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  • A Tale of Two Sisters

    by Jacob M. Appel

    It was the best of times, it was the best of times. At least that’s how it must seem in the Baraban household, where sisters Jennifer and Julie are blazing divergent paths to glory: one as an intellectual property lawyer in New York, the other as a hospitality industry salesperson in Washington, D.C.

    “We’re the best of friends,” says Julie. “But we’ve each found a field that’s right for us. I respect what my sister does, but it’s right for her and not for me.” So much for sibling rivalry

    Four years at the University of Arizona taught Julie that she wanted to work and with people—and she knew by graduation that she either wanted to work in hospitality or in public relations. She created her own internship at the university’s administrative offices, planning fund raising events with the dean, and earned herself the recommendations to secure a job as a sales associate at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. From there she climbed the corporate hospitality ladder at record speed and at twenty-six, Julie now has the responsibilities usually reserved for thirty-five to forty year olds. And she relishes every minute of it.

    “I’m really a people person,” Julie explains. “There’s nothing more enjoyable than working with many different people in a positive environment. Hospitality takes a lot of motivation, but it’s worth it.”

    Jennifer, meanwhile, as an intellectual property and information technology specialist, negotiates and drafts agreements involving web site development, hosting, and linking. This is a dream come true for the sister who describes herself as having been interested in business since childhood.

    “The field of intellectual property law is changing almost daily in connection with its application to technology and the Internet,” she explains. “I like bringing ideas to life and facilitating the creation of relationships. I chose to enter law for this reason. Corporate lawyers assist clients in connection with developing, marketing, and selling products and services. I like to think that through this function, we assist in adding value to the world.”

    According to Jennifer, high school and college students wanting to follow in her footsteps should take time to explore the world before choosing a career. “They should take art classes and athletic classes,” she observes. “During summers, they should work in different fields. If a student knows that he or she wants to be a lawyer, the student should talk to other lawyers and attempt to obtain different legal experiences.” Prior to opting for the bar, Jennifer worked one summer for a United States Senator, one summer as a law clerk and took art classes one summer. She also spent one summer employed as a desk clerk for the Hilton Hotels in San Diego in order to “learn about the hotel industry”—which she quickly realized wasn’t for her. Julie didn’t event need to work at a law firm to know she wasn’t cut out to be an attorney.

    Both sisters, otherwise so different, agree on an underlying philosophy of career choice: Explore the world until you find something you’re good at that you also enjoy. In a family where talent seems to run both broad and deep, the challenge doesn’t seem to be finding such fields, but choosing between them. #

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