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Five women who changed my life: LaKeecia Allen

LaKeecia Allen

LaKeecia Allen

Occasionally, 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 LaKeecia Allen, Office of the County Attorney for Prince George’s County shares five women who changed her life.

Pamela Allen, mother

Pamela AllenMy mother, Pamela Allen, is smart, caring, giving, humble, strong and independent. She has shown me what it means to be a woman, but more than that, she exudes what it means to be a good person. As an elementary school teacher, she dedicated her life to educating the future, our children. My mom taught children how to discover things, be their best selves, see potential in others and extend kindness. Her love did not end in the classroom, my mom has always been there for me. When I am discouraged, she is always there to comfort me and cheer me on. She has taught me not only how to face adversity but how to move through it was sheer grit, determination and grace. She has always stressed that everything happens for a reason. You should learn and accept life’s lessons because they make you a better person. My mother not only taught me these lessons, she lived them. My mother is an amazing woman and I am both in awe of her and love her. I am the woman I am today because of my mom.

Elizabeth Jackson, grandmother

Elizabeth JacksonMy grandmother, whom we called “Granny” was the matriarch and backbone of our family. She was loving and kind. During my teenage years, Granny would always listen to my “problems” and in that moment, make me feel like that was the only thing with which she was concerned. She was someone I could lean on whenever I needed. While I was too young to appreciate it then, she formed the solid foundation for my Catholic faith, which I have come to rely on in my life. I would often joke with her that I was her favorite grandchild and while I know she had no favorites, in those time, she instilled in me many life lessons, including the importance of saving for a rainy day, judging people by their actions and character and to forgive because at some point you will need forgiveness. While my grandmother is no longer here, her presence is still felt and I carry with me every day the life lessons she taught me.

Jane Bolin, trailblazer

Jane BolinJane Bolin was a trailblazer for women who practice law. She attended Wellesley College and although she faced adversity because of the sentiment at the time, she graduated at the top of her class in 1928. Jane Bolin then became the first African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School in 1931. Eight years later, at the age of 31, Bolin became the nation’s first African-American female judge. She not only made a way for women who would come after her but she showed that you must face adversity. She makes me think of the famous Maya Angelou quote, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Melonie Shaw-Geter, mentor

Melonie Shaw-GeterI had my very first trial before Judge Geter when she was a judge on the Prince George’s County Circuit Court. She was extremely knowledgeable and what struck me was her vast knowledge about every aspect of the case and surrounding case law. I remember opposing counsel making an objection and what seemed like less than one second, she analyzed the objection, cited the rules of evidence and ruled on the matter. I remember thinking this judge is impressive — her command of the courtroom, her ability to recall at will the rules of evidence, cases and statutes is amazing. Judge Geter not only has an impressive legal mind, but she believes in mentoring young attorneys. She always is willing to help, provide advice and guidance. She is committed to helping others, especially young attorneys.

Paula Pettavino PhD., College professor

Paula PettavinoDr. Pettavino, in my opinion, is the best professor to teach at any college or post-graduate institution. I had my first class with Pettavino my sophomore year and it was tough. She made you work harder than you thought was possible, but in the end it made every one of her students better. After that first course, I subsequently took every course she taught. Pettavino took me under her wing and opened my eyes to new heights and experiences. When I expressed my intent on attending law school, she fostered my desire to become a lawyer and encouraged me every step of the way. Pettavino stressed the importance of not only excelling in school but living and enjoying life, and appreciating every moment. She would frequently teach courses on Latin and South American politics and history. I had the pleasure of taking Politics in Cuba, which culminated in a university-sponsored trip to Cuba. All of the students that participated had a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about the immense culture, language and government structure in Cuba. This opportunity allowed me to see the uniqueness in different cultures, but more importantly allowed me to appreciate the multitude of similarities. We have never lost touch and Pettavino has made an indelible mark on my life.

This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Path To Excellence: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the 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 Path to Excellence.

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