5 Women who changed my life: Cynthia A. Berman

cynthia-bermanOccasionally, we ask one of our Top 100 Women or Lead­ing Women honorees to name five wom­en who have influenced her, personally and professionally. Do you know a Top 100 Woman or Leading Woman who should be featured here? Email Special Publications Editor Patrick Brannan at PBrannan@TheDailyRecord.com.

In this issue, Cynthia A. Berman, principal with Kramon & Graham PA, shared her story about five women who changed her life.

cassie_mackin_at_1976_democratic_conventionCatherine Mackin, journalist
When I was in high school and contemplating my future, Catherine Mackin was breaking ground in television journalism. In 1972 she was the first woman to report from the floor of a national political convention for NBC News. I watched her avidly. The tenacity and professionalism (“spunk” was the word from that era) that she displayed on live television inspired and energized me to pursue my dreams and aspirations.

berman-matildaMatilda Ryan Berman, grandmother
“Mattie,” as she was known, was my paternal grandmother. She taught me to cook, took me to New York City for 10 days when I was 9, let me play in her golf league and encouraged me to be inquisitive and ambitious. She had a quiet strength about her that derived from her life experiences. Her mother died when she was very young. She and her older brother (maybe age 10 at the time) traveled unaccompanied by train in 1911 from Seattle to western Michigan to live with an aunt. She stayed in western Michigan for the rest of her life, married my grandfather who published a rural weekly newspaper, and raised my father and his four siblings. She died when I was 16, but the memory of my experiences with her is a source of strength for me.

Cynthia S. Kaplan, Ph.D., political science professor
Dr. Kaplan was a strident young political science professor who joined the Kalamazoo College faculty my senior year. She was totally dedicated to the career she was just beginning and embodied the ambition I had for my future. She took me under her wing and helped me to navigate the journey from college to law school. She left Kalamazoo College for Tulane University and, on her recommendation, I selected Tulane for law school. It was a good choice for me and one I would never have considered but for her influence. Although we have lost contact with each other, I have followed her career. She is an accomplished professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

farrell-janetJanet Farrell, Group Vice President, Education & Not-for-profit Banking Group, M&T Bank
Janet was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Baltimore after law school. We were young, single and working hard. For several years we had dinner together most Friday nights either in Federal Hill, where we both lived, or in Mt. Washington after BSO concerts. We discussed work and life and, rarely, men and romance. I admire her skill as a manager and problem solver. She is a devoted friend and always has my back. She taught me the importance of friendship and inspires me to prioritize relationships above the day to day grind of work and to do lists.

hackerman-nancyNancy Hackerman, General Manager of Hackerman Holdings and philanthropist
Nancy has been a client and friend for many years. In short, Nancy knows what is important, takes charge and gets it done. She does it with compassion, a savvy understanding of the world, and a great sense of humor and fun. I am honored to have earned her trust. She inspires me to shake off my natural reserve and just have fun.

Women Who Lead This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Women Who Lead: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Women Who Lead (formerly Path to Excellence) magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Women Who Lead.

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