Laura Fitzgerald Q&A
YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY?
I see my greatest accomplishment in regard to my career, as being able to succeed in a relatively male dominated industry.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU?
Our first born child was born healthy but at 3 weeks of age he contracted encephalitis. Misdiagnosed with an ear infection, his encephalitis went untreated and he incurred severe brain injury which left him with severe, multiple disabilities. Although the doctors advised us, and those sought for second opinions, that we should put him in an institution and carry on with life; my husband and I chose to nurture our son at home and have other children. We have continued to face challenging health situations over the past 32 years with our son, but we have been able to have a loving marriage and raise two wonderful siblings for our first child in spite of being told ‘we could not do this’.
My husband and I dealt with this challenge by supporting one another as we both navigated successful careers, and believing that ‘anything is possible with God’.
I’m not sure if I can properly describe the impact this situation has made on my life. If I had ever been told that I could survive having a child of mine becoming totally disabled after being born perfectly normal, and that my life would continue to be enriched and successful thereafter – I would have said, ‘no way’. This situation has taken me to the darkest times of despair but the persistency in keeping on, and not giving up – is hard to describe.
DO YOU SET ASIDE “ME-TIME” IN YOUR CALENDAR, AND WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME TO RELAX?
Unfortunately I have not done a very good job at this. Only when I feel I’m about to fall off the edge do I recognize I must take time to rejuvenate.
For relaxation I love to read, take warm baths, work in my flowerbeds (although I can’t even do this on a slow pace), watch a movie at home, needlepoint (which allows me time for some deep thinking).
WHAT’S THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE YOU’VE DISCOVERED WHERE YOU CAN GO TO CHILL OUT?
Probably somewhere outside with water nearby. Something about water that is so relaxing to me.
DOES PHILANTHROPY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR LIFE, TO WHAT EXTENT AND HOW?
I provide a lot of pro bono oil and gas advisory services to landowners. It is not my policy to state what my fees are until after I examine a landowner’s situation in detail, and am able to provide full disclosure as to what my recommendation is after hours of my research which I do not charge for.
I feel my biggest philanthropic work is helping landowners who have questions with their interests in the complex oil and gas industry.
WHO IS ON THE GUEST LIST FOR YOUR IDEAL DINNER PARTY?
- #1 – God
- Ruth Bader Ginsberg
- Diane Sawyer
- Iris (90 year old fashionista in NY who wears those big sunglasses)
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
- Albert Einstein
- My paternal grandparents from Athens, Greece. My grandfather was an attorney and my grandmother was an incredible woman who lost two children – a daughter to scarlet fever at 7 years of age, and a son at 13 years of age who was shot down by the German army while crossing the street.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY WORDS OF WISDOM TO YOUR FELLOW THROOMERS?
- Don’t give up
- Do the right thing
- Listen to your heart, but make decisions with your head