Under her leadership, we can work together to build a city where we all thrive.
See a condensed list of Nancy’s achievements here.
Nancy Smith was elected to the Sunnyvale City Council in November 2016 and was named Vice Mayor in January 2020. She serves as the City’s representative to the Water Commission of Valley Water, on the Caltrain Modernization Local Policy Makers Group and as Vice Chair of the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority and Vice Chair of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Committee for the County of Santa Clara. She also serves on the League’s Housing Production Working Group and serves as treasurer for the League’s Peninsula Division.
Vice Mayor Smith works as a program manager at NVIDIA Corp, the world leader in visual computing technologies. She served on non-profit boards starting in her 20s, and helped found the Third Street Community Center. Eventually, she shifted her focus to politics and serving on boards and commissions in her community and county before running for office.
She currently serves as the chair of the League of California Cities Women’s Caucus, an organization dedicated to supporting over 800 elected municipal women in leadership in the state of California to build their networks and influence. Serving as president in such a momentous year as the 100th anniversary of the women gaining suffrage in the United States is an honor she cherishes.
Her service on behalf of residents of the City of Sunnyvale builds from Nancy having always been active in her community. In Dallas in the 1980s and early 1990s, she served on the boards of several non-profits. She served for five years on the executive committee of the Board of North Dallas Shared Ministries, an organization that provided emergency food and rental assistance. She served as the Advocacy Chair. In that position, she headed up letter writing campaigns to push for policies at the city, county, state and federal levels to provide fair and equitable treatment of low-income people.
Like many residents of Sunnyvale, Nancy’s story began outside of California, but it was here that she found home, a successful career and community. Nancy grew up in Illinois and in 1986 earned her BA in Mathematics from Olivet Nazarene University. She was a part of a new generation of young women in technology and engineering that would revolutionize society – both in how we communicate and the faces of those making the change.
Nancy began her career as an executive in a biomedical imaging firm in Dallas, and even early in her career, she found time for community service. She volunteered on the board of directors of a non-profit providing emergency assistance to families in need.
In 1994, she relocated with her husband to Sunnyvale to be a part of the new Silicon Valley. Back in Illinois or college, she was well known to everyone in town as a clerk in her parents’ hardware store, and many who knew here then are cheering her on as she expands her accomplishments.
Since moving to California, she helped found the Third Street Community Center in downtown San Jose. She developed the curriculum that teaches basic computer skills to adult learners and set up a program that gives computers to graduates of the program. She served as interim director while the organization conducted a candidate search.
Nancy felt she could be of greater service as a policy maker rather than a non-profit advocate. To start that journey from community volunteer to elected leader, she applied for and was accepted for Leadership Sunnyvale, class of 1999-2000. After graduating, she served on the City of Sunnyvale Housing and Community Services Commission. After that, she was appointed to the board of the County of Santa Clara Housing and Community Development Commission and, later to the Valley Water Environmental and Water Resources Committee, where, during her time as Chair, she set up an innovative system of independent working groups to enable commissioners to explore policy issues and community concerns. She raised community voices through independent working groups that brought policy gaps to the attention of the Board. Her proudest achievement was the “Policies for Addressing Homeless Pollution of Streams.” Efforts to address the issue humanely were included in 2016’s Measure A initiative that passed, bringing long needed resources to the housing crisis.
She joined Rotary in 2006. Nancy served as President of the Sunnyvale Rotary Club from 2011-12. Under her leadership, the Rotary-sponsored youth club at Homestead High School grew from 40 to over 200 members. Her passions are for social and economic justice, self-expression and connecting with people. She established Virtuous Corporation™ method as a way to help people in organizations ensure the organizations live up to the ideals of their participants. She remains an active member to this day, and enjoys sharing updates from the community during the monthly club luncheons.
In 2016, She volunteered with the Department of Engineering at Santa Clara University to develop curriculum for the Experiential Learning for Social Justice track to connect community members with engineers-in-training to discuss paving educational pathways for all. That year, she also established the Virtuous Corporation™ Method as a way to help people hold their companies and organizations accountable for living up to the ideals of their participants. Bringing voices together to action embolden her desire to do even more, and in 2016 decided to run for City Council.
She was elected with the largest vote total ever for a City Council candidate in Sunnyvale history. You can read more about her work and accomplishments during her time on City Council here.
When, at the beginning of 2020, Nancy was appointed to Vice Mayor, its the first time a woman had served in this role since 2015, and it has been since 2012 that a woman has been Mayor. After a year of community engagement and collaboration, on the March 3, 2020 Primary ballot, Sunnyvale voters were asked if they would like the city to become Council by district, no longer seat, dividing Sunnyvale into 6 districts, and directly electing the Mayor. While Nancy was a champion for seeing Sunnyvale update the City’s governance, working with the community brought important benefits. Listening to the voices of the community helped move Nancy to run for Mayor. As Sunnyvale steps into a new future, with a more empowered democratic voice, she is running to put vision to action, and be the steward Sunnyvale deserves as we continue to navigate a public health emergency, and tackle all the issues that we face for today and our future.
Nancy is passionate for economic and social justice, self-expression, exploring innovative ideas and connecting with the community. Nancy believes that when we work together, we make our community stronger. And when we do it so every young girl, every child with parents born an ocean away, we all thrive and are lifted up. Nancy is ready to be Mayor and bring Sunnyvale to unity, working together, and realize our hopeful vision of Sunnyvale’s future.
Nancy and her husband Wade enjoy spending time walking around Ponderosa Park together every morning. He started out as a medical researcher, but now works as a hardware designer for computer chips. They recently bought their own pair of ice skates in anticipation of the return of a winter ice rink to downtown Sunnyvale.