Annamaria Perruccio…Vaughan lawyer move in leaps and bounds

By Marisa Iacobucci

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  Photo by Guilio Muratori

Photo by Guilio Muratori

While most unsuspecting little girls can easily succumb to fairytale dreams of becoming princesses, Family Law lawyer Annamaria Perruccio, 29, was far too busy for tiaras. 

She heeded, instead, to her future call of litigation. “As a child, I would defend my younger sisters whenever they got into trouble or were being scolded by my parents. I distinctly remember a time when I was arguing contributory negligence on behalf of my sister and was insisting that it wasn’t her fault that she had broken the lamp in my family room. Instead, it was my parents’ fault for placing the lamp too close to the edge of the table,” recalls Perruccio, whose family lovingly nicknamed her “the little lawyer with backwards shoes” because of her childhood habit of wearing her shoes backwards. 

Perruccio, who grew up in Vaughan and now works for Sutherland Law in Vaughan, was always interested in law and languages. She pursued an undergraduate degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from Glendon College (York University), which allowed her to combine her interests in languages (Italian and French) and law. The trilingual Perruccio then went on to complete her Masters coursework through York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, focusing on social environments, specifically, the discrimination faced by Italian-Canadians in Toronto after the Second World War. Her research was put on hold while she pursued a law degree at the University of Windsor, but she plans to complete it.

For now, Perruccio is focused on practicing family law and is committed to assisting her clients during what might be the most challenging periods in their lives. “I am passionate about what I do – everything from the initial client meeting, to mediation, court attendances and the completion of a file. I love being able to find creative solutions to meet the individual needs of my clients,” she says.

While the demands of her career keep Perruccio working long hours, she longs to spend time with her parents and her two younger sisters (Daniela, 28 and Alessandra, 25) even if that means sharing at least one meal together on weekends. Perruccio’s father was born in Argusto, Catanzaro in Calabria. Following in his brother’s footsteps, he immigrated to Canada in 1973 in search of a better life. Perruccio’s mother, also from a Calabrese background, was born and raised in Toronto. 

Perruccio’s Italian upbringing is something she is fiercely proud of. “Italian traditions and culture are an important part of my life and have played a significant role in shaping me as an individual. My strong work ethic is rooted in the values and morals my parents instilled in me at a young age.” Some of Perruccio’s fondest memories of growing up in an Italian family include always being surrounded by family, friends, and food of course.“Whether it was sitting around the lunch table on a Sunday afternoon, making sugo over the Labour Day weekend or buying an entire cantina full of panettone and visiting relatives at Christmas, Easter and other times, the love and laughter that filled my home cannot be understated,” she explains.

“Italian traditions and culture are an important part of my life

and have played a significant role in shaping me as an individual”

While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Perruccio was lucky enough to be able to study abroad at the University of Bologna for one of her Italian courses. Thus began her love affair with Italy. She found a reason to return every summer, while working as a supervisor and assistant teacher with the Centro Scuola e Cultura Italiana Summer Exchange Program in Italy for Canadian high school students.

Besides her career and family, volunteer work is also very important to Perruccio. “I maintain my commitment to volunteerism as a mentor to youth and [am a] strong advocate and supporter of various organizations, such as Camp Oochigeas, Parkinson Canada and SickKids® Foundation,” she says.

Perruccio is currently president and chair of La Rocca Memorial Society, a non-profit organization, whose mission includes inspiring volunteerism and engaging young people to become change makers in their communities. A past bursary recipient, Perruccio is living proof that the next generation can be encouraged to become involved and make a real difference in the lives of others.

Her career, family life and volunteer work show no sign of slowing down anytime soon, just as Perruccio likes it. If she could give any advice to future leaders, it’s this: “Be true to who you are and never compromise your values or beliefs for anyone or anything. There is nothing greater than one’s integrity. Work hard and persevere in order to achieve your goals and never forget your roots and where you came from.”

Reprinted with permission from Panoram Italia    

Natalie Pecile…Making the world a better place

By Danila Di Croce

Photo by Giulio Muratori

Photo by Giulio Muratori

When Natalie Pecile decided to study science throughout high school, she was planning to follow in her father’s footsteps and become an engineer. However, that all changed when she realized that her extroverted personality was far better suited for the business world. 

Her decision was definitely the right one as this recent alumnus of York University’s Schulich School of Business has flourished with the opportunities her program provided her. At 21, this native of Toronto has already garnered a pretty impressive résumé. She spent a semester abroad in Bangkok, Thailand, developed a literacy program at her old elementary school, competed in Dubai for the Hult Prize, held the title of VP of Operations of Schulich’s Undergraduate Business Society, and she was just recently hired for a full-time position with the Tim Hortons Leadership Development Program. “I’ve always been interested in how to apply myself to benefit society,” she says. “Originally, I specialized in accounting and the non-profit business sector; however, I then switched to focus on marketing and entrepreneurship.”

That switch is what led her to Dubai. In her fourth year at Schulich, Pecile directed her focus on social entrepreneurship and social business. This resulted in her, along with three of her classmates, entering a local competition organized by the Hult Prize Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to launching the world’s next wave of social entrepreneurs. The competition invites students to develop new ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises that will help to solve the planet’s biggest challenges. Although Pecile and her team did not win, she points out that the experience was definitely worthwhile. “It was very empowering; it allowed me to use everything I had learned at school up until that point and apply it to a global challenge that I am really passionate about. It helped me to look at our issues with new perspectives and taught me to be more flexible and open to change, which I think will be very helpful moving forward.”

Pecile’s experience in Bangkok, Thailand, also left her with a positive impression. “Meeting people, discussing career options with them, and observing individuals who were pursing entrepreneurship was a great career influence.”

 Nowadays, Pecile is focusing on her new position at the Tim Hortons Leadership Development Program, which allows individuals to train in different areas of the business before deciding on which sector to commit to. “I am excited about the program as it gives me the opportunity to try out new things; most especially to experience marketing in ‘the real world,’ outside of school.”

When she isn’t busy trying out new ventures in the business world, Pecile occupies her time with organizing and overseeing events at York University. She also devotes time to the arts. As a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Pecile enjoys playing the piano. When asked how she balances it all, Pecile credits her family for their support. “My parents have always let me make my decisions freely. They have always been supportive and helpful with their advice.”

She also credits her strong family ties for helping shape the person she has become. “We are close; for each special occasion we all gather at my grandparents’ house, and I really appreciate that because I know that not everyone has that.” She acknowledges both sets of grandparents, who hail from the Friuli and Lazio regions of Italy, for helping keep her connected to her Italian roots. “A lot of my Italian influence comes from food and speaking the language. Initially I learned Italian was I was little, and then I switched to English. My grandparents have always shown us traditions such as making sausages, wine and pasta sauce.”

In regards to continuing traditions, Pecile explains, “I definitely want to put more time into the Italian culture and concentrate on it more. I would love to improve in my speaking and continue the language with future generations of my family.”

When asked where she sees herself in the near future, Pecile says, “I want to learn everything about the business and hopefully one day become a successful entrepreneur. Having all parts of your life balanced and working hard at something, while improving the lives of others – that would be ideal.”

Reprinted with permission from Panoram Italia