Missy Smith is a lifelong Michigander and mom to 4 lovely daughters ages 13-16. She works in early childhood systems building in northern Michigan as the parent liaison and co-coordinator for Great Start of Traverse Bay, Michigan’s early childhood initiative aimed at improving outcomes for children. As a former elementary classroom teacher for over 10 years, she holds degrees in education from both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, working with children and families for over 30 years. Her youngest daughter, Bernice, is her reason for service to the congenital heart community. “Bernie” was born at 30 weeks with Down syndrome and an atrioventricular septal defect, requiring several operations her first year of life. She is now 13 and has 5 open heart surgeries under her belt and continues to be an immense source of shared joy for her family. Bernie receives her care at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Missy’s interests include spending time with friends and family, creative projects of all kinds, walking, and attending Jason Mraz concerts whenever possible.