Anita (Häkkilä) Smiley

anitaImmediate Past President @

Anita (Häkkilä) Smiley was born to Finnish immigrant parents in the very lively Finnish community of Canterbury, Connecticut. Finnish was spoken at home. Her selection as an International Farm (4-H) Youth Exchange (IFYE) delegate to Finland for six months in 1956 strengthened her Finnish roots and led to her giving presentations on Finland, involvement in Finnish-American endeavors and a passion for organizing group tours to Finland.

Smiley’s career as a high school and community college business education instructor included serving on the board of the Connecticut Business Educators Association as secretary and president.

Involvement with her Finnish heritage includes 20 years on the board of the Finnish American Heritage Society in Canterbury, where she served three years as president; founder in 1987 of FinnFunn Weekends in the Northeast and serving as co-chair for seven of those weekends; serving on the committee for FinnFest ‘98 held in Maine; and eight years as a FFN trustee during which she held the positions of secretary for eight years and four years as president. Coordinating numerous group tours in the United States and overseas, including 20 tours to Finland, has become a hobby.

Anita, who has dual citizenship in Finland and the U.S., is married to Jack Smiley. They have three children and five grandchildren.