The little sunburst denotes an Alumni Association member.
BRENDA OROS SMITH '84
Photo by Melissa Olson
Artist, metalsmith, designer, teacher
In 2009 Brenda Oros Smith ’84 was diagnosed with a 99 percent–blocked left carotid artery. After a successful surgery, she moved forward with plans for a jewelry-making business. “The recession wasn’t the best time to start, but I wasn’t going to wait,” she says.
Smith—a former creative director with experience in advertising—turned her talents to designing with fine gemstones, a passion she discovered after taking classes in silver and goldsmithing.
Her jewelry designs have won awards, and her high-end pieces have been worn by celebrities and exhibited at the Forbes Gallery in New York City and the Smithsonian. She also sells custom-made pieces through her website at www.BrendaSmithJewelry.com.
Smith’s Four Peaks Amethyst ring (shown here Photo by John Parrish), acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for its national gem collection, features an amethyst mined from the Four Peaks range in Arizona. She is currently working on another piece with freshwater pearls from the Tennessee River for the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History.
We asked her how to design a stellar second act.
6 Encore Career Tips
- Follow your passion. What do you enjoy and value? When does time seem to stand still for you?
- Find your people. Take classes and join organizations; get some mentors.
- Focus on your strengths and what matters most to you.
- Press through doubts. If things don’t work out at first, give them time.
- Pursue creative satisfaction and purpose ahead of success and profits.
- Remember life is short. Spend more time doing what you enjoy.
JEFF SMITH ’99
Director of Government Affairs and General Counsel at Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio
Running 26.2 miles is a challenge, but in October Jeff Smith ’99 completed his quest to run a marathon in all 50 states by finishing the 2014 Newport Marathon in Rhode Island.
After his brother, Nic Smith ’01, was diagnosed with lymphoma and a law school professor died from leukemia, Smith raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by running the 2003 San Diego Marathon in their honor. Since then, he has logged more than 1,336 miles in every state, plus Washington, D.C.
Smith has become one of an elite group of runners who can run a marathon in under three hours (his best time is 2:59:53).
We asked him what it takes to make the most of multiple marathons.
Maximize a Marathon:
- Pick a training plan at least 18 weeks prior to the race.
- Join a running group and visit your local running specialty store for advice, proper shoes and clothes.
- Don’t miss a practice run unless you are injured.
- Scale back your mileage two weeks before the race begins. Get extra rest, maintain a healthy diet and decide on a race strategy.
- Start slow and stick to your race plan. Don’t head out too fast and hit “the wall.”
- Smile and enjoy the experience. Embrace the moment late in the race when you realize you are going to finish.
- Rest, refuel and celebrate with family and friends afterwards!
Eric Meek, MFA ’03 (Painted Post, New York), who manages the hot glass programs at the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York, designed and created the glass trophy for major NASCAR races held at Watkins Glen International. His design gives a nod to both the racetrack and the Finger Lakes region. When viewed from the top, the blue core reveals the outline of the racetrack; from the side it looks like a waterfall. Watch a video about the trophy’s creation below.