Elizabeth (Liz) Smith has served as Assistant Director for L&I's Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards division since April 2013 — she oversees the statewide worker's comp fraud prevention systems (field audit, collections, civil and criminal investigations, detection & tracking, and construction compliance) as well as the Washington State labor standards enforcement programs, which includes Employment Standards, Prevailing Wage, and Apprenticeship.
"I have always been fascinated and amazed by the magic and mystery of government. We came together as a nation specifically for the purpose of creating our own system of governance, and it is the glue that holds us together as a nation. I have always wanted to play a role in making these systems work, for building and improving our democracy."
"I guess a problem that stood in my way was that I have always been a bit of an oddball. I think this has made me more empathetic and understanding, valuing people who are different."
"Early in my career, I worked for an elected official. She was a bit of an outsider herself – a Latina who was working in a very “old school” political environment. She was an example of how someone who was new and different could come into an institution and work with it to make change."
"As my mentor, she gave me a role model of how someone could be different, and yet use their “difference-ness” to effect and change an institution. Without being a threat, she found ways to build alliances, allegiances, and make change happen from the within."
"One of the things I learned was that it is OK to be different, it is good to be different, and you have to figure out how to use your differences as your strength. Make the most of your talents and strengths. Assess yourself, assess the world around you, and find venues and opportunities where your unique skills, talents, and experiences are an advantage."
"For me, I had a unique mind for learning and remembering policy, law and technical details – and I have a good ability to understand, accept and relate to people who are special, unusual, and different. Accept them for who and what they are, and find ways to utilize those strengths. These two aspects help me in my job every day, a job where I get to lead people and policy for the benefit of the State of Washington and it’s citizens."
"I have been lucky to have found a niche in being in a leadership role in public administration – and I get to make a difference in the lives of workers and families. I love the feeling that I am fully using my talents, and I love knowing that I get to do that in a way that makes people’s lives better."
"I try to mentor others in any way I can – informational interviews, providing advice when asked, telling my story, helping others “on the outside looking in” see how they can learn from my journey. I try to be an example of someone who is happy and comfortable being “on her own path,” and is finding success."