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Anne Smith Towbes
The Introduction


An extraordinary woman…

First we’ll face the facts- I’ll tell you her background and a few of the things she has done and is doing…She is a very accomplished lady!

Anne Towbes is a native of Detroit and graduate of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in English.

  1. She taught English and Drama to students in grades 4 through 12 for the first 20 years of her professional life.
  2. Since moving to Santa Barbara full-time in 1991, Anne has been active in many charities.  She was President of the Parent Board of Cate School, served on the Board of SBCC for five years and was President of the Lobero Theater Board. Currently she is a Trustee of the SB Foundation and the Hutton Foundation.  She also Co-chairs the Rehabilitation Institute’s Campaign for Independence.
  3. Her Telethons on KEYT-TV, which she owns through Smith Media, support the Unity Shoppe’s purpose of encouraging self-sufficiency, Cottage Hospital’s Neonatal Care Center, and the Mentoring Program for the Council on Drug and Alcohol.
  4. Anne was honored when she and her late husband, Bob Smith, were named community heroes by the SB Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2002 and also when they were given a Lifetime Achievement award by the SB News Press in 2003.
  5. Anne has two children, Jennifer Smith Hale and Michael Smith.  Michael is Vice President of Marketing for Smith Media.  Jennifer is the President and Publisher of SB Magazine and the Founder and chair of C Magazine.  Anne serves as a consultant to both periodicals.  She recently married Michael Towbes, a beloved philanthropist, developer, banker and community leader with whom she has most everything in common.

Here are a few things you don’t know about Anne Smith Towbes!*

  1. Anne has always been interested in Drama.  She was in a TV performance at age 7 and, at 12, she wrote and recorded an original song, sang at record Hops and attempted to get Capitol Records to sign her but they chose 60’s teen idol, Leslie Gore, instead!
  2. Anne starred in high school musicals and in her girl’s camp musicals of “Carousel” and “Music Man”--as the male lead!
  3. She sang in a New Christy Minstrels’ type of folk group at coffeehouses at 17 & 18 and starred in “How to Succeed” at the University of Michigan.
  4. Anne traveled around the world for 3 months after graduating.   Then she returned to the U. of M. for her Masters in English.
  5. While teaching English and Drama in Maryland she directed “My Fair Lady,” “Man of La Mancha,” Gypsy” and “Fiddler.”

Today Anne has declined to sing her favorite song and to direct us all in her favorite musical!  But, she has agreed to be interviewed by Santa Barbara’s favorite News anchor of KEYT, Debby Davison, on her personal journey to self-esteem.

The Interview with Anne Smith Towbes

The interview of Anne Smith Towbes by Debby Davison resulted in an hour of interesting interaction between two close friends sharing stories from Anne’s life that told of her personal journey to self-esteem.  The first insight we had of Anne dealt with her attitude of optimism, joy and gratitude.  When asked where that came from, she gave credit to her mother who always and to this day says that Anne can do anything.

Anne described her mother as a woman with a super sense of humor, who was insecure herself, due to being born with sight in only one eye. She wanted her children to grow up thinking well about themselves, being secure and confident.  Anne’s mother made “being a mom her job.” 

Strong family ties give Anne a sense of self worth and security.  Though Anne had a “wonderful relationship with her mom” she had an even closer connection with her father and is as close to her sister, Suzy, as one can be.  Suzy is the author of Back from Betrayal, a book that describes the journey she and her husband traveled back to being in love again after he revealed that he had experienced several affairs during their 30 years together. Though they miraculously succeeded in saving their marriage, Susie’s health failed from all the stress.  She contracted cancer, fought   it and today is cancer free. (Suzy is doing fine now and is so grateful that she and her husband could face the challenges of her illness together.)  Her book has helped many people.  Since Anne was instrumental in getting Susie on two segments of the Oprah Show, she considers herself Susie’s PR Person! 

Anne has had more than her share of grief with the long illnesses and the eventual death of her first husband and her mother-in-law. The very serious illness of her only sister was even more for her to deal with.  When asked how she handled the sadness, she shared that she always looks for the gifts in disappointments!

 Even as a child, Anne wanted to be a teacher.  She set out her dolls, made a lesson plan and taught them, envisioning herself as the teacher she eventually would become.  She loved her profession—teaching--and used music, which she wrote, to help her pupils remember how to tell a noun, from a verb and an adverb.  Anne’s creativity made her a favorite teacher for many of her students.

Anne is very generous with her time, answering e-mails, spending time with her many close friends and giving back to her community yet she takes time to do something for herself everyday.  So where does the strength come for such a demanding schedule?  Anne watches what she eats--she loves to hike, ride bikes, practice yoga, play the piano and is a winning tennis player as well as a supporter of cultural events and foundations.  

It was clear, from a very personal story that she related regarding her first date with Michael Towbes that Anne listens to, feels and follows her intuitions.  She described feeling a warm hand on her back pushing her to talk to Michael at a Christmas party in 2005.  She let the warm hand guide her to talk and meet with him.  That meeting and subsequent incredible coincidences led her to her marriage to Michael.

Finally Anne does what she fears, is always on time or calls if she will be late, and keeps her word.  She is real, authentic, open and a lover of all—which keeps her hugging rather than shaking hands!

*The underlined phrases note characteristics of people with high self-esteem.

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