Renewed and Strengthened Friendships. During our social distancing away from each other, many old friends have reached out to say hello which had led to renewed friendships. Growing up, I was fortunate to live in both the United States and Europe and I have a very diverse group of friends who live all over the world. COVID has allowed me to reconnect with many friends whom I lost contact with over the years and it has been a lot of fun hearing about their families and lives. In hindsight, I wonder what kept us apart for so long.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathryn (Kamil) Canale. Kathryn is an AV-Preeminent rated trial attorney who has defended clients for more than 20 years in business, employment (employer side) and civil ligation matters. She is known for her ability to find creative solutions to complex legal problems. In addition to the practice of law, Ms. Canale sits of the board of directors of Paws for Life K9 Rescue, a non-profit organization that pulls dogs from local shelters and places them with incarcerated trainers throughout the California State Prison System and serves as the Vice President of Advocacy on the board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Woman Business Owners.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Kathryn! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
The backstory of my career path is not glamorous or exciting. When I graduated from law school, my first long term job was at a medical malpractice firm. I worked there for almost ten years. While the treatment was (and still is) really interesting, the law was the same in every case and I was looking for more of a challenge and the opportunity to try more cases. When an opportunity arose at Bradley & Gmelich LLP, I took it. I am fortunate that my law partners are all supportive and motivate me to always strive to grow our practice and improve my skills as an attorney.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I always think this is a very unfair question as there are many books that have impacted me over the years. I recently finished a book about James Madison’s Presidency. Earlier this year, I challenged myself to read a book about every President, starting with Washington, to learn more about our country’s history. I rotate the books in with other fiction and non-fiction works, so my challenge is slow going. It is interesting to see our country’s history through each President’s personal writings and to see how even our founding fathers had different perspectives about the same events in our nation’s history.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
In March, admittedly, I did not really comprehend the enormity of COVID-19 and the effect that it would have on our economy, businesses, my family, my law firm, my friends and me. When we shut our physical offices and went virtual in March, I was living very much in the present and, at least in that moment, concentrating on what needed to be done as opposed to looking ahead. I quickly came to realize that my year was not going to look the way I visualized it would look in January. I made a new plan and have learned a few things about myself along the way.
My 5 Reasons to be Hopeful are as follows:
1. Optimism and Your Attitude Rule. I have always been an optimist. I have found that my attitude makes a difference on both my well-being and those around me. This has never been so apparent to me as during COVID. I was reminded at the beginning of COVID by a colleague that in every crisis or challenge there is opportunity. I thought about what she said and she was right — working from home created many opportunities for me — being able to write more, work on a podcast, network, spend (virtual, of course) time with friends and family and, of course, practice law. Whether we wanted it to or not, COVID has forced everyone to slow down a little and I am taking full advantage.
2. Renewed and Strengthened Friendships. During our social distancing away from each other, many old friends have reached out to say hello which had led to renewed friendships. Growing up, I was fortunate to live in both the United States and Europe and I have a very diverse group of friends who live all over the world. COVID has allowed me to reconnect with many friends whom I lost contact with over the years and it has been a lot of fun hearing about their families and lives. In hindsight, I wonder what kept us apart for so long.
3. Community. The way in which my community has come together has been amazing. I am not even sure where to begin. Los Angeles is not necessarily a place where you really get to know your neighbors. Since COVID began, there is definitely a new sense of community and a need to connect to help and support neighbors and local businesses. With few exceptions, people seem to be making an extra effort to be patient and kind while we all figure out the current “normal” together.
I loved it when I saw that someone placed “Thank You” signs on the lawns of healthcare and essential workers a few months ago. When the graduation signs were placed letting the neighborhood know which houses had graduates, someone delivered a balloon for each sign. Someone else left each grad a single roll of toilet paper (a very generous gift in the midst of the 2020 TP shortage!) with a bow on top. No one ever took credit for this generosity as far as I am aware.
People are fostering animals and the shelters are no longer bursting at the seams. I hope when this is over and people begin to return to work that people realize that the dog or cat they are fostering are now part of the family and the animals have a permanent home.
4. Mother Earth Gets a Moment to Breathe. The air in Los Angeles is notably clearer without all the cars clogging the freeways every day. During the summer, the mountains are usually enveloped in a brown haze and, at least for now, the view is spectacular.
5. Trying Something New May Surprise You. It can be as simple as trying a new food, trying out a new hobby or a new business adventure. During COVID, two of my friends convinced me to start a podcast to discuss legal and business issues. I had listened to podcasts in the past but knew nothing about actually hosting or producing one. For me, this was truly an adventure — it was not easy but our hard work is paying off. Our audience is consistently growing and we are having a ton of fun working together.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
There are many ways to support those around you. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Learn to Listen. Sometimes, people simply need to feel heard.
2. Determine what you can and cannot control. Stressing over things you have no control over (such as a stay at home order during COVID) is wasted energy. I try to focus on what I can control. (Some days I am better at this than others)
3. Sharing an Optimistic Attitude. It may not be comfortable or easy, but we will get through this. Your attitude really does make a difference and rub off on those around you.
4. It is Okay to Ask for Help. Oftentimes, people do not want to ask for help or support. It may be that they are embarrassed or do not want to admit they need help. However, my experience is that help is usually there if you ask or tell someone what you need. People are not mind readers and may not know how to help if you do not tell them.
5. Take Time for Yourself. Exercise, eat well, and take time every day to do at least one thing that brings you joy.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
I think the best resources are your friends and family. They are often the best sounding boards.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
When I moved out of my parents’ house, my dad would always send me cards with encouraging quotes on them meant to motivate me in school, in athletics and in my work. It was how he signed almost every card that resonated with me — he would say “Work hard, play hard and be your best self.” My dad lost his battle with cancer many years ago but what he said and what he taught us lives on.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Everyone who knows me, knows I love dogs. I would like to see more dogs spayed and neutered to try to lower the shelter population, especially in Los Angeles. I volunteer and sit on the board of Paws for Life K9 Rescue, which if you live in Southern California, will provide this service free of charge. In addition, the rescue takes dogs from high kill shelters and places them with inmates at several prisons across California, including the Maximum Security Prison in Lancaster where the dogs receive crate and basic training before going on to their forever homes. I would love to see a world where the shelters are cleared and dogs and cats no longer need to be euthanized to make room. Plus, don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure there are studies out there that show that petting dogs can reduce stress and anxiety!
What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?
Readers can download and listen to the podcast I co-host, “Three B’s on the Law-Legal Talk from the Boss Perspective” on Apple Podcasts, and can also find me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathryn-kamil-canale-7a4a2647/ or our firm website at https://bglawyers.com/attorneys/kathryn-canale/.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you for having me. Have a great day.