributor to Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and she is one of her Thrive Stars (Wellness Ambassador). As part of her commitment to empowering teens and young adults in leading happier, more intentional, productive, and purposeful lives she founded Farrah Smith Coaching.
An alumna of Brendon Burchard’s world-renowned High-Performance Coaching Academy is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Bruin Professionals (BP) member. Because of her outstanding work, the inspiring woman was named one of the Top 10 Life Coaches Who Will Elevate Your Life in 2021 by Yahoo Finance. She is also a proud TEDx speaker and TED member.
More about the Initiative
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) from the Liberian Ministry of Defense. The order is the highest military award given by the ministry.
The New Beginning
In 2008, Farrah was working as the Director of VIP Sales at City Center Residential, the biggest real estate project in North America, when she read this quote by Winston Churchill- “To each, there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for what could have been their finest hour.”
She was disappointed because she thought she was not “preparing for her moment” to make a difference in the world. Her passion had always been kids and animals, and she had lost sight of that while successfully climbing the corporate ladder. She knew it was time to put service over stature.
She determined the best way to do that was to transition to the nonprofit sector. At first, she was focused on helping land animals, but then she saw the show Whale Wars on Animal Planet. She loved how Captain Watson and the brave Sea Shepherd crew put their lives on the line to save whales. She thought, now these were people living a life of purpose and passion.
Having a background in sales and VIP relations made her the perfect candidate for the position they had open. Her years working with wealthy and high-profile clientele and hosting events for the entertainment industry were all preparing Farrah to be the right person, with the right skillset and the right connections to make a difference at her favorite charity. All the relationships she had made over the previous ten years in Los Angeles and Las Vegas came to be invaluable in her new role.
Here, she is responsible for major donors and she manages VIP Relations, which includes the Advisory Board members, celebrities, and their entertainment industry contacts for Sea Shepherd Productions.. She also organizes all the US-based high-profile fundraising events.
“Last month marked my 10th anniversary at Sea Shepherd. Over the past decade, I have had the incredible opportunity to raise millions of dollars to help protect the ocean and save marine wildlife. I feel honored to be a Sea Shepherd and surrounded by such devoted and passionate individuals all of whom I consider heroes. I am grateful to finally be living a life of purpose, making an impact on two of the causes that matter to me most, ocean conservation and animal welfare”, Farrah Smith proudly shared.
‘As our founder says, “If the oceans die, we die” so I have devoted my life to protecting all beings, human and animal’, she further added.
Hurdles on the Way
When asked about the primary challenges on the way, Farrah said, “Sea Shepherd has grown and evolved quite a bit over the last few years. For a long time, people thought of Sea Shepherd as an anti-whaling organization due to the popularity of Whale Wars, but we have always been an anti-poaching organization. It has taken people a little time to see that stopping illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is where we can have the greatest impact on protecting all marine wildlife, including the whales people love so much. Millions of sharks and over 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises die each year from entanglement in fishing gear. I think people finally understand we are saving a lot more lives with our new approach of partnering with governments to stop IUU fishing.”
Daily Routine & Favourite Books
Farrah Smith begins her days at 5:30 am during the week. Then, she does meditation before shifting to her workday around 7:30 am or 8:00 am. Before she finishes, Farrah always takes time to reflect on the current day’s progress and determine where there is room for improvement. Often, she reads or takes courses in the evening. During weekends, the leading lady spends a majority of her time working as a life coach for teens and motivational speaker.
She loves reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, but her recent favorites include High-Performance Habits and Atomic Habits.
From the Director’s Desk
It can be seen that the model of cooperating with government bodies worldwide is showing increasingly good results. For example, just in Africa alone, Sea Shepherd’s work with eight coastal states has resulted in the arrest of over 70 vessels for illegal fishing and other fisheries crimes.
Cooperation, awareness, and education are the way forward to tackle the most critical issues we face today, whether it be climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, or social justice.
A Piece of Advice for Female Entrepreneurs
There should be no “male-dominated industry” in the 21st century. We must all do our part in changing that for the younger generation of female leaders.
“Your goals should scare you a little and excite you a lot!” – Joe Vitale