There are lots of great reasons to follow in your parent’s footsteps. Having someone who can tell you firsthand the ins and outs of a job, and what it takes to get your foot in the door, or how to move up the ladder. For Renee Smith, RN, MSN and Executive Director of In-Home Care at Day Kimball Hospital, that’s just the way it happened. Renee’s mother, Elizabeth, was a nurse at Day Kimball in the HomeCare department and recruited her daughter to join her. Renee took her mother’s recommendation and joined Day Kimball HomeCare as a primary care nurse in 1997, where she and her mother worked together in the field for a few years until her mother retired.
So it would seem natural for Renee’s daughter Rachael, 21, to choose to follow in her mother’s footsteps too. And she has, but it’s not what you might think. “She wants nothing to do with bodily fluids, or working in a corporate setting!” Renee laughed. Rachael chose the less traditional route by not pursuing a career in medicine, as her mother and grandmother did, and instead recently moved to Los Angeles after graduating from Johnson & Wales University to follow her dream of a career in the music industry! So, how does that relate to the old saying “like mother, like daughter?”
You see, Renee is deeply passionate about music too, and just attended Revolution Rock, an all-day rock festival, at Foxwoods Resort and Casino with her husband, Brian. But her love for music began a long time ago, back when she was nearer to her daughter’s age.
It was the mid 80’s and the summer after graduating from high school and before going off to college. Renee, a self-proclaimed “hipster,” packed her bags and headed out on the road for the summer tour for The Grateful Dead, a band she has continued to follow for the last 3 decades. Renee traveled all over the country following the band that summer, and recalls her favorite show of theirs taking place at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, just outside of Denver, Colorado. “It was the farthest I had ever traveled from home at that time. I absolutely loved the mountains and scenery. Their shows are always so fun and carefree, everybody is friendly and peaceful. There is such a sense of community and I instantly become friends with whoever is dancing beside me at a concert!” she said.
Renee returned home and went on to attend college at UCONN, where she remained on the Dean’s List, despite her frequent road trips to tour with the Dead. She continues to attend Grateful Dead concerts as often as she can, most recently catching two shows this past summer at Fenway Park in Boston with her friend Chrissy.
Read on to learn more about how the legacy of healthcare and rock and roll continues, in this edition of 13 Questions with Renee Smith...
1. I grew up in: Killingly, CT. Graduated from Killingly High School and UCONN School of Nursing.
2. Who’s on your playlist? Everything from Justin Bieber to Disturbed. I recently subscribed to Apple Music and am loving it because my taste in music is all over the place!
3. What’s your favorite movie? Anything by M. Night Shyamalan…… The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water….. I love them all. Even after seeing so much of his work, somehow I still get lost in the storytelling and never see the mind-blowing plot twist that turns everything upside down at the end coming.
4. What’s your favorite color? Purple
5. What was the last thing you read? Other than social media posts or email, that would be People magazine. My mom has a subscription and always brings me a huge pile whenever she visits. Even though I’m usually about a month behind, I still love reading all the stories and checking out the Hollywood fashion do’s and don’ts.
6. Who is your hero? Anyone who devotes their life to rescuing animals. I follow an endless list of rescue groups on Facebook, and I just can’t get enough of the before and after videos that show how just a little love and attention can completely change the lives of abandoned and abused animals, along with the lives of the humans who adopt them!
7. Pets or no pets? (name them, if so.) Dogs!!!!! We have a 12 year old Shih Tzu named Opie that we adopted from another family, and a 6 year old Pitty Mix named Tucker, that we rescued from a shelter in Georgia.
8. Name something on your bucket list. To visit Italy, Spain, or Greece, or even better….all three in one nice, long, trip!!!!
9. What’s your “go-to” comfort food? Pizza or pasta for dinner, ice cream or anything chocolate for dessert.
10. Smartphone, tablet or desktop? iPad and iPhone. I have both with me constantly. With my growing dependence on “readers” over the past year or so, I’d love to have an iPhone the size of my iPad!
11. People would be surprised to know that I: Have seen the Grateful Dead over 100 times. Most recently I saw them at Fenway Park for two nights this past July. Several of my old friends traveled to the shows from different parts the country, and we had an absolute blast reminiscing and dancing like we did thirty years ago!
12. What’s your current health focus (for yourself, personally)? Regular exercise of some type has been part of my daily routine for as long as I can remember, and teaching or getting “certified” in something fitness-related was on my bucket list for years. This past January, I finally decided to do something about it and enrolled in a Personal Training Certification course which I successfully completed in August. Also this year, I became certified to teach TRX Suspension Training and Pound Fitness, a cardio and strength workout inspired by drumming. If you happen to be at the Hale YMCA and Youth Center on a weeknight or weekend, you might just see me rocking out in the group fitness studio with my Pound Posse!
13. What’s your favorite place in Northeast Connecticut? Our corner of the state is so beautiful; it’s hard to choose just one spot. If I did have to pick, I might have to say my own backyard. I especially love spending time out on the patio or playing cornhole, a game that has recently become a family obsession of ours.
Bottom Right: Renee at daughter Rachael’s graduation from Johnson & Wales University, with son, Jacob