Janet Marie Smith

Janet Marie Smith
Founder/Executive Chair | EVP, Planning and Development
Canopy Team | Los Angeles Dodgers

In 2022, Janet Marie Smith and Fran Weld, formed Baltimore based “Canopy”, a woman-led company devoted to the design and management of sports projects and their surrounding developments. Dedicated to urban revitalization and community enrichment, Canopy specializes in large-scale projects which seamlessly blend sports, design, and urban planning as well as intimate scales within museums, retail, and public parks.

Trained as architect and urban planner Janet Marie Smith is well known for her work on Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, which set the standard for a new wave of ballparks after its opening in 1992. Smith worked for the Orioles from 1989-94 as Vice President of Planning and Development during the design and construction of the park. She later re-joined the club from 2009-12 to direct renovations and expansion of the Orioles’ spring training facility in Sarasota, FL., and upgrades to Camden Yards.

For the past 12 years, Smith has overseen the large-scale improvement/expansion projects at Dodger Stadium and Campo Las Palmas (the club’s home in the Dominican Republic). From modernizing the stadium to incorporating the club’s rich history into the ballpark experience, Smith’s fan-friendly touches have helped keep Dodger Stadium – the third-oldest ballpark in baseball – one of the premier venues in all of sports. Smith initially joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as a Senior Vice President in 2012 and was promoted to her current role as Executive Vice President of Planning and Development in 2020.

Additionally, Smith has recently completed the planning and design for Polar Park in Worcester, home of the Worcester Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. She has also conceived a series of short-term improvements to Stamford Bridge in London, the home of Chelsea Football Club, overseen the design of PNC Park improvements in Pittsburgh, and provided advisory services to Paris Basketball for their new home in Adidas Arena.

From 2002-2009, Smith served as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Boston Red Sox, overseeing the preservation and expansion of Fenway Park. Smith was President of Turner Sports and Entertainment Development and Vice President of Planning and Development for the Atlanta Braves from 1994-2000, when she helped transform the 1996 Olympic Stadium into Turner Field and guided the development of the Philips Arena (now State Farm Arena), home to the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

Outside of baseball, Smith has worked on development projects including Battery Park City in New York, unfulfilled plans for Pershing Square in LA, the redevelopment of former industrial buildings on Baltimore’s waterfront, as well as renovation plans for the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, CA.

Smith was the Edward P. Bass Visiting Professor at Yale University School of Architecture during the Fall of 2017 and has served as a guest lecturer and critique for various other schools of architecture, including Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Morgan State University’s School of Architecture & Planning. In 2014, Smith was named one of WISE LA’s Women of Inspiration, inducted into the Sports Business Journal “Class of Champions” in 2017, and cited as one of the most powerful women in sports in 2019 by Ad Week.

A native of Jackson, Miss., Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in urban planning from City College of New York. In 2020, she was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

“The three most important things that have happened in baseball since the Second World War were Jackie Robinson taking the field for Brooklyn in 1947, free agency arriving in 1975, and Orioles Park at Camden Yards opening in 1992… The last was an act of heroic nostalgia, but, then, baseball fans are disposed to live with cricks in their necks from looking backwards. Which is why Major League Baseball owes a debt to a willowy woman from Mississippi. To those who said, ‘You can’t turn back the clock,’ Janet Marie Smith responded with ‘Well, we’ll just see about that.’” – Will, George. A Nice Little Place on the North Side. Three Rivers Press, 2014.

Quotes about Janet Marie Smith :

Quotes from Janet Marie Smith:

  • “I’ve always been an orchestra conductor. I don’t play any instruments. I just conduct the orchestra … I always shudder when I read ‘she was the designer of something.’ ... Often I put together a design team that I know will hear what I’m saying, but I don’t actually draw those things. I guide it.” – Global Sports Matters’s “Love that retro look of your ballpark? Thank Janet Marie Smith. October 1, 2019.
  • Q. Advice for others hoping to follow in your footsteps? A: “There is no such thing as “majoring in sports” — find what you can bring to the table that is additive or changes the way sports are experienced.” – Adweek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports. July 8, 2019.
  • Q. Your strategy for success? A: “There is no way, no matter how long you have worked in sports that you can be smarter than passionate fans!  There is no such thing as trying to be “innovative” for the sake of being “innovative.” Do the right thing for this time and place and respond to what fans and the space are telling you. By doing that, you can be innovative. We will never know for another generation what will stand the test of time. One of the things I love about baseball is that fans seldom separate the game from the venue.  A story about baseball usually begins with a refrain like this: “Once at Tiger Stadium” or “Back in the days of the Griffith Stadium” or “Before they tore down Crosley Field” … As an architect, I was drawn to a game that could not be divorced from its setting. How magical is that? Every building wishes its occupants were that dependent on its bricks and mortar for identity.” – Adweek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports. July 8, 2019.