Rita Smith began working as a crisis line advocate in a shelter for battered women and their children in Colorado in 1981. She has held numerous positions in Colorado and Florida since then in several local programs and the state coalitions, including program supervisor and director. She is currently the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where she has been working since late 1992. She has been interviewed by hundreds of newspaper reporters, appeared on many local and national radio and television news shows, including the Washington Post, USA Today, People Magazine, NPR, Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah Winfrey Show. She has co-authored a legal manual for attorneys working with domestic violence victims in Colorado, and in the fall of 1997, co-authored an article on child custody and domestic violence published in The Judges Journal (an American Bar Association publication). In December of 2011 she was named distinguished alumna of Polk State College. She believes that advocacy and social change are intricately connected, and can not be done separately.