Steal her secrets series: West Michigan lawyer answer 25 career questions

Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch shares career insights and what it's like to be a West MI power woman

Teresa Hendricks Pitsch
Credit: WOTV 4 Women

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Her suit fits just right, she knows everyone in the room and you can just tell she’s got it going on!  You wish you could be her or simply wish you knew her secret to success.  WOTV 4 Women wants to give you a deeper look at the many power women who are helping make West Michigan a thriving place for women at work.  We’re having them dish the details on everything from work life to home life and what has led to their career success.

25 Questions with Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch

Credit: Teresa Hendricks
Credit: Teresa Hendricks

Meet Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch. She’s the Executive Director/ Senior Litigator at Michigan Migrant Legal Aid in Grand Rapids.  You may remember Teresa from our documentary: Detecting Breast Cancer to Save Your Life, where she shared her cancer journey.  While you have heard about her success in changing Michigan’s breast cancer screen laws there’s a lot more to know about this power woman and her career.

Question 1: Describe your job and why you love it.

Executive Director /Senior Litigator at Migrant Legal Aid. I love it because I get to fight for justice for the poorest, most hard-working, and most vulnerable families in our community. They are vulnerable because of language and cultural barriers, immigration-related fears, poverty, transient work life following the crops, and many health and safety hazards involved in harvesting work.

Question 2: Dig through you purse and tell us three must have items you found and 1 item you were surprised to find.

Lipstick, credit card, and surprise, I’d almost forgotten….. a zip drive with my novel on it waiting for editing and mailing. 

Question 3: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

A lawyer.

Question 4: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Find your own style of practicing law and be genuine self. Always be courteous to opposing counsel and court/office admin staff.

Question 5: What’s the job you’ve had (in your lifetime) that still gives you nightmares?

Waitressing at a seedy joint during law school.

Question 6: What’s the best thing you’ve done to advance your career?

Attended the University of Madrid in Spain, my junior year of undergrad. It changed the trajectory of my career and my life philosophy. Also, taking calculated risks to stretch beyond my comfort zone, i.e. applying for advancement, continuing to learn new areas of the law.

Question 7: Flats or heels?

Before age 50: heels, after 50, mostly flats.

Question 8: Crying at work? Okay or not okay?

Not OK, unless you’re alone in a closet.

Question 9: Work/life balance? How do you make it work? What time do you “clock out”?

I am child-free by choice, which helps with balance, and I try to reduce working hours down to 50 in the winter and take a very extended (with light work) vacation somewhere exotic.

Question 10: Eating lunch at your desk? A do or a don’t?

A don’t.

Question 11: What makes you grateful?

Spending time with husband and friends and being healthy.

Question 12: What was your biggest blunder in a job interview? What did it teach you?

Borrowing heels for the interview (1/2 size too big) and slipping and falling in them. It taught me to laugh at myself.

Question 13: Describe your morning routine.

My parrot Billy wakes me us at 6:00 with “Good Moooorning”, my husband gets him out of his cage and takes him to the bathroom, sets him up with a peanut, makes coffee for us and brings it back to bed while we watch the news.

Question 14: Proudest career moment to date.

Handing a group of scared men their newly issues documents making them legal, after having been held captive and enslaved as victims of horrific labor trafficking in MI, and telling them they do not have to hide anymore, “Welcome to the United States, you can now work or go wherever you want to, it’s your choice.”

Question 15: What’s the most important thing in your life right now?

Good health for all loved ones and myself.

Question 16: What time did you wake up today?

6 am.

Question 17: What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

A man? Their shoes. A woman? Their facial expression.

Question 18: What are you reading right now?

Defending Jacob.

Question 19: In a typical day how many emails do you answer?

60.

Question 20: What’s your favorite TV show?

Anything on HGTV.

Question 21: What’s your favorite spot for a meeting in West Michigan?

Brann’s Banquet Center.

Question 22: What’s your favorite app?

Yelp.

Question 23: What experience in life made you the most nervous?

Going into surgery for double mastectomy.

Question 24: What’s one question you always ask in an interview?

What would you like to see happen?

Question 25: What’s the best part of your job?

Making friends from clients.

 

Do you know a West Michigan Power woman who deserves to be featured in our series?  Email us her name/business and contact info!

 

 

 

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