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Traci Shirachi

SmartStart Evaluation and Research Inc. CEO/President Non Profit Newport Beach, CA
About Traci
This year I hit the milestone age of 40 years old. I have never felt more empowered, to make a positive impact as a working mother, to inspire and support others! I've been married to my husband, a Secret Service agent, for the last four years (known each other for nine years). We have one 2.5 year old daughter, Kylie, and a son, Wyatt, who recently passed away (5 days old) a few months ago.
For the last 18 years I worked as a business consultant for many companies, and spent most of my career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). I consulted with large and small high growth companies, all with a shared passion and ambition to succeed. As a Director with PwC, I always had an entrepreneurial spirit cultivated and mentored by the best partners of the firm. I was trained to become each client's trusted advisor and seek the title of Partner within the firm. However, as a working mother something was lacking aside from passion. Working mothers more than anything need to feel empowered rather than made to feel inadequate. As a mom I struggled with the priority of work vs. family and defining myself as an individual professional. I no longer saw myself seeking the title of Partner within PwC after motherhood which was a difficult professional challenge. Thus, in 2017, I left PwC to find a new career path. I took a risk and I trusted my entrepreneurial spirit, and decided to acquire a company. Today, I own and manage, SmartStart Evaluation and Research Inc. (SmartStart), a company that is over ten years old that focuses on providing evaluation services to non-profit and government entities.
As the new owner of SmartStart, I want to grow the business beyond its current size of $1 million in revenue , and help further the goals/objectives of my clients, or the non-profits of the world who seek to make a greater positive impact on society. I also want to personally make a positive, impactful, and forever life changing difference on individual lives. Specifically for the lives of moms who have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage or other means. To provide them with the support and legacy or living example of how to live life again, both professionally and personally in a manner that will honor their child.

Live deeply

How many kids? Ages?

Kylie Chhiap / Female / 2 years old

Interested In

Collaborating, Consulting, Finding a Mentor, Friendship, Mentoring, Networking

Words you live by/quotes you love

Live deeply

What special skill, talent or gift would you like to give back to the community?

Heartfelt compassion for community, to give more, and a passion/drive/ambition to live life to the fullest.

What is your biggest business challenge right now?

My biggest challenge is finding other working moms who are driven, entrepreneurial minded, and have a shared passion for succeeding in their work/career as well as family. Most moms I know have had to choose between one or the other i.e.-family or career.

What do you want to achieve in 2018, personally and professionally?

Professionally I want to ensure that SmartStart grows in 2018 and is prepared for even bigger growth in 2019. Personally I want to make a bigger impact on individual lives by contributing more through my business because our work directly impacts the work of non-profits/foundations.

What is one thing that would be game-changing for your business right now?

To do more work for non-profits/foundations, outside of universities.

Why do you want to be a part of heymama?

I want to join heymama because the other women and mothers that are part of this community/network, share the same passion as myself. It's the group of women, I've been looking for in the OC and been waiting for it to not only be available in NYC but other cities/areas.

The passion that heymama has that I also share, is one that wants to embolden, support, and help other working mothers both personally and professionally. I don't want any mom to feel the way I did in 2016 after so much of my life had previously been defined by my career, and all of a sudden I had to choose between family or my career. I had lost my self-identity and yet was trying to raise a child with a lost sense of self. I was fortunate to eventually find myself again, professionally, when I acquired SmartStart, but I don't want other moms to have to go through such. I want to help working mothers re-define themselves or discover themselves/self-identity, and find/live their heartfelt passion aside from family.

At the same time, as a working mother I've also faced a tragic loss by losing my son, Wyatt. I want to help other moms find their way to overcome such loss, personally and professionally. All the while, through heymama I also need the support of other working mothers to also help me continue to overcome this loss through their own personal and professional mentorship/support.

xx Traci Shirachi

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