The Paralegal Association of Rochester Inc. held its annual meeting and election of officers on May 22 at the Hose 22 Firehouse Grill in Charlotte. The restaurant is housed in a beautifully restored firehouse complete with fire poles (which were in the room we occupied this year). The ambiance, service and food provided by the Hose 22 Firehouse Grill were all exemplary and I would strongly recommend it for a unique dining experience.
Before dinner, PAR awarded the 2013 Paralegal of the Year Award. This is the first year the results were kept in absolute secrecy so as to surprise the recipient. Additionally, her husband and son hid clandestinely close by, but out of sight, to enhance the element of surprise.
This year’s award winner is Jane Gorski from the firm of Boylan Code LLP. Magdalyn Cyganovich (a past Paralegal of the Year recipient) gave a very nice testimonial pertaining to Jane’s exemplary work performance as well as some heartfelt personal praises. Jane graciously accepted the award accompanied by the cheers and support of her husband and son as well as all who were present.
After dinner, the president ex officio, Patty Sexstone, made poignant remarks and comments about the goals and accomplishments that PAR has achieved over this past year. These included offering a tour of the County Crime Lab as well as an NFPA approved CLE in Ethics. Patty also thanked PAR’s loyal sponsors for all of their support throughout the year as well as the outgoing PAR board for all of their hard work and assistance over the past year with the many endeavors.
Next on the agenda was the election of the officers to the new 2013-2014 PAR Board of Directors. With all of the proxies counted, the new board consists of the following members:
• Patricia O. Sexstone is returning to the board as president. Pat has sat on the board in various positions for roughly nine years. She has been with the law firm of Forsyth & Forsyth for over 30 years. Her goals for the coming year are: to become creative with involving more of the membership with PAR’s activities, to continue providing seminars that are enriching to the profession, and to schedule some interactive networking events. Patty and her husband enjoy traveling and, in particular, visiting their son and daughter-in-law in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and daughter in Charlotte, NC.
• Douglas Kaleta was reelected as treasurer. Doug has been on the board for several years. Doug has been a paralegal for over 26 years and has been employed at Harris Beach PLLC in Pittsford for the last 15 years. His specialty is both residential and commercial real estate. Doug enjoys working in his yard and taking cruises.
• Jane Gorski was elected as president-elect. Jane is currently employed with Boylan Code Attorneys at Law in the Estates & Trust department handling estate administration. Jane received her paralegal certificate from Monroe Community College. Outside of work, Jane actively supports her son’s involvement in sports and scouting activities.
• Yours truly, the PAR columnist, Deborah King, is returning to the PAR board as primary representative to NFPA and membership co-chair. I earned her BS from Elmira College and my paralegal certificate from Monroe Community College. I have been a paralegal for over 10 years and a PAR board member for over 7 years. I enjoy spending time with my husband and two 4-legged, 3-year-old furry children, Alley and Bogey, who are sisters and weigh 85 lbs. each.
• Michele McKay is returning as vice president of professional development. Michele has been employed at Harris Beach for more than 15 years. Michele’s area of expertise is commercial real estate. Michele attended the Lee Institute in Brookline, Mass. At home, Michele has a grown son.
• Shirley Calhoun is returning to the board as a director of public relations. Shirley is employed at Harris Beach in Pittsford and has been there for 14 years specializing in residential real estate. She earned her paralegal certificate at St. John Fisher College and enjoys reading and spending time with family.
• Dina Beaudette is returning to the PAR board as a website coordinator, job bank coordinator and co-chair of the Membership Committee. Dina is employed at Merzbach Law Office PC where her area of concentration is general corporate and business matters as well as securities and real estate. She received her AAS degree from Monroe Community College. Dina is a past member and officer of the PTA at Crane Elementary School and has two children. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and playing volleyball at Hot Shots.
• Stefani Medina is returning to the board in the position of Secretary. Stefani works for Fero & Ingersol in the area of Civil Litigation. She is a native Canadian and her roots were in Ontario Province where she graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College. Upon her arrival in Rochester 10 years ago she volunteered with the Legal Aid Society. She keeps busy with three young children, one of which was born the night after this annual meeting.
• Deborah Wilcox Mabry is returning to the board as a membership co-chair. She has been a Trusts and Estates Paralegal since 1979 and has worked at Nixon Peabody LLP for 21 years. Debbie was a past recipient of the Paralegal of the Year award in 2008. Debbie is actively involved in the Perinton Historical Society. Her 22-year-old son just graduated Summa Cum Laude from Marist College.
• Sandee Ciaccia is coming to the board as a first timer in the position of director at large. Sandee works for Boylan Code for the last 12 and a half years, and is currently a paralegal in Litigation and Bankruptcy. Sandee is very busy in her spare time doing fundraising and being an advisory board member to many associations A few of her passions include cooking, baking, health and fitness. Sandee lives in Webster with her husband Dominic and they have 3 grown sons.
• Marilyn Springer is also coming to the board as a first timer as a second director at large. Marilyn is an experienced litigation paralegal and office administrator for Calihan Law PLLC. She holds a BA from SUNY Brockport, and a Management Certificate from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She was formerly a senior/managing paralegal with another firm where she managed the paralegals firm-wide in 11 offices across the U.S. She lives in Penfield with her husband, Paul. Hobbies include ballroom dancing, quilting and sewing.
• DeAnna Martelle is returning as PAR’s president ex officio /advisor to the board. DeAnna works for Hiscock & Barclay and specializes in regulatory and environmental law. DeAnna has been a paralegal for more than 12 years and graduated from St. John Fisher College with a BA in Political Science. Outside of work, DeAnna is president of the Cal-Mum PTO, and is very active in her community and with her 2 sons.
A grateful acknowledgement is extended to Webtitle for providing many door prizes that included bottles of wine and a restaurant gift certificate.
The initial PAR “Activism” award was also given out this year. PAR tried to encourage members to attend all of the PAR, as well as sponsor-related activities and also to boost enrollment by soliciting potential new members. This year’s winner of the award and its associated prize of a Kindle Fire was Magdalyn Cyganovich.
And lastly, a big thank you to all of those who attended. The Annual Meeting was a huge success and an enjoyable time was had by all. Hope to see you next year.
Deborah King is a paralegal and PAR’s primary representative to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.