Russell A. Smith, LMSW, joined Refugee Services of Texas in July 2018 as CEO.Russell is a non-profit leader with over twenty-eight years of experience running non-profit and governmental organizations in Houston and Austin, including five and a half years running a Head Start program in Houston that served over 1,100 children and their families. He has worked across the age spectrum, from early childhood to school reform to the Alzheimer’s Association. Most recently, Russell was the Executive Director of Austin Child Guidance Center for almost eight years.

Russell holds a Master’s degree in Business from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Houston. He inherited his passion for working in the public sector from his grandmother, Bert Kruger Smith, an Austin icon who was active in philanthropy for over fifty years.

Russell has held many volunteer positions, from Runaway Hotline Volunteer to Management Consultant for the United Way to Chair of the Austin Local Advisory Board for First Book. He served on the board of the Austin Groups for the Elderly, the organization his grandmother started 30 years ago, and teaches classes at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas on grant writing / fund development and on financial management for non-profits. With two Executive Director colleagues, he developed and teaches continuing education classes on a variety of non-profit leadership topics.While in Houston, Russell taught Nonprofit financial management classes to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Houston School of Social Work, both as the sole professor as well as with co-instructors, including his UH classmate Brene’ Brown. Following two cancer diagnoses in three years, in 2021, Russell joined the board of Regarding Cancer, a small non-profit that connects people who receive cancer diagnoses and their families with peer-to-peer support.

Curriculum Vitae