Where do you think the president of TEI’s Silicon Valley Chapter works? If you guessed Google, you’d be right—as long as you didn’t google it first.
Daniel Smith, head of the Silicon Valley Chapter since July 2021, has successfully navigated pandemic concerns in the months since assuming the presidency of the chapter. “What is most amazing,” he says, “is all the work that our leadership team has contributed to ensure that seminars and other activities have continued during the pandemic when we have not been able to meet in person. Seminars have continued online and have provided quality continuing education for our members. We eventually had an in-person social event, experimented with a hybrid seminar, and what I am most excited [about] for now is that we are starting to have in-person seminars again. All that is with much thanks and appreciation to our team that has been creative, resourceful, and determined to keep the chapter very active during these unusual times.”
What’s on the docket for the chapter in 2022? “Getting back to in-person events!” Smith says. “We are excited to see each other again in person, and that is starting up again this year with in-person seminars and social events.”
Smith advises other chapter leaders to follow their passions in considering what initiatives to prioritize: “I think what people excel at is whatever they are most passionate about, so I would focus on what you are excited about over what you feel obligated to focus on. Not that everything we need to do is exciting, but if you can devote more energy to things that you are excited about, you will be more productive, meet your goals more easily, and feel a better sense of accomplishment when you reach your goals.”
Smith became interested in the tax field when he took his first tax course in law school. Before arriving at Google, Smith worked for a couple of large law firms that provided a valuable perspective on his current job. “Working in professional services firms is a great way to get exposure to lots of technical issues, and that is a good base for then working in-house,” he explains. “Even for those who eventually want to work at companies, it is a good way to learn how to be a tax professional at the start of your career.”
The Google Experience
Google is a dynamic business—lots of different products, operating all over the world, with cutting-edge and uncommon tax issues, all of which makes the company a good place to learn, according to Smith.
The TEI Experience
Smith is bullish on TEI: “By far, the most important part of TEI is the people. TEI has a number of important missions, but the networking is the most enjoyable and important to me. Also, as you interact with many interesting, smart people, you can learn so many new things.”
When it comes to his greatest accomplishment, Smith prefers to look ahead. “I like to focus on the next goal and challenges, rather than focus too much on completed goals. There is so much happening in the tax world right now, including with potential tax reform and OECD plans, so I am really focused on that,” explains Smith, who is a vice chair of the tax committee of Business at OECD, known as BIAC.
When not engrossed in tax issues, Smith likes to go outside, visit the gym, and travel (he has lived on three different continents), activities he says have stalled because of the pandemic but are picking up again.