Suzanne Boy, 34

6 Posted by - September 29, 2014 - 2014, Charlotte-Lee-Collier 2014

Stockholder, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt

Suzanne Boy’s grandfather is the reason she’s in Fort Myers.

When she was a law school student at Stetson University, Boy realized how close she had become to her grandfather, John Buckner Boy, the former president of U.S. Sugar.

“Even 30 years after he retired, I have random people who say how well he led the company,” says Boy. “He would make deals on a handshake.”

Suzanne Boy grew up in LaBelle and attended that town’s high school. “I couldn’t wait to get out of LaBelle,” she says. But as her grandfather grew older, she decided to return to the area to practice employment law with Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, a major law firm in Fort Myers. She delivered her grandfather’s eulogy when he died last year.

Boy says Fort Myers is a great place for a young lawyer to launch a career because it’s big enough to have good clients but close enough to her family in the region. “You’re not a number slaving away in the library,” she says.

It turns out, the area is a prime battleground for the employment law Boy practices on behalf of employers. The Middle District of Florida that encompasses Fort Myers has the second-highest number of filings of any area in the country. “It hits everybody,” says Boy.

— Jean Gruss

Q&A

City of residence: North Fort Myers

Twitter handle: @suzanneboy

Birthplace: West Palm Beach

Years on the Gulf Coast: 22

Marital status/children: Single, no children. Dog mom to Scooby, a 14-year-old Yorkie

Alma mater: University of Florida (Go Gators!)

Coolest business experience: The counseling side of my job is by far the coolest thing I do as a lawyer. I love doing supervisory training sessions. I actually get to have fun with employment law scenarios and cartoons, and it is really neat to see the “light bulb” come on for clients as they start to understand many of the dos and don’ts in my world.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: I’ve learned that you are the only person who can define what success means to you, and that you should expect your personal definition of success to change over time. What drives and motivates you in the beginning of your career can change as you grow and as your priorities change. Embracing that change has been key for my happiness and satisfaction, both personally and professionally.

One website that makes your job easier: Dol.gov, the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. It has so many helpful resources for employers, including fantastic fact sheets on various wage-and-hour issues.

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: My grandfather and Elon Musk.

Best award you ever received: This award is pretty awesome!

One community group you’re most involved with: HRMA of Southwest Florida, our local SHRM chapter for human resources professionals. I will proudly serve as president in 2015.

Best place to network: The gym

Favorite off-hours activity: Spending time with family and friends, obsessing over the stock market and watching Gator sports.

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Riding shotgun in seven different exotic cars (think Ferraris, Lamborghinis) on a “dream car tour” in New York. Watching the speedometer go from 50 to over 100 miles per hour on an interstate, then whipping around at double the speed limit on mountain roads quickly reminded me that I am NOT adventurous!

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Staying in an overwater bungalow in the South Pacific where I can feed fish through the coffee table.

What new skill would you like to learn: It’s a toss up between learning Spanish and learning to salsa dance (I suppose there is a theme?)

Who would play you in a movie about your life: I am not a movie person, so I’m clueless on this one.

If I had a magic wand I’d: Right now I’d have to say eliminate terrorism. It is a scary place out there.

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