Tell me one thing on your bucket list.
The thing that has been on my bucket list since I was a child is that I want to spend Christmas in New York. Soak in all the snow and the pretty lights and the decorations and big store displays—I have no idea if it still looks like that anymore, but it does in my head from all the movies. And as part of that, I want to ice skate at Rockefeller Center with the big tree lit up and all the people with their scarves and their mittens. There's just that vibe from all the older Christmas movies—the streets are so pretty and pristine with all the snow, and that's so counter to my own childhood Christmas experience. I mean, it's pretty in California, but it's not the same. I grew up here, so I didn't see snow until I was 22. Christmas in New York would just be a magical experience.
Do you have a hero?
My mom has always been my hero. She raised me by herself. She always wanted to be a mom and she worked her butt off to try to give me the best life that she could. She worked three jobs for most of my childhood and tried to be Mom and Dad—which is a lot to ask of one person. She was sort of a tomboy, like me, so she was very big on teaching me how to cook and those sorts of things, but also how to fix a car and play baseball. I'm really grateful because I feel like I'm more well-rounded because of that. And because she was open to ideas outside of traditional roles, she let me be who I wanted to be. She had a big heart and was always giving herself to everybody.
What's one of the best pieces of advice you've ever gotten?
My mom famously told me when I first got a job and had real responsibilities, "I'm going to tell you one thing, and that's it. Always be self-reliant. And once you figure that out, help anybody else who isn't." My mom's philosophy—and I agree with this, too—is that, in general, you can't do any harm helping other people. You're better off spending your time helping others than getting people to help you. She taught me that if you have your brain and your ability, you don't need to rely on someone else to do things for you. But she also taught me that it is fulfilling to help someone else.
Why is being people-first important to you?
I think that making a genuine connection with someone else by putting a smile on their face, providing a sympathetic ear or just sharing an experience is the best part of life. It is our relationships that matter most—not the car in the driveway or the stuff collecting dust on the shelf. It makes me proud to work at a company that believes in nurturing connections with their clients and their employees.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
I wish I had the power to heal—selfishly, obviously, to keep myself and my family healthy for as long as humanly possible. But I would heal others as well—there are so many people who are sick and can't live quality lives. So, I think that would be a very valuable power to have. It would be tiring, I'm sure, but of all the things I could possibly do, that would be the most useful for everyone versus just being able to fly or be invisible.
What inspires you?
My inspiration is my sons. [Daren has twin boys, Bailey and Alden, born in June 2015.] Watching them grow and develop and figure things out is amazing! Being there as they learn new things and interact with the world around them is the longest, most personal and affecting experiment I've ever been a part of. I feel like I'm constantly thinking, "I don't understand how you know how to do that already." There's all sorts of research that goes inside kids' heads and previously, I would have found that boring, but in real life...it's just fascinating and so inspiring. Before we had them, our lives revolved around ourselves and had become routine—as it does for many people who have been together a long time. Now my husband and I have so much fun showing them new places and things. They've inspired us to get out more and give them as many experiences as we can.
How do you describe to other people what you do for a living?
I take care of the day-to-day items for our office to free up our folks so that they can focus on creating great and exciting work for our clients. I handle all the little stuff (and the big stuff too!) so that they don't have to. My husband says my title should be "Mom of the Office" because I'm the one that people go to when they are looking for something or need advice or to "fix it" when things go wrong—just like you would do to your own mom.
Tell me one thing you love about working at Bovitz.
The camaraderie and the family-like environment. You know, you can work anywhere; I could be an office manager at any company. But I like it here and more importantly, I like the people here. I like my boss a lot. I think Greg's a good guy—he cares about his people and he cares about the output from his company and what he's giving back to his clients. Other places don't care as much, so you feel like just a cog in the machine and not a person. This is just like any other family—maybe some days you have disagreements, but there's a good bond between everybody. There's a feeling that we're in this together, not that we just get our work done and don't care how it affects others. I've worked other places, and it's a different feel here; and now it's the longest place I've worked because of that.
Tell me about one of your colleagues.
Carey is the best mix of supervisor and big brother. Greg is my actual supervisor, but for the day-to-day stuff, Carey is who I go to in the moment because he can see what's going on. And he's really great at hearing you out and giving direction and just providing input. But he's also funny and easy-going and keeps things light-hearted. He teases like an older brother would, but he's also your cheerleader. So, he just fills all these roles. And him being like that puts out a good vibe here. He shows up in a Steelers shirt and different colored socks and in this family, he's like everyone's big brother.
What's one of your favorite childhood memories?
It has to be seeing Return of the Jedi on the big screen when I was 9. I had seen Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in the theatre as well, but I was very little when they were released. I was so excited to see this movie! We prepped by buying the first two and I watched them over and over on our VCR until the big day came. I can clearly remember the whole experience of watching it—how loud it was and how nervous I felt for Luke, Han and Leia and how my sister clutched my hand the whole movie and how we squealed over the Ewoks. That world and all those characters really took a hold of me, and I was hooked! That series has been one of my favorites ever since.
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