Why CBS Podcast: April Tam Smith ’10

“Being an immigrant kid and seeing how hard my parents worked in a country they didn’t know taught me not to give up, but to have ‘grit.’”

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Photo: Mahmood Ahmed

April Tam Smith ’10 was born in Hong Kong and moved with her family to Miami when she was 11. “I am fortunate to have been an immigrant kid and having seen how my parents worked really, really hard in a place they don’t know to make it work for me, and make it work for us as a family, has taught me to just not give up and just have ‘grit.’”

Today, Tam Smith is laser-focused on social impact – whether it’s through business or her personal commitment to giving back. It’s transformed the way she defines ROI. She is the co-owner of P.S. Kitchen, a plant-based restaurant in New York City that focuses on the three branches of sustainability – economic, environmental, and social. For her demonstrated leadership and commitment to social enterprise, she received the Tamer Center's 2018 Social Enterprise Leadership Award.

“One thing in the social business world is thinking about return differently,” she says. “Tweaking that idea of wow, return could be challenging people to think about how they can give back differently. Return could be encouraging the idea of generosity in finance in New York. Helping people to look outwardly, [rather] than inwardly.”

In addition to P. S. Kitchen and her myriad charitable work, Tam Smith works full time in finance. She credits her parents, who built a life in the US as immigrants, for instilling in her the work ethic to be able to juggle finance, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.

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