Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Elizabeth Bransdorfer has been an attorney at Mika Meyers since a week after graduating from law school in 1985.
Bransdorfer focuses her Grand Rapids-based practice on family law, using both litigation and collaborative techniques to assist her clients.
She is and has for decades been involved in state and national organizations supporting lawyers, including serving as president of the National Association of Women Lawyers in 2001-2002 and currently as treasurer of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
Biggest career break?
Having the opportunity to join Mika Meyers and being mentored and supported by the wonderful attorneys and staff at the firm as I learned to be the best lawyer I can be.
I have two children who never cease to amaze. Picking one proudest moment is impossible.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t save your best behavior for strangers. It is so easy to take our stress, anger, fear, etc. out on those (at home and at work) who we care about. The advice is not to be rude to store clerks or opposing counsel, but to acknowledge that those close to us deserve to be treated kindly, even when we are having a hard day.
How did you make your first dollar?
I was a “lifeguard” at a wading pool in Chamberlain, South Dakota for 50 cents per hour from noon to 5 p.m., seven days a week (unless it rained) for an entire summer. Parents trusted me to look out for their children. In many ways, they still do.
My eyesight and ability to read
I don’t want to change what I do professionally.
If you were president for a day, you would … ?
Realistically, I don’t know. But it would have something to do with feeding hungry children or environmental protection. Every child deserves enough to eat — even those with parents who can’t or won’t make good choices. And there are so many ways the federal government could act to slow down human activities that pollute the environment or speed up efforts to clean up and repair damage that has already been done.
Last book you read?
I’m reading “Conscious Uncoupling,” a self-help book for parents ending their personal relationship who want to do that respectfully and responsibly.
Last search term you googled?
How many calories in …
Your worst habit?
I am often impatient and that means I get bossy when things seem to be moving too slowly.
To unwind, you like to … ?
Read, watch MSU basketball (or Food Network), play Spider Solitaire on my iPad
I spent two weeks on an Oceana Cruise in the western Mediterranean. It was wonderful, and I would highly recommend it. Maybe I’ll look into the Greek Isles next.
I have a sweet tooth, so something with caramel and roasted nuts, maybe with chocolate and salt too.
Person you most admire?
My mother. She is smart and curious and patient and kind and generous and dependable and honest — all of the things I value in a person and want to emulate.