Career Accomplishments: Soon after graduating from law school, Lidia became a partner in a successful general practice law firm in Smithtown, New York where she provided legal counsel predominately in the areas of corporate and commercial litigation. Today, Lidia is known as the “no-nonsense” and “approachable” lawyer. She owns and manages The Szczepanowski Law Firm, P.C. located in Melville, New York. As a general practice litigation attorney for almost 23 years, she has represented clients in a wide range of cases from inception up through trial in many areas of the law. Lidia was nominated by the Long Island Press as one of Long Island’s Best Lawyers in 2011 and 2012 and she is the Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for SME, Inc., a Manhattan based international branding and advertising agency. Lidia also sits on the Board of Directors and is the President of The Strand on Ocean Drive Condominium Association, Inc. in South Beach, Florida. She appears regularly as a legal correspondent, personal safety expert, and lifestyle consultant on numerous media platforms including her own “Everything Lidia Radio Show” which she produces and hosts. On her radio show, which is being transformed into an internet realty talk show, Lidia offers useful information about a wide range of topics from “politics to pocketbooks”. Lidia also owns Everything Lidia, Inc., a multi-platform lifestyle enterprise which offers speaking engagements, seminars, media offerings and products. The company is devoted to educating, training, challenging and inspiring women to live safer, more fulfilling and remarkable lives.
Platform Issue: In addition to being the image and voice of business and professional woman in America and encouraging them to celebrate their achievements, accomplishments and contributions to their families, careers, and communities, I will also continue to speak to audiences about my chosen platform, Personal Safety Awareness for Women and Teens through the National Organization for Women’s Safety Awareness, Inc. (NOWSA). The NOWSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that I formed to fulfill a fundamental need in our country to provide more information, awareness, and knowledge about women’s personal safety issues. The NOWSA’s goal is to help stop acts of violence through women’s safety awareness related activities such as distributing educational materials, particularly to young women in middle and high school, while advocating education, prevention, self-protection and increased confidence and self-esteem. I will also contribute to the NOWSA’s outreach in the community by 1.) presenting my Everything Lidia, Inc. “Stylish Safety®” Women’s Safety Awareness and Personal Protection seminars at High Schools and for other organizations; 2.) selling “Stylish Safety® DIVAS Crystal Whistles” (a chic brass whistle I designed which is beautifully bejeweled with genuine European crystal rhinestones and attached to a black adjustable cord); and 3.) engaging various media outlets such as television, radio, periodicals, and social media in an effort “to help keep our daughters, wives and all the women in our lives safer”.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I LOVE living and working on Long Island and in New York City which is, in my opinion, the center of the world. However, I certainly wouldn’t mind also owning a home in the southwest, the southeast, in the Caribbean AND in Central Europe. You can always dream.
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would they be? I would love to have dinner with Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court’s first Hispanic justice and its third female justice. Overcoming so many obstacles, she has one of the most extraordinary and inspirational life and success stories of anyone I can think of. Like me, she is the daughter of immigrants who came to this country after WWII to live the American Dream.
Best advice you have ever been given: My mom and dad gave me the best and most simple advice. They encouraged me to be a genuine and passionate person, to be proud of who I am and of my accomplishments, and to be appreciative of everything I have and every breath I take. I wear these Pearls of Wisdom every day.
Who is your role model and why? I have had many role models throughout my life including my grandmother and mother, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor and J.K. Rowling, just to name a few. Every one of these individuals became successful in their own right notwithstanding their humble beginnings and despite the challenges and obstacles they were faced with.
Something interesting about you: From childhood and continuing to the present I have always had an adventurous and particularly feisty personality taking on and conquering any challenges that came my way. These included some glamorous and not so glamorous activities such as competing on the middle and high school gymnastics teams and being a member of the cheerleading squad while also taking on the responsibilities of President of the Honor Society. On summer weekends I would do “feminine” things with my dad like fishing, (cutting the bait and putting it on the hook myself, of course) clamming in the mud with my fingers, and eel catching also in the low-tide mud while holding a large net as horseflies the size of 747s bit me on my arms, legs and shoulders. After the glory days of high school, things were just starting to warm up. While in college, I worked for Estee Lauder in Macy’s which exposed me to the glamorous world of cosmetics, which I loved. I was offered a position as account coordinator for the company right after college and thought that perhaps this was exactly what I was waiting for, the job of my dreams, my destiny. But something inside me said I wasn’t quite finished with school just yet. So I took the LSAT, applied to law school (only one), and lo and behold, I was accepted. My cosmetics career was over and I became an attorney. But I still remember how to apply make-up, how to catch, clean and cook just about any seafood and I can still do cartwheels in my high heels.
Three words that describe you best: Universal, Passionate and Appreciative
Favorite Book: I have two favorite books/series of books…my own, soon to be published “Stylish Safety” book and the entire Harry Potter series because when my children were younger, we would all meet and cuddle in one of our beds at bedtime and I would read to them out loud. It was some of the best family time ever!
Favorite TV Show: Although I do not watch much television, when I do, I enjoy satirical television comedy shows like “The Colbert Report” and “The “Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.
Favorite Food: I live for sushi! I can eat it every day!
Favorite Sport: Martial arts of any kind. Despite injuries, surgeries and the birth of my daughter, I earned my Black Belt in Karate in 2004 after about 6 years of training. I am currently studying the reality based hand-to-hand combat systems of Russian Systema and Israeli Krav Maga and I take boxing classes. I love how I feel after these classes…energized and strong.