a six-year-old, a three-year-old, and one-year-old twins. I ask myself, what needs attention at the moment? Is it client issues, the nonprofit work, or something related to one (or all) of my kids? I have learned that you need to prioritize matters based upon the needs of that moment, that day, or that week.
Are there specific faculty or staff members who influenced you? Joe McAleer, my tennis coach, really shaped my leadership style. He taught me that I wasn’t a tiny cog, but I was part of a larger machine.
It’s important to me that my daughters know that, as women, they can be successful. Their mommy works, and people rely on her. I want my girls to know that they can achieve whatever they want. I think that’s something Moorestown Friends instilled in me: that there is no limit. One of the things about the school that I liked so much is that the teachers really fostered us as individuals. They weren’t trying to put us into one mold, and we were all cherished and respected for our differences. That’s difficult to find at a school, but I try to instill that in my daughters, and that’s something that MFS definitely instilled in me.
Tennis was in the fall, and I remember that our team would watch the geese flying south for the winter. Coach Mac would always say, “Look at the geese up there, remember this moment. You’ll look back and remember times like this and how special they are, and that you might never have them again.” I just turned 40, and he sent me a text saying, “Remember the geese?” I look back on those times with tremendous fondness. MFS is an incredibly special environment that you really don’t get anywhere else. Do you feel that Quaker values have played a role in your life? Quaker education taught me the importance of finding the Light of God in everyone. It taught me that you need to foster what is personal to you, and not become a lemming. MFS also taught me the importance of quiet. In my profession, everybody talks – litigators love to talk. It is important for me to have a moment to center myself. That comes with years and years of going to Meeting for Worship – sometimes I just need a moment to be quiet and to think. I remember in fourth grade, my teacher Larue Evans would lead us in meditation exercises. To this day, I still do those exercises when I’m stressed. Mrs. Evans would have us lie down on the ground and close our eyes, and we would imagine that our bodies were empty jars and someone was slowly pouring water into us one drop at a time, until it filled up our toes. Her voice and the visualization of it has stayed with me. For a fourth grader, it was a pretty profound experience. Do you have any advice for young people pursuing leadership roles? I encourage everyone to do something that they are passionate about. If you are not passionate about it, then you are less likely to succeed.
Danielle DeCou Garno ’93 speaking at an event for the Children’s Home Society of Florida.