Lidia Szczepanowski, Esq. who captured the title of Ms. World Elite, exemplifies the definitions of the words “success, independence, and glamour”. She is a top-rated award-winning litigation attorney with a successful law firm located in Melville, New York. Having over 27 years of experience handling a wide range of cases from inception up through trial, Lidia, who is also a black belt in karate, personal safety advocate and a media personality, “kicks butt” in and out of the courtroom. She has been presented with a myriad of Proclamations, awards and honors by elected officials, community leaders and charities but she is most proud of receiving a letter of recognition from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who acknowledged Lidia as a positive role model for women.
Philanthropy is very important to Lidia. She is the founder of the National Organization for Women’s Safety Awareness, Inc. (“NOWSA”), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises awareness about sexual assault and other forms of violence against women and teens while developing and implementing violence prevention programs and safety initiatives. She also provides pro bono legal services to several charities and often volunteers her time interviewing celebrities and guests on the Red Carpet at fundraisers.
Lidia also appears regularly as a legal correspondent, personal safety expert and entrepreneurial consultant on various media outlets and has been invited to give keynote speeches at several colleges and universities and other business organizations. In addition to her winning record as a lawyer, black belt, businesswoman and women’s lifestyle and personal safety expert, Lidia also holds the titles of Mrs. New York America 2006, Mrs. New York International 2009 and Mrs. Corporate America 2013.
She is also the owner of Everything Lidia, Inc., a multi-media lifestyle enterprise that celebrates smart, stylish, stiletto clad women who are passionate about designing a meaningful, fulfilling, successful and fabulous life. Everything Lidia, Inc. shares progressive, cutting edge information and innovative and trendy ideas about Health & Beauty, Career, Safety, Home, and “Everything Lifestyle” for the extraordinary woman who is passionate about “Getting, Having & Enjoying It All™”! Through her company, Lidia is launching a fashion line named Sculptura™ (the dresses are patent pending) and her book entitled “There’s Something Fishy About That Skinny Bitch” with be launched soon. During her free time, Lidia enjoys dirt bike and quad riding, running, playing tennis, skiing, just about every water sport one can think of including jumping waves in the ocean on her wave runner and she can still easily do a cartwheel in her stilettos!
Lidia resides in Dix Hills, New York with her husband and three children and she intends to continue to use her growing celebrity status, her extensive legal background, vast business and leadership skills, approachability and insightfulness to make a positive difference in the lives of women.
I had the opportunity to ask Lidia a few questions. My questions were focused on being a mom, a woman, and a human. Everyone should be able to read a tidbit, or tidbits, of inspiration in her thorough answers!
- Where were you born? I was born in Huntington, Long Island, NY
- How have you accomplished all that you have, despite having three children? My children have always been my priority and their needs, health and well-being have always taken precedence over everything else. Period. That said, I believe I’ve been able to accomplish quite a bit in my life despite having three children, because I am extremely passionate about everything I do and I never settle for the ordinary. I am also not afraid to take risks, I try to be genuine with the people I interact with, and I live with gratitude. I appreciate my life and everything and everyone I’ve been blessed with. I likewise believe that having these qualities and beliefs has helped develop my drive, discipline and determination to never give up. Balancing all the aspects of my personal and professional life has been challenging but I have adopted a few strategies that have helped me accomplish my goals. Strategy #1: The Legal Pad (Organization): It may sound old fashioned, but I write down EVERYTHING I need to do on a Legal Pad and then organize it in a “pyramid”. At the very top, the small triangle, I add those few things that are a “must do” for the day. i.e. court appearance, doctor’s appointment, buy toilet paper for the house, etc. On the level below that, I add the things I would “really like to do” that day, and below that are the things I would “hope to do” that day. At the very bottom are those items I will “try to get to” whenever I can. When I finish something, it gets crossed off the list. Recently, I’ve also been using the “notes” app on my smart phone to write things down. It’s the same concept. Strategy #2: Quality Time versus Quantity Time: There are only 24 hours in a day. Since you sleep about 6-8 hours, cook, eat, shower, get dressed, drive, etc. for another 3-4 hours, you only have a maximum of about 12 hours to be productive. I try to spend as much time during the day and night doing things I consider “fulfilling” and/or “productive”. Moreover, I don’t really watch television and I try to “enjoy moments” whenever possible. Strategy #3: Eat, Exercise & Sleep Well: If you eat, exercise and sleep well, you will be healthier and more focused, energetic, and productive. Eating healthy does not mean that you need to spend a lot of time preparing extravagant meals and exercising does not mean you must go to the gym. The basics are all you really need. You can run, walk, ride a bicycle, jump rope, do push-ups or crunches, etc.
- How do you balance your law appearance with your glamorous beauty one? I try to stick to classics. My wardrobe consists of predominately non-trendy staple fashions that transcend the “fads de jour” and even seasons. When I appear in court or attend a deposition, I wear fairly conservative clothing, at least on the outside. I might wear a sexy little black dress underneath a stylish tailored jacket with pearls and nude Louboutin pumps and if I have a cocktail party that evening, I’ll just take off the jacket, throw on some sparkly or colorful sky-high strappy stilettos and accessorize with a fabulous statement piece of jewelry and voila, I instantaneously transition from professional to glamorous. This concept is part of the inspiration for creating my soon to be launched “Sculptura” fashion line. The five timeless styles of a classically evolved LBD combine stylish design and luxurious fabrics with exclusive “Sculpting Tools” to create the perfect body silhouette for any occasion.
- Your personality has to be as outstanding as your appearance. Do you feel one played more of a role in establishing your career? Thank you for the lovely compliment but women are so much more than pretty faces or the sum of their body parts and a person’s appearance is just one element of their identity. We are living, breathing, thinking, souls filled with personal history and dreams, incredible talents and amazing gifts to share with the world. We are perfect the way we are with the capability of loving deeply and doing a remarkable amount of good. I do not believe that my appearance has played a large role in establishing my career as an attorney because to be a successful lawyer, a person does not need good looks but rather they need good analytical and research skills, communication skills, and people skills, among other qualities. An individual’s personality can be viewed as a set of distinctive traits and features which include the totality of their behavioral and emotional characteristics. Using that definition, I believe my personality has played more of a role in establishing my career not only as an attorney, but as an entrepreneur, designer and lifestyle and personal safety expert. I can only hope others see me as an insightful, energetic, approachable and genuine person who truly wants to make a positive difference in the lives of women.
- You have a very full plate. You must have had exceptional role models. Can you say a little about where you got your good habits? I am the daughter of Polish immigrants. My dad grew up on a small farm in central Poland where his family raised rabbits. They did not have electricity or running water and day to day living was challenging work. My mom grew up in a small village in eastern Poland but shortly after WWII started, she and her family were taken to a forced labor farm in Germany. After the war, they had no choice but to live on a refugee camp for several years because their home and belongings had been taken away from them and much of Poland was destroyed. My parents met in the United States, got married and had three children. Together, they instilled many traditional European values in me and my brothers. We were taught to work hard, be respectful, take responsibility for our actions, choices, values and beliefs, be honest, stand up for what we believed in, listen respectfully, disagree politely and never exclude people from conversations, exercise self-control, realize that you should always do the right thing even when no one is watching and it’s more important and fulfilling to give of yourself than to receive.
- Encouraging things must have happened along your journey to keep you going and propel you further. Does one moment or situation stand out as being significantly insightful? I’m beyond fortunate to be able to say that my life has been filled with so many encouraging moments that have been significantly insightful. If I had to choose one that is truly memorable, it would be the first day I was asked to catch eels with my dad. We took our small boat out that day during low tide and beached it in a marsh area. After we got off the boat holding a large bucket and wide net that was rolled up on two five foot narrow poles, we walked along a shallow estuary until we arrived at a waist deep pool of water that was black as tar and filled with many unknown and unseen creatures. My dad instructed me to hold one of the poles with one end dragging along the bottom and the other with the end up outside of the water. We walked in this waist deep water with our feet sinking in mud up to our ankles while horse flies bit our arms, shoulders and backs. At the end of the pool, we lifted out the net and there were dozens of large slimy slithering eels inside the net with many trying to escape. As we were carrying the net filled with eels towards the bucket that was located on the bank of the estuary, my arms started to shake and give out. My dad saw this and yelled out to me in somewhat of an encouraging way, “Don’t drop the net!” Well, I dug deep to the bottom of my soul and found the strength to continue to walk over to the bucket and dump a bunch of eels into it successfully. Now, whenever I’m confronted with a difficult situation or when I feel I want to give up, I try to remember my father’s words and just keep going…I continue to persevere.
- Given your interest in women, do you have solutions for the obesity epidemic among young women? My general health, wellness and nutrition philosophy can be summed up in three words, “keep it simple”! My eating ideology is memorialized in my soon-to-be released book “There’s Something Fishy About That Skinny Bitch” where I identify some of my unconventional, irreverent, and often unsophisticated rules to dining, losing weight and never dieting again. Although there are many specific solutions offered in the book that can help young women deal with the obesity epidemic, some of the rules include “never say diet” (don’t deprive yourself), “eat a lot of fish (and seafood or other proteins) and “be a food snob” (don’t eat processed or mediocre foods). I also believe in lifestyle basics such as drinking lots of water, not focusing so much on one’s physical appearance but rather on one’s identity and character, dedicating time to taking care of yourself, using quality skincare products, and old school exercise such as running, walking, riding a bicycle, stretching, push-ups, crunches and traditional calisthenics.
If you read this article, it will provide a neat picture and funny thoughtfulness. I personally have never merely “licked a Doritio”! 😉