Heidi Marquez Smith joined Texas Cultural Trust as Executive Director in August, 2017. Previously, Heidi was a non-profit consultant, enhancing the work of the people and organizations that are changing, enriching, and meeting the needs of our communities and our state through development, board relations, strategy, public relations, and overall best practices. Prior to consulting, Smith served as Executive Director of the Texas Book Festival and before returning to Texas in 2006, she worked in the White House serving as Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison, Special Assistant to the President and Director for Presidential Correspondence, and Deputy Associate Director in the office of Presidential Personnel.
Smith served as executive director of the Texas Book Festival (TBF) for more than 5 years. The TBF is a nonprofit organization, founded by former first lady Laura Bush to celebrate authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas and imagination. As executive director, Heidi oversaw the development, budget, operations, program, and strategic planning for the organization –raising more than 1 million dollars in annual income. Annually, the TBF hosts one of the premier literary events in the country. The weekend festival hosts more than 40,000 visitors and more than 250 renowned authors from across the country and around the world. Year-round, the organization promotes literacy and literature through a literacy program, grants to Texas public libraries, a Texas Book Festival writing contest, and other literary events around the state. The literacy program has reached more than 35,000 children in low – income public schools, more than $2.3 million dollars in grants have been awarded to Texas public libraries to enhance book collections and implement and/or improve literacy and technology programs. Partnering with the UIL, TBF sponsors an annual contest for Texas high school students TBF also partners with numerous organizations to bring programming to the citizens of Texas. Partners include: The University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Press, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas School of Information, UT PAN-AM, San Antonio Public Library, LBJ Library, LBJ Future Forum, University of Texas Center for American History, University of Texas Michener Center for Writers, Austin Children’s Museum, Austin Film Festival, Dallas Opera, SMU Meadows School of Arts, City of Highland Park – Dallas, the Texas Tribune and many more.
Before returning to Texas in the fall of 2006, Heidi worked in Washington DC, where she served as Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison in the White House. As Director of the Office of Cabinet Liaison, she worked closely with the President’s Cabinet to advance Administration initiatives by enhancing communication between the White House and Cabinet Secretaries and their Agencies. Among other functions, her office facilitated meetings with President George W. Bush and his Cabinet, and served as the primary source of information for the President and senior White House staff on Cabinet Agency activities.
Before her appointment as Director for Cabinet Liaison, Heidi served as Special Assistant to the President and Director for Presidential Correspondence. As Director of Correspondence, she oversaw the receipt, process, and disposition of all incoming correspondence and gifts to the President and the drafting, editing and vetting of all outgoing correspondence from the President; including Presidential Proclamations, constituent letters, and policy responses.
Prior to working in the office of Presidential Correspondence, Heidi served as Deputy Associate Director in the office of Presidential Personnel where she identified, interviewed, and recommend candidates to President Bush for appointment to National boards and commissions. She was also a member of the Bush – Cheney transition team in 2000.
Heidi has served on the Futuro Fund Austin, the University of Texas 1883 Council, St. David’s Day School Board of Directors, Subiendo Academy, Literacy Council of Central Texas Board of Directors, University of Texas Libraries Advisory Council (ex-officio member), Communities in Schools Board of Directors, Legacy of Giving Blue Sky Luncheon Chair. She currently serves on the Texas Lyceum (director), Texas Book Festival Board of Directors, St. David’s Foundation – Toast of the Town Committee, Dell Children’s Trust, and volunteers with various local organizations, including Eanes Elementary School, Eanes Education Foundation, Pop-Up Birthday, City of Rollingwood, and LBJ Library.
Heidi is a proud graduate from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, David P. Smith, and sons, Patterson (12), Harrison (9), and Liam (5).