We've known Tamsin Smith since she was the head of Government Affairs for Gap Inc. Tamsin is smart, funny and one of the most sincerely altruistic women we know. Looking to do work that would truly give something back, Tamsin made the inspiring move to become President of PRODUCT (RED), an initiative created by Bono and Bobby Shriver to harness private sector creativity and the purchasing power of individual consumers to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.
Tamsin Smith is the single mother of two amazing kids, Scully (5) and Tabitha (2). She lives with them in San Francisco, California.
How many hours a week do you work? Do you work exclusively in the office, exclusively from home or some combination?
I work more than forty hours a week, but please don't make me count. Our office is in Los Angeles. I live in San Francisco and work from a home office while there. My third office is Southwest Airlines and the sky miles between southern and northern California.
Could you describe your childcare situation?
My daughter is in daycare and my son in kindergarten. I have a friend masquerading as a nanny who helps me drop off and pick up the kids, provides cover if my flights are late, preps the lunchboxes, and makes sure I have a meal myself now and again.
Did your mom work while you were growing up? What did she do?
My younger sister and I grew up with a single mom who worked. She’s a cell biologist, who had her own lab at the university growing up. Now she’s the CEO of a biotech company that develops single-dose oral vaccines for global health challenges like cholera and rotavirus, which kills millions of children in developing countries. To my kids, she is GaGa . . . I believe that translates as Goddess to them. No, she’s not an easy act to follow.
How often do you have dinner with your children? What are the last three dinners you made for your kids? Did you eat the same thing they did?
I am a single mom with shared custody. I have my kids three or four evenings every week. This makes every second that much more precious, so I never miss dinner. It also means, they get their favorite. Spaghetti. Spaghetti. Spaghetti. I usually eat their leftovers, but with a very good glass of wine.
Do you travel for your job? How often? Do you try to avoid it when you can or do you consider it the great escape?
I travel constantly, but try to plan it for the days that I’m not scheduled to have my kids with me. I’m basically an air traffic controller, but what mom — working or not — isn’t.
What do you think about the so-called Mommy Wars?