My 18 year-old-self probably would not recognize my 35 year-old-self – and that is a great thing. My 18 year-old-self had aspirations of leaving Western New York for the greener pastures of New York City, Boston or Washington, D.C. But, if you can push aside your stereotypes and preconceived notions and remain open to discovery, life will take you places you never imagined you would end up.
My life’s journey started in a small rural town outside of Rochester – Lima, New York. As I entered my junior year of high school and began researching colleges, I focused on one thing – moving far from home. In addition to applying to a number of schools in Virginia, my dad convinced me to apply to the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Even though I had no experience with or passion for labor relations, I was open to the possibility of the ILR School (as it is more commonly known). Once at Cornell, and only an hour away from home, I discovered an amazing school with an unmatched curriculum and developed lifelong friendships and connections.
As my college years progressed, I decided the next logical step would be to attend law school. Similar to my 18 year-old-self, my 22 year-old-self still wanted nothing to do with Western New York. So, I applied to law schools in New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and Chicago. To appease my parents, I also applied to the University at Buffalo. But, when it came time to make a decision, despite its less than ideal weather, I decided to move to Buffalo and enroll at UB. I was willing to discover what Buffalo had in store.
By the time I graduated from UB in 2007, I had discovered what an amazing city Buffalo truly was. I fell in love with Elmwood Village and everything it offered – shopping, architecture, food and, most of all, great people.
In 2007, I also discovered the Firm where I have spent the last decade of my career — Bond, Schoeneck & King. At the time, I was not convinced that I wanted to practice labor and employment law (I didn’t want to be pigeonholed by my ILR background), but Bond’s Buffalo office was, at the time, primarily a boutique labor and employment law practice. However, I discarded my notions of being pigeonholed and discovered a passion for helping employers navigate this complex and ever-changing area of the law. People may wonder how on earth being a labor and employment attorney can be someone’s passion, but for me, I see myself on the leading edge of dealing with large changes in society, as they enter and effect individual workplaces.
While I have lived in the City of Buffalo for over 12 years, I am now discovering the City of Buffalo and its resurgence through a new lens – that of a parent raising two daughters. We have visited museums, art galleries, and stores, attended concerts, plays, sporting events and festivals which we had not explored before. We are so grateful to have these new opportunities to rediscover Buffalo in a new and exciting way.
My passion for Buffalo sparked my determination to help make it an even better place to live, visit and do business. In what can only be described as an alignment of the stars, I was fortunate enough to discover the Explore & More Children’s Museum (presently located in East Aurora) and join its Board of Directors and later its Executive Committee. Explore & More is currently in the process of relocating to Canalside to a new, multimillion dollar, state of the art facility. Construction is already underway on the shell of the building which will be located adjacent to the ice rinks that have brought a lot of excitement to the area.
The most rewarding thing about serving on the Explore & More board is that I have discovered the perfect intersection of the three most important aspects of my life: my family, my profession and my city. In my role on the Board, I am able to offer a legal perspective to help Explore & More reach its goal of moving to Canalside to become a major cultural and tourism anchor in Western New York. Additionally, each and every exhibit in the new Museum will tell a story about the history of Buffalo and what has made it the great city it is today. While my work on the Board has been and will continue to be a significant commitment, I cannot wait to see my children’s faces as they discover the new Museum an all it has to offer.
As I began this post – my 18 year-old-self would not recognize my 35 year-old-self – and that is a great thing. I live in a city that I love, have a career that I am passionate about, and I have family that makes it all worthwhile, and it is because I pushed my stereotypes and preconceived notions aside and allowed myself to discover.