Following in the footsteps of my grandfather, Congressman Alfred Santangelo, I served the United States as a federal attorney where I represented the government in immigration court for nearly 20 years. In 2017, I resigned and now work as an attorney, writer, speaker, and empowerment coach. I founded and run a non-profit called S.H.I.N.E. Networking Inc. where my team events that encourage sharing stories, community building, diversity, insights, ideas, hope and networking to shine. We also provide educational scholarships to help young innovative leaders who are making a difference.
In April of 2011, I lost my mother to breast cancer and lost my way. To navigate the grieving process, I turned to writing as a healing tool. I wrote what I felt my mother would want to communicate to me. One day led to the next and I completed my first book called The Magical Guide to Bliss: Daily Keys to Unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss. Here, I empower others to wake up to a universe packed with possibility. In addition to allowing me to feel connected to my mom, it helped me muster the courage to make a career change. It is how I transformed dreams into reality. It is where I wrote my way out of darkness to rediscover my inner light. It is my “magnum opus”.
My family set up the Mary Jo Nocero Leadership Award in memory of my mother. It recognizes yearly a female tennis player in my high school who embodies the characteristics of team work, discipline and high standards of academic excellence, a strong character who never gives up in the face of adversity, kindness to others and faith in themselves and God.
As a Dandelion Ambassador, I support Love Button Global Movement’s Teachers Are the Future Initiative (TAFI), named in honor of my mother, Mary Jo Nocero. I worked with the founders to award teachers who engage their students in creative ways to ignite a passion for learning and empower others to reach their true potential. 2017- Fugee Family’s Luma Mufleh.
I am passionate about my children, Shetland sheepdogs, tennis, spinning, creative arts, Broadway, and travel. I love interacting with diverse people, visiting places all over the world. In high school, I lived in Bucaramanga, Colombia, immersed myself in a new culture, learned the Spanish language and it changed my life. At Boston College, I lived in Rome, Italy, studied Italian, Anthropology and masterpieces of art while traveling all over Europe broadening my horizons. As a writer, travel complements my story. This past April, to finish my memoir, I organized a trip to Northern Spain to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela where 17 of us completed 117 km of an awe-inspiring spiritual pilgrimage ending at the lighthouse at Finesterre.
I established a reputable intern program for DHS. Under my guidance, the intern program included an orientation, goal setting objectives, legal training, as well as, offering meaningful opportunities to understand DHS’s mission in conjunction with service to clients. While the interns were able to get real world experience writing, the exposure to litigation and court cases was priceless. In addition, I established a mentoring program partnering with various trial attorneys that supported these students during and after the internship. My innovation and leadership in this arena produced outstanding results over the years as many have gone on to do great things both with the federal government and in the private sector. I fostered lasting partnerships with many universities. I had the opportunity and privilege to make a positive contribution to the legal field by teaching students to be consummate professionals. With this, to reach more people, I created S.H.I.N.E. Networking Inc.
As the lead intern supervisor and coordinator first with the INS/Department of Justice (DOJ), then with the ICE/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Miami, Florida, my team set out to empower, educate and support a diverse group of intern recruits to represent the federal government with the utmost professionalism. I was in charge of nearly 400 interns who came through this program, some are now advising at the highest levels of this organization and in other parts of the government. I also mentored hundreds of colleagues through training in groups and one on one. Even after resigning from government service, I continue on this pilgrimage to shine light, inspire collaboration, and spread good will that I know will save this human race.
While I am an experienced courtroom attorney, my most extraordinary quality is my passion to mentor and serve others. I have an endless reservoir of emotional generosity as I have helped many personally and professionally. Described as both savvy and kind, I blend listening skills with action items that propel people to define their goals and become their best selves. As a dreamer who works toward solutions, I know the journey to self awareness is hard but so worth it. And as a part of a team, my desire is to collaborate together saturating our surroundings with peace, hope and love. Even in light of current tensions, I do my best to foster opportunities that can help us all to become beacons of light shining together.
Valuing hard work, intellect, faith, love and service, I navigate my life with eyes wide open.
From my book:
Open your eyes; this remains a wonderful world…The world is filled with enough pessimists; you can be a part of the solution for a more enlightened universe by seizing optimism as your set point. With these kind of magical choices, you can be a vital part of rewriting a new, dominant paradigm that allows you to immerse in the things that matter most with an attitude of gratitude. You can smile with open eyes as you really start to see the trees that are green and the sky that is blue. And mimicking the words of Louis Armstrong, you will think to yourself that it has always been a wonderful world.