Because I have been fortunate enough to have led a charmed life, telling my story in charms may require more than the average number of charms, and my bracelet will weigh a ton. Many accomplished women might shun the charm bracelet as a frivolity, but not me–I find charm bracelets, well, charming, and the most charming thing about them is that up close and personal they are a great way to tell a life story, as I am sure you appreciate. They are a compact, wearable scrapbook.  Among other things, I collect charm bracelets (I own a few dozen plus some books on charm bracelets) and enjoy wearing them daily. So here is my story is told through delightful Rembrandt charms. I realize you only would award five charms, so I would have to spring for the remainder!

For more than two decades, I have been privileged to enjoy an international law practice advising nonprofit sector clients worldwide from Roha & Flaherty, Attorneys at Law, in Washington, DC.  My nonprofit client base includes colleges, universities, professional associations, think tanks, disaster relief and development organizations, human rights groups, family foundations, state university related foundations, and dozens of “Friends of” foreign charitable entities, as well as major donors to nonprofit institutions. In addition, Roha & Flaherty has created some 300 new nonprofit organizations over the years. Roha & Flaherty acts as both outside general counsel and as corporate and tax counsel for numerous organizations worldwide. SCALES OF JUSTICE #1967 and GLOBE #8334 together could allude to my professional work.

I have frequently written and spoken in the field of nonprofit law field. Reflecting the international aspects of my practice, I contributed the introductory chapters to the original edition of The International Guide to Nonprofit Law, Lester Salamon (ed.), John Wiley & Sons. I have advised foreign governments on creating and optimizing nonprofit sector statutory schemes. In Asia, my work in Japan included advising the Japanese Government Economic Planning Agency Study Team on a new governing law and development of independent nongovernmental organizations. My “Voluntary Sector and Corporate Citizenship in the United States and Japan” appeared in Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, published by the University of Kent, UK. I am also the author of The Japanese Corporation the United States: Aspects of Corporate Philanthropy, Kezai Koho Center [a/k/a Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs, Tokyo, which is akin to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce], published in Japanese and English. This monograph served as a pioneering comparative law study designed to facilitate Japanese corporate giving in the US and to encourage liberalization of Japanese charitable tax deduction and nonprofit organization tax exemption laws. The initial release of the monograph was to 2,600 corporate executives in Japan, including 1,100 to external affairs departments for forwarding to US subsidiaries. I take special pride in my work in Japan. As my career has been very important to me, particularly these aspects of it, in addition to SCALES OF JUSTICE, JAPANESE TORI GATE #1491 and either BOOK #1363 or BOOK #3160 would be a nice way to represent this aspect of my professional work.

In Europe, as Eastern Europe transitioned to democracy, I advised the Bulgarian government on its nonprofit sector statutory framework. I also served as faculty for a management training institute for leaders of nonprofit organizations in Bulgaria under the auspices of the Institute for Policy Studies Third Sector Project, Johns Hopkins University. My “Philanthropy without Borders: US Private Foundation Activity in Eastern Europe” also appeared in Voluntas. This article was also published in Uruguay in Spanish. This transition to democracy work could be nicely symbolized by your STATUTE OF LIBERTY #0877.

Prior to private practice of law, I was privileged to serve as a lobbyist for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities on charitable giving issues, a Capitol Hill staffer, and an analyst with the Treasury Department. These elements of my work could be represented by your charms DIPLOMA #0185, CAPITOL BLDG. #6377, and DOLLAR #2807.

I earned two law degrees from the National Law Center of the George Washington University: the Juris Doctor, and a Master of Laws, Taxation, With Highest Honors. I am also a Certified Association Executive from the University of Maryland. I hold a B.A. With High Distinction in political science and business from The Pennsylvania State University. To represent these, your DIPLOMA #1093 and GRADUATION CAP WITH PEARL #1149 would be nice.

Work of course is not everything. When not practicing law, I enjoy adventure travel and art.  I have visited 37 countries to date, many for repeat visits. My favorites are France and China, which could be represented by your EIFFEL TOWER #1381 and perhaps the YIN YANG #6430. I am passionate about long distance bicycle touring and have ridden over 15,000 miles on four continents. For these adventures, I would enjoy CYCLIST #2669, HIKING BOOT #3462, and AIRPLANE 747 #2326.

When not traveling and shooting panoramic photos, I enjoy creating and collecting art. A wearable art biography of my mother, combining collage, costume, quilting, photography, found objects, was accepted into permanent collection of Smithsonian affiliate Senator John Heinz Regional History Center, Pittsburgh, PA. The photography and art could be represented by CAMERA #7754 and ARTIST PALETTE w/STONES #8151, and in special honor of my mom who was a great card player and her art bio features lots of card motifs, the QUEEN OF HEARTS #8127. Also, I am an avid collector of Native American pottery and Chinese Yixing teaware. Your KILN POTTERY, OPENS #8103 would nicely represent my ceramics collections.

Combining law and collecting interests, I especially enjoy advising on gifts of tangible property, with recent transactions including important collections of early 20th century Western landscape photographs, French medical ephemera, and Indian painting from the 1700s and 1800s. I recently concluded work on a gift of a collection of a family member to her university museum of nearly 1,000 irons and ironing related objects. For this I would enjoy the IRON #0217. It was my great pleasure to have taken hundreds of people on tours as a docent at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC over a 13-year period, and the mascot of the Corcoran is a lion, for which LION #5254 would be nice.

I hail from Turtle Creek, PA, and is the last of nine daughters. TURTLE WITH TWO STONES #2597 and number 9 NUMBER #1761-009 would symbolize this. I have been a Washingtonian since 1977, so of course I would have to have WASHINGTON MONUMENT OPEN DISC #6378. When my law career was well established, I was thrilled to meet and marry Dr. Kevin F. F. Quigley, President, Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont, and earlier President, National Peace Corps Association, Washington, DC.  Kevin is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Thailand), and like me, also one of nine children! I would like PEACE SYMBOL #2148 to represent Kevin. We met on a 900-mile bike ride and have been pedaling together ever since–I already have a bike charm, above.

I take the greatest delight in my daughter, Fiona L. Q. Flaherty, who is about to graduate from high school.  For about five years, she and I had fun riding horses together Wednesday afternoons.  For Fiona, I would like HEART #1495 ENGRAVED WITH HER NAME and EQUESTRIAN RIDING HAT #8298.  For many years we went around the world riding antique carousels, so CAROUSEL, TURNS AROUND #3345 is also a must have. When she was younger, we often rode a classic Schwinn tandem bike to and from her school. Rembrandt doesn’t yet make a tandem bike, but there’s an idea for a new charm.  Also, for Fiona, PEACH #3408 would be sweet, because her nick name as a baby was “The Peach” because she only had peach fuzz for hair for about two years!  Finally, because we are Irish, I would enjoy adding for Fiona GREEN SHAMROCK #8188.

I would be utterly charmed and so thrilled to create with your assistance this charm bracelet of my life as I approach my 65th birthday! Maybe I would have to ADD BEST IS YET TO BE #8345 and, in true Victorian style, EMPTY CAPSULE #3356 for some tiny locks of hair from my loved ones.

I really enjoyed reading prior winning stories in this contest–keep them coming. Thank you for letting me tell my story using 32 delightful charms–I’ll have to do strength training to lift my fully loaded bracelet!  Thanks again.  May you lead a charmed life!

– Susan F., December Winner



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