Daniel E. Smith

Founder & President


Dan Smith is founder and president of AdvocacySmiths, a strategic consulting firm that works with organizations to forge advocacy programs that lead to lasting, positive changes in public policy. With nearly 30 years experience in government, politics, and advocacy, Dan specializes in strategic planning, building organizational capacity, assembling coalitions, facilitating meetings, and leadership development.

Previously, Dan was staff director of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee where he oversaw a broad and diverse portfolio of issues. Major legislation passed during his tenure includes the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which assured final passage of the Affordable Care Act and reformed the nation’s student loan program. He was also instrumental in the successful effort to update the nation’s food safety laws for the first time in more than 70 years. In addition, an investigation of for-profit colleges Dan spearheaded uncovered practices that bilked taxpayers and left students with massive debt and worthless degrees.

Earlier Dan launched and led the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate. Over the course 10 years, Dan transformed a limited advocacy program into a nationwide grassroots powerhouse. Under Dan’s leadership, cancer patients and their families helped secure significant increases in federal investments in cancer research and prevention, expanded access to care, and enacted numerous smoke-free and tobacco tax policies that have reduced smoking-related illness and death.  Dan also founded One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), a vital coalition that continues to unite the cancer community to advance its agenda with the federal government.

Dan began his public service career as a state office director and then chief of staff to U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. Senator Harkin later named Dan minority staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Dan’s political experience includes managing the Iowa general election campaign for Clinton-Gore in 1992, directing delegate selection for Senator Harkin’s 1992 presidential run, and field organizing for Gore for President in 1988.

Dan was Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Iowa and earned a law degree at Georgetown University. After graduation, he practiced with Leonard, Street and Deinard in Minneapolis. Dan later completed the Executive Development Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

An Iowa native, Dan grew up the youngest of six boys on a fourth generation family farm. Dan now lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife and two children. 

Molly Daniels

Strategic advisor 

Photo Credit: Ruby Smith

Photo Credit: Ruby Smith

Molly Daniels is a strategic advisor to AdvocacySmiths. Known as a deft strategist, consensus builder, and inspirational leader, she has nearly 30 years of experience training, organizing, and mobilizing grassroots. 

Before joining AdvocacySmiths, Molly was Chief Advocacy Officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. In her 15 years at ACS CAN, Molly held a series of increasingly responsible positions as she led the launch, build-up and transformation of its grassroots network into a nationwide movement of nearly one million advocates. A cornerstone of the effort was the creation of a new grassroots model with a core force of 536 highly trained and motivated volunteer leaders representing each state and congressional district, including the District of Columbia. 

Molly was named Chief Advocacy Officer after her successful work as Deputy President to integrate the Society’s federal, state and local advocacy programs seamlessly into ACS CAN. The work involved expanding ACS CAN from a D.C.-based office of approximately 70 people to a nationwide staff of 220. 

Before that, Molly oversaw ACS CAN’s work to train and mobilize grassroots volunteers, cultivate leaders, expand partnerships, and impact state and local policy. Molly also managed ACS CAN’s campaign to urge Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act. 

Molly set the stage for ACS CAN’s phenomenal growth early in her tenure with her work on Celebration on the Hill 2002, a national event that brought thousands of advocates to Capitol Hill and elevated the organization’s national profile. Molly also conceived and directed a bus tour of the continental United States to rally advocates across the country in the run up to the event. 

Prior to the Society and ACS CAN, Molly spent twelve years at AARP as the head of their national grassroots program. Earlier she ran the volunteer advocacy program for the Older Women’s League, as well as legislative campaigns for the Long Term Care Campaign. 

Originally from Wichita, Daniels began her career practicing law after receiving her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Kansas. 




Auda Martinez, director of client services at AdvocacySmiths, has more than a decade of experience as a program manager, conference organizer, and senior aide to officials in the government, military, and nonprofit sector. Auda’s responsibilities include day-to-day client support, project planning and implementation, research, communications, and new business development. 

Auda also administers the Patient Quality of Life Coalition, a group of 25 nongovernmental organizations united to improve health care delivery for people with serious illnesses. In this role, she convenes meetings, organizes lobby day, tracks action items, and prepares official communications, including letters to Congress. 

Prior to AdvocacySmiths, Auda was a civilian contractor supporting the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) at its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Her responsibilities included managing training facilities, organizing conferences, performing research, and providing operational support to senior officers from every military service branch.

Earlier, Auda was executive assistant to the president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).  While there, she managed a comprehensive daily schedule, prepared briefing materials, managed administrative staff, and facilitated interactions with staff and volunteer leadership, government officials, partner groups, and other organizations.

Auda began her career helping Minnesotans resolve health insurance disputes and navigate the federal bureaucracy as a constituent advocate for U.S. Senator Mark Dayton. She later became the Senator’s administrative director, where she oversaw the Senator’s official schedule and managed his day-to-day activities. Simultaneously, Auda managed Senator Dayton’s Minnesota and Washington, D.C. residences and served as the primary point-of-contact on matters related to the Senator’s personal legal affairs and family business. 

Auda graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and has a Masters in Bioethics and Medical Law from St. Mary’s University in the United Kingdom.