The women in my family have always been tough and hardworking, and have valued being first. My mother worked two jobs for as long as I can remember. Work hard. Don’t complain. Save your money. Don’t use credit cards. These are the lessons I learned from her.
Before her, it was my grandmother, a Polish-American woman running her own restaurant in Buffalo, NY. During World War II, she became the first woman to ride in an open-air helicopter test flight at the nearby Bell Helicopters factory. The engineers photographed her flight, framed the photo, and signed it for her. It is still one of my prized possessions because it shows so clearly her spirit and courage.
When I crossed the stage during my law school graduation in 1987, I looked into the audience to see my mother with her arms in the air, shouting out my name. She was proud because I was the first female attorney in our family. I know that I was able to accomplish my goals because of the support of my mother, grandmother and the other strong women who came before me.