Meet the Howards

Jaha, Vanessa and their three children are Smyrna residents with a heart for community. Vanessa is a digital marketing strategist for Humana, and Jaha is a pediatric dentist in Vinings as well as a Cobb County School Board member-elect. We asked their thoughts on thankfulness and service.

Why did you choose Smyrna as the place to raise your family?

Jaha: Smyrna’s proximity to the city core and its diversity is what initially attracted us. We also fell in love with the idea that Smyrna has its best days ahead of it and that we can play a role.

Who inspires you?

Jaha: I am inspired by my dental office team. I get to witness daily how much they pour out for every child and parent we see. Their love for others is infectious and admirable.

Vanessa: I am inspired by my fellow moms who are supporting our schools in amazing ways. Parenting is hard enough, but so many go the extra mile for the sake of their child(ren) and for others.

What are you especially passionate about when it comes to your community and why?

Jaha: I am passionate about helping families of all walks of life work together toward common goals like good public schools. My faith in Christ drives this passion to genuinely love and value my neighbor. While division seems to be the mood of the times, I believe our community can demonstrate a positive way forward.

Vanessa: When families feel like they have strong options to provide a good education to their children, they invest and strengthen the community around them, making it more than just a place to live. We’re really passionate about being a part of that process.

What have you found to have the biggest impact on the betterment of the community as a whole?

Jaha: Having an appreciation of the variety of talented families in Smyrna has helped set the tone for improving our community.

Vanessa: Smyrna’s growth speaks for itself, and we truly believe that the strong schools, public or private, help build strong communities.
Has your serving in the community brought you closer together as a family?

Vanessa: 100 percent. When you put it all out there, it gets hard, and family is where we draw our strength.

Jaha: Yes, although it initially put a strain on our family. Thankfully, we’ve learned to prioritize and intentionally serve together as a family.  
Have you had any experiences that have changed you as a person?  

Vanessa: Realizing in life you have to trust and embrace the journey and not focus on the destination.

How has your way of thinking been challenged through this community service?

Jaha: We learn day by day to view things through the eyes of other people. This community is so different in experiences, ethnicity, income, etc. Learning empathy has been a humbling and fulfilling experience.

Vanessa: Being solutions-oriented for a diverse group of people with a diverse group of needs.

Describe your spouse in two words.

Vanessa: My inspiration.

Jaha: Lifesaver.

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