Marilyn Jean Smith

Marilyn Jean Smith


Marilyn Jean Smith is the founder and former Executive Director (1986-2011) of the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) in Seattle, and is considered the Mother of the Anti-Violence Movement in Deaf America. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Her work at ADWAS brought many awards including from President Clinton, Gallaudet University, the National Association for the Deaf, Deaf Women United, and the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority. Other recognitions include the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World award, The Sunshine Lady award, the National Network to End Domestic Violence award, Bank of America Hero Award, and the Deaf Hope Trailblazer Award, among others. She received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Gallaudet University in 2004. 

Marilyn was Distinguished Alumnus Fellow at Gallaudet University in 2012 and is currently Principal of The Leading Edge, LLC and does workshops on domestic violence, sexual assault, leadership, board development, fund development, grant writing, personal ethics, organizational development, and non profit management. She is also a motivational keynote speaker.  She works throughout the United States and Canada. 

Marilyn’s term runs from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019.  This is her first term.