You wouldn’t know it, but “40 Under Forty” honoree Zachary Smith says he was bullied as a kid and through high school. It was during a two-year missionary tour in South America that he shook off the resulting lack of self-confidence to realize he could do anything he decided to do. “And I’ve never really looked back,” he says.

From a career interest in healthcare, Smith further focused on administration in that field. A Masters degree brought his commissioning as a U.S. Navy officer and service with the Marines. He’s still in the Reserves, but he left active duty in 2015 to become COO and practice administrator at Evergreen Eye Center in Federal Way.

Around home, he is a Gig Harbor Fire District commissioner, incoming president of the PTA where some of his five children attend school and volunteer bible study teacher for high school students.

“To me, success is impacting the world around you for the better,” Smith says, “and there are lots of ways to do that.” Judges agreed that Zachary Smith is definitely doing so and named him to 2016 “40 Under Forty” recognition.

Honoree Alicia Ferris is in her second career (following outdoor recreation in Alaska) and has been moving upward rapidly since becoming a licensed Mental Health Counselor a dozen years ago. From intern to therapist, then clinical supervisor and programs director. 

Today, she is clinical director at Olympia’s Community Youth Services, creating a broad range of youth-focused mental health services within the 40+ year-old child welfare non-profit. With her at the helm, the agency is out to reach a very under-served population that tends to drop out of services.

“If we can figure out how best to meet the needs of our youth, and this can be replicated across the state, we can effectively transform lives and, therefore, our communities,” Ferris explains about the year-old efforts that are all outcome-based.

Collaborators at Portland State and University of Washington, along with Thurston-Mason Behavioral Health Care Organization and the state government’s children’s mental health administrator all believe the early indicators are promising.

Alicia Ferris has other backers, too, like the rest of United Way Thurston County’s Women’s Leadership Council and various other residents who encounter her in community volunteer efforts. They agree with judges who named Ferris a “40 Under Forty” honoree.

You can meet Zachary and Alicia, plus 38 other remarkable members of the 2016 class of 40 hororees at their celebration on Wednesday, August 17, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets and more information are at this link.