PODCAST: Episode 5 – Cliff Smith Interview

Cliff Smith has been the President of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee for the past 23 years, which has helped raise over $130 million to improve the quality of life in the Southwest Florida community.

Anchors – daily scheduled items in the day – are the key to Cliff’s personal and professional success.

“Life can overwhelm you, but when you schedule it, it happens,” says Cliff.

Cliff’s daily anchors include the following:

  • Time for physical activity
  • Going home at lunch and seeing his dog, providing a source of mid-day happiness and feeling of unconditional love
  • Ten minutes of meditation

Meditation can be a game changer for many people, including Heather, but it can be difficult to “shut off our brains.” One of the secrets discussed by Cliff and Heather is making the practice routine.

Some of Heather’s favorite techniques to help you get started with meditation can be found here (Heather is not in any way affiliated with the following companies, these are techniques that she used when she first began meditating):



Maybe you already meditate. Regardless, consider these questions:

What are your anchors?

Are you making time for yourself that will ultimately take you to the next level?

Cliff also discusses the importance of servant leadership in his organization, which he describes it as “leading from the back of the room.”

Servant Leadership:

  1. Not worrying about who gets the credit
  2. Recognizing your team
  3. People feel they can count on each other

“To get things done, you don’t need to be the show. You need to make sure the show happens,” explains Cliff.

And the final concept explored by Cliff and Heather in this episode is “the waterfall.” A waterfall is powerful, but when it cascades down a mountain and runs into rocks, it doesn’t get frustrated by the obstacle or struggle to move the obstacle; instead, the water will find the path of least resistance and go around the rocks and flow on downstream. This imagery serves as an important metaphor for Cliff’s team in approaching challenges and bringing together multiple stakeholders.

“You just gotta keep on rollin’.” – Cliff Smith

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee just kicked off its 2016-2017 campaign season. Learn more about how you can become involved via their website www.unitedwaylee.org.


Photo By Brian Tietz

Photo By Brian Tietz

You can also connect with Cliff and United Way on Facebook or Twitter.







Mastermind Podcast Host, Heather Christie, is a Certified Executive Leadership Coach and Attorney. At Evolve Global, she works with her clients to help them develop Strategic Plans including Leadership Development and Succession. In addition to Executive Coaching, Heather is a Professional Speaker and Leadership Trainer. She serves as President-Elect of the National Speakers Association South Florida Chapter.

Mastermind with Heather Christie is produced in partnership with Gulfshore Business Magazine.