Rebecca Paolino Holshouser
Lives in Hebron, Connecticut
Q. Can you tell us a little about your life path? What are you doing in your career and community right now and what lead you there?
A. My life path is very much a work in progress! I graduated from UConn where I majored in Political Science and French because I was fascinated by both fields. I had a blast studying abroad in Paris, France. I am also a Quinnipiac University Law grad. I work as a criminal defense attorney at Gerace & Associates in Hartford.
What’s nice about my career is that it’s never boring. Every day presents a new legal challenge for me to untangle. I pride myself in being a problem solver, but there have been times where I’ve had to stretch myself to what I thought were my limits on steep learning curves. You know what, though? Every time I thought I’d reached my limit, I rose to the occasion. Many times practicing law means having to react or respond on the spot, so preparing in advance is the key. You are frequently anticipating your adversary’s next move. The criminal defense bar is mostly male dominated, but I have found a good deal of success in my own, authentic approach to representing my clients.
I also serve as the President of the Board of Directors at My Sisters’ Place, Inc., an amazing charitable organization based in the North End of Hartford. My Sisters’ Place provides transitional and supportive housing to previously homeless families, so they can gain independence and transform their lives for the better. After volunteering for the organization for a few years, I was asked to be a member of the Board of Directors. Right now we are raising funds to help the children at My Sisters’ Place have opportunities like after school programs, summer camps, lessons and field trips to enrich their lives and gain confidence in themselves.
Q. What does young women’s leadership mean to you?
A. Young women’s leadership is crucial in today’s society. We are half the population and we need to represent (in all fields)! By doing so, we need to help build each other up. Women leaders should mentor younger women to see the reality of their aspirations, and make their great successes seem more attainable to emerging young women leaders.
Q. Do you consider yourself a feminist? What does feminism mean to you?
A. I have to credit my all-girls high school, Westover, for nurturing my inner feminist at a young age. I believe in ‘the girl effect’ or the amazing impact that women have on whatever they put their energy into. I am a feminist because I believe in the strength, capacity and heart of my fellow womankind.
Q. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other young women, ages 18-35, about how to build their leadership skills or the importance of becoming a leader?
A. You may think you have limits to what you’re capable of, but keep stretching beyond those self-imposed limits. You’ll surprise yourself every time. If you fail at something, just know that there is not just one pipeline to success. Do not let criticism of someone else dissuade you from your ultimate success. Get back to work, try a new approach, ask lots of questions, network frequently and escape your comfort zone.
Young Women Rising celebrates one young woman each month by sharing their story here on our blog. If you know of a young woman between the ages of 18-35 that we should consider including please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.