BUFFALO, N.Y. — This week's City Shaper has received many awards for the work she has done to improve how women are treated in the workplace. Ann Evanko is an attorney who didn't have to go far to start her career. Now, she's leading the law firm where she launched her career more than forty years ago.
Evanko is the president and managing partner of Hurwitz and Fine. It’s a law firm with almost fifty lawyers headquartered in Buffalo.
Evanko was still in law school at the University at Buffalo when she first walked through the doors at Hurwitz and Fine.
"I was offered the job in my third year in law school, and I have been here ever since," says Evanko.
While she is still very involved with giving back to UB — she's on the dean's advisory council and co-chairs the mentoring program — the legal world has changed a lot since the 70s, and a lot of that is thanks to Evanko.
"Now, we see lots of women taking advantage of family medical leave," she said. "We didn't have that back in the 80s when I was having children, and so, the firm said create a policy, so I did."
Evanko is also one of the co-founders of Women's Bar Association of Western New York. One of the group’s first projects was to come up with an alternative work policy for law firms to help them understand what women needed in order to raise their kids.
"What was the reception like when you started distributing what you wanted to change in the workplace. Was everybody as accepting as they were here?" Asked 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik.
"No, and I think what you saw as a result of that, very talented women leaving the profession taking time off for their children and not coming back or switching their careers to a different discipline," says Evanko. "And, I think that that's a tremendous loss of talent when all we really needed was a little flexibility."
Evanko practices employment law, she's a federal court mediator and an arbitrator, and on top of leading the firm, she serves on many boards — most where women and young girls are the focus.
"Do you look forward to a day when we're not having to have this conversation about making sure women are treated fairly and equally?" Asked Dudzik.
"I am looking forward to that day," Evanko said. "I think every year we make great strides. It's not perfect. I think society will never be perfect, but we have seen a much more inclusive society than we have ever seen before. We're making a difference, and every year we move forward."
If you know someone who would make a great City Shaper, send Kelly an email to nominate them.
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