A brief background: Where are you from? Who/what were key influences in your life related to the work you’re doing now — why did you become an attorney? What honors/awards have you received?
I am from Detroit, but I spent approximately 5 years living in Tennessee and North Carolina in high school and college. I knew I always wanted to be an attorney from a very young age. My dad was a Detroit police officer and union steward so attorneys were around often. In undergrad I was on the Dean’s List and inducted into the Golden Key National Honor Society. In law school, I was a Cavanagh Scholar (scholarship based on academic excellence), inducted into the Order of Barristers, and inducted into the Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society. I also won numerous moot court competitions, received a book award for obtaining a 4.0 in Securities Regulations, and I was a finalist for the Association of Corporate Counsel of America (ACCA) Scholarship.
Being an attorney: What are you most passionate about professionally? What most excites you about your work and the contribution you can make? What is most rewarding about your job/what makes it worthwhile?
Professionally, I have a strong work ethic and I am passionate in practicing law in a manner that allows me to zealously represent my clients with integrity. I enjoy the variety of the matters that I handle in the property and casualty insurance area. No two fire losses — or any losses — are the same. There are always unique issues to each matter. My time as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and criminal defense attorney, provides me with the ability to recognize issues with the claims.
Do you have advice to offer people who are aspiring to be as successful as you?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is that I believe by investigating these matters and defending them in litigation, we are not only protecting our clients, but we are also protecting other insureds who are affected by fraudulent claims or breaches of policy provisions.
To be successful I believe you have to (1) do something you enjoy — that you are passionate about, (2) stay true to yourself, and (3) have a good work ethic and do your job with integrity — even when other people may not. I believe these three things are critical to success in any field. It also helps to surround yourself with family, friends, and colleagues that are supportive of you and want to see you succeed.
Personally: What might someone be surprised to know about you? What volunteer activities do you engage in? What do you wish others knew about volunteering? What do you find most challenging about your volunteer work?
People would probably be most surprised that I am part Maltese and the oldest of over 30 (I think) great grandchildren. I also love to knit and scrapbook when I want to relax. I volunteer in the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital of Michigan (Detroit) at least once a week. I also volunteer for Detroit Police related functions, including fundraisers held by the Detroit Police Officer’s Association (DPOA) and independent fundraisers for officers that need assistance. I wish people realized how good volunteering makes the volunteer feel when it is something you are passionate about. I look forward to my shifts at Children’s Hospital because I always leave feeling that I have eased the mind of a parent or child and made their visit to the hospital better. As far as volunteering for police related functions, I believe it is the least I can do to thank the men and women who give up time with their families (including holidays) to protect and serve others.