FC Dallas COO/CFO Jimmy Smith leads with a community-first agenda.
Jimmy Smith enjoying a moment during a My Possibilities field dedication.

Whether on the sprawling complex of fields in and around FC Dallas (FDC) home of Toyota Stadium or in an intimate high school basketball gym, Jimmy Smith is in his element in many of the spaces where we play.

A standout basketball player in his youth who went on to play for Texas A&M, Smith now oversees many elements of FC Dallas, serving as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the club, Toyota Stadium, FCD Youth, and the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He also serves as treasurer and sits on the board of the FC Dallas Foundation.

Since that wasn't enough, he's also been chipping in with the successful bid that brought 2026 FIFA World Cup matches to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and now is working with the governing body to ensure success.

While Smith is clearly getting plenty of work done, he's also spending lots of his time thinking about how to use his time most effectively. Often that means relying on others and being comfortable with delegating tasks. Where others may overextend themselves trying to do too much, Smith said that, just like his days on the basketball court, he's confident that when he sets up a teammate, they'll help secure a win.

"One of the most important things any leader can do for an organization is to get the right people in the right role. Your job as a leader is to provide them the resources and environment for them to succeed," Smith said. "I believe that giving my colleagues agency in decision-making while serving as a resource for them when they need it has been the most successful approach."

There's an element of risk in letting go and putting trust in a team, even a talented one that you've assembled.

Yet, Smith has confidence that his teammates will get the job done, having found that even with as many different areas as FCD operates in, there are a few basic truths when it comes to managing that risk and making sure things go as planned. "I believe there are two keys: Communication and having a diverse leadership group that's committed to making the team better," Smith said.

It's easy to find people who like to talk about that commitment, but tougher to find, whether it's in a co-worker, a player or a corporate partner.

FCD's relationship with Gallagher, however, quickly flourished thanks to the shared foundations of teamwork, trust, being partners in the community and a savvy approach to managing risk.

"Our relationship with Gallagher is a perfect example of two organizations coming together to help each other grow," he said. "In a very short period, we learned that Gallagher is focused on providing world-class service. This focus comes from each Gallagher employee taking time and having a genuine interest to get to know our business.

"This starts with our core values being aligned with doing things the right way and being committed to making our community a better place."

In fact, while Toyota Stadium is known as the place where FC Dallas plays, the team works hard to make sure its footprint goes well beyond the downtown Frisco campus where its stadium and other fields sit.

"We think of the community in everything we do. I'm proud to be involved in the FC Dallas Foundation and our Homegrown Partner Program. The FCD Foundation supports programs that promote education, health and wellness to empower youth and communities in North Texas," Smith said. "The FC Dallas Homegrown Partner Program supported by Gallagher provides minority-owned business in the club's marketing territory with individually customized FC Dallas sponsorship packages."

From a cookie baker within walking distance of the stadium and a Mexican paleta shop, to a custom suit business and an ad agency, those businesses and others have benefitted from the Homegrown Partner Program and introduced fans in the North Texas area to some of their new favorite local merchants to support.

It's just another way for FCD to feel a true part of the Dallas-Fort Worth community and not simply a sports "property" or a cold business.

It's another example in which the spaces where we play extend beyond the pitch and the concourse and even the fields where the next generation of talent is developed and into the neighborhoods that fans return to after gathering for a match.

And, for Smith, it's another chance to put the values shared by FCD and Gallagher into action. He has built his expertise by speaking with those around him, taking in lessons from both those in positions above him and those he's managing as well.

"I have been fortunate to work with some incredible people, and I try to incorporate the knowledge I have learned from them every day," Smith said.

That mentality started early on for Smith, learning how to become a great teammate on the hardwood before figuring out how to support an organization looking to host World Cup matches, develop the next generation of great American players and lift Major League Soccer cups.

While Smith imagined becoming a professional athlete, he quickly realized he could put the values he showed playing sports into practice in the business world.

"There are countless lessons learned while playing sports that can also lead to numerous career opportunities," Smith said. "You don't need to become a professional athlete to reap the return on hours of training and practice as a young athlete."

Nor do you need to become a professional focused on just one thing to reap the return of hours of experience and expertise acquired over more than 25 years working in sports.

With the values of expertise, community and a thoughtful approach to risk management shared by FC Dallas and Gallagher, Smith continues to feel in his element in so many of life's arenas.