By ROBERTA CODEMO
Kendra Wolters credits her grandfather for her early interest in law. He worked for a printing press operation and left to work for the union, where he oversaw contract negotiations and worked with attorneys.
“I loved talking with him about his job,” she said.
When she started college, she didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was taking classes at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville with an eye toward pursing a degree in criminal justice when her guidance counselor suggested she take some paralegal classes.
It was there she met program director Jeanne Dibble.
“It’s amazing how one person can shape the course of your life,” she said. “If I hadn’t met her, I don’t know where I would be now.”
Following her graduation from Southern Illinois Carbondale in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, she went to work as a paralegal and enjoyed what she did. She knew she had found the right career path and applied to law school.
While in law school, she worked as a summer associate at Heyl Royster in the Edwardsville office. Following her graduation from Southern Illinois University School of Law, she joined the firm in 2011 and currently handles asbestos and toxic tort claims along with agricultural arbitration matters.
“I never imagined working for a large Illinois law firm,” she said, adding she loves the people she works with. “I can’t see myself anywhere else right now.”
Originally from Steeleville, she and her three younger brothers are the children of divorced parents and were raised to believe that people are honest and do the right thing. She is the first one in her family to graduate from college.
She and her husband of 10 years have twin sons and reside in Edwardsville with their two dogs. A passionate animal lover, she volunteers with Gateway Pet Guardians and Love a Golden Rescue and has fostered lots of fur children.
“It’s a small way to impact the community where I live,” she said.
The values she was raised with have helped shape her into the person she is today, and she wants to impart these to her children. Each morning she tells them to be kind to others, to be humble and to work hard.
“You can achieve whatever you set your mind to,” she said. “Life will take you where you need to be.”