Q & A with Don Smith!

Posted August 27, 2019 By Don Smith

What is your role at ILLUME?
I am a member of ILLUME’s executive team with responsibility to manage all the financial, human resource, information technology, legal, and office functions. I also work to ensure we maintain a touch of levity in the office every day. Ultimately, my mission is to ensure the team has what they need to deliver incredible research for our clients.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and raised out east but have lived and worked in Madison, WI for enough time to erase the last vestiges of any Jersey from my accent.

Who or what inspires you in your work?
Getting to show up every day and work with a great group of smart, caring, and dynamic people.

Do you have any pets?
We have two rambunctious goldendoodles, Freya, four years old and Jesse, just under a year old. The puppy spends a large portion of her waking hours trying to get Freya to play with her with varying degrees of success. They are both sweet dogs that also, being dogs, have their moments….

What are your favorite hobbies?
My main hobbies including reading, strategy table-top gaming, running, and recreational soccer (with a capital R on the recreational). The running is mostly so that the soccer can keep happening while the reading and gaming form this odd feedback loop where a game will lead me to seek out a book on the topic or vice versa.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Two weeks as a door-to-door salesperson of educational books one summer in college.

What is the best concert you ever attended?
I’ve been lucky enough to see some amazing music over the years, including the first Lollapalooza tour, David Bowie’s Sound & Vision tour at the Meadowlands, Pearl Jam before anyone knew who they were, and Spoon’s Britt Daniel doing a solo acoustic set in Austin. However, the top show for me, acknowledging recency bias, has to be Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit supported by Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls at an outdoor venue in Madison a couple years back. Incredible night, incredible music.

What is your superpower?
Arguably two of them – I have the ability to stop and see things from the other person’s perspective, though it isn’t always an easy task. I also work hard to find the humor in even the toughest situations.

If you could have chosen another career path, what would you be doing?
Running a combination book, game, and comic store that also has amazing coffee onsite.