Cast Spotlight: Cassandra Smiley

by stephaniejankowski on March 24, 2016

Sometimes, a gal’s name is incredibly fitting, ya know? Like today’s cast spotlight: Ms. Smiley exudes happiness and her gorgeous grin is contagious. Go on, look at it! We dare you not to smile, too!



Cassandra Smiley has worked in the non-profit and academic industries for almost twenty years.  She and her best friend/husband, Dan, are the proud parents of two incredibly talented, intelligent and justice-minded teens.  Their immediate family is part of two large, extended Pittsburgh families to whom they owe a great deal.  Cassandra is a distance runner, a gardener, and a perennial optimist. To learn more about Cassandra, check out her blog HERE!



Q: What is one of your favorite writings?

A: I really think that I peaked in third grade.  I wrote a poem for my parents that detailed the quantity of my love for them in specific amounts of containers, such as 14 buckets and three dishpans.  I enjoy to write poems that make me laugh and stories that make my writing group angry, because that’s when I have them hooked.


Q: What do you love most about Pittsburgh?

A: I think I’d love any town where I was surrounded by so many people obligated to love and support me.  But there is something about this city in particular, without question.  It’s large enough to have a diverse cultural scene, but small enough to get around without the commuter hassle of larger urban centers.  The rivers, the bridges, the neighborhoods, the history are all endearing if provincial.  But that is evolving, and as we attract more young people and businesses into the area, they will certainly help us along.


Q: What is the greatest gift that you were given as a young person?

A: There are two major values imparted to me by various family members.  1) You are primarily responsible for your own welfare and you owe it to the people who love you to take care of yourself.  This is the foundation upon which a life of generosity must be built. 2) The most civilizing experiences are not to be found in books or in board rooms, but in the overwhelming splendor of wilderness.


Q: What do wish most for your children?

A: I want them to be understood and valued for exactly who they are.  I hope they can, in turn, have the wisdom to understand and value others with the same compassion and respect.


Check out Casey’s smile in person at Listen to Your Mother Pittsburgh! Oh, and stick around for her words, too, because if there is a feature more beautiful than her sweet smile, it’s her big heart, and she’s sharing it with Pittsburgh on May 6th!


Photograph by Ashley Mikula Photography

Photograph by Ashley Mikula Photography

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