3951 A Stillman Parkway
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Washington University in St. Louis — BA 1984, JD 1987
Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:
I have served on the following boards:
Jewish Community Federation of Richmond
Children’s Museum of Richmond
University of Richmond
Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?
My important mentors are my parents. My mother completed her college and graduate level education when I was in junior high school. She became a teacher and after that worked in our family real estate business which my father founded in the 1950’s. I watched my parents work hard to accomplish their goals – through good times and economically difficult times. I always expected to work and I have a deep appreciation for the things my parents did to create the company that I help run today.
What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?
I consider myself to be extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to grow a business that was successful before my involvement. Professionally, I am very proud to be a part of a team that has more than doubled the size of our real estate portfolio in the past 15 years. Personally, I am most proud of my three wonderful children. My greatest accomplishment is the happiness I enjoy both at work and at home.
What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?
It’s so trite, but I would tell a new college graduate to make an honest assessment of their strengths so that they find a job or career that is truly suited to them. Not every workday will be completely gratifying or enjoyable, but most should be. With regard to their personal life, I would tell them to choose a partner with as much energy and thought (and even some cool detachment) as they would give any important decision. A loving partnership based on mutual respect and shared interests and values makes for a wonderful life. Certainly passion is important, but passion alone will not make a happy union.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
I achieve balance a few ways. First, I believe that I have learned what is important to me and what I need in order to achieve “balance” (also known as sanity). My kids are my top priority. They come first, and they always will. That said, they know that I will never be a mom that attends every school event. I also need a certain amount down time to reenergize– whether to exercise, take a vacation or read a book. In order to achieve this balance I have surrounded myself with a great team that includes my husband who is also one of the leaders of our business, our CFO, and the other professionals who run the day to day operations of our company. We have created enough redundancy that no one person has to be there for things to run smoothly. Also, technology is my great friend! I can stay in touch with the day to day operations of our business with my computer or Blackberry. This allows me to participate in my kids’ events and catch up with work later from home or to check in while on vacation. Technology also allows me to stay in close contact with my kids. I have become quite adept at text messaging and I’m Facebook friends with all three of them!
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a psychologist. This lasted until most of the way through college. I think that part of what appealed to me was career control and the other part was a fascination with how people tick. I am happy to say that I feel very much in control of my current career and I get to watch how people tick each and every day – for better or worse!
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
I don’t have a favorite per se… I read a lot, but see very few movies. In recent memory, I found the book The Lovely Bones to be very powerful and affecting. I was overwhelmed and deeply moved by the intense expressions of love and grief.
What are two things about you that not many people know?
1. That I am a staunch supporter of GLBT equality. I consider the lack of equality and respect for GLBT people to be one of the grave injustices of our time in this country. My parents taught me that “silence is consent” so I try to speak out about this issue every chance I get.
2. That our family business has gone through some very difficult economic times – most notably during the mid-70’s, when I was a teenager. There were many days when my parents did not know if the business would continue to exist. I learned two important things: that you can survive through adversity and that there are wonderful people willing to help you if you are honest and hardworking.