My mother was my first role model, and still the person that I turn to when I need advice in both my professional and personal life! When people ask her about how she feels about my career as a public defender, she tells them she is proud of my choice to go into public service. It was her example as a nurse that led me to choose a career helping people. Perhaps the best illustration of my mother's feelings was when I landed my first job as a public defender. Soon after she bought me a small engraved case for my business cards. She saw me as a professional serving an important role, and therefore I needed a professional card case! My new career was something to be celebrated, not hidden.

I know that her focus on helping others comes partly from her grandfather's trials in coming to the United States and establishing a life. Those stories have always helped keep my own struggles in perspective and kept me grateful for what my family has done for me. Not only that, but my mother has a strong faith that requires you to practice what you preach, and service to the community was an essential part of how my siblings and I were raised. My mother has shown support not only in words, but in the way she is there for me when I need a sounding board. I can only hope that my contributions honor her and her example. As she always says, "make a plan, and work your plan." It's that drive and dedication that is the best gift she has given me, and it's that spirit that I apply to the work ahead!