Rollini sees the power of the individual

Link, Tallahassee Democrat

Gigi Rollini

Gigi Rollini

Attorney Gigi Rollini’s professional success and leadership in her field reflect a basic belief that the individual matters.

“I think individually we each have the power to effect change,” she says. Rollini has seen that proven in her association work and civic activities. Furthermore, when women who share that culture, passion and energy get together, the achievements are multiplied.

Rollini is a past president of Tallahassee Women Lawyers and is currently Florida’s delegate to the National Association of Women Lawyers. The American Society of Legal Advocates named her a “Top 40 Litigator Under 40.” She is also one of the 25 Women You Need to Know, the annual celebration during Women’s History Month of women’s accomplishments and contributions to the community. It is sponsored by the Tallahassee Democrat and online at Tallahassee.com by The Gem Collection.

While still a law student at FSU she had the chance to meet some of the members of Tallahassee Women Lawyers and get to know them. “It was not long after I entered the legal profession that I became involved in the association,” she recalled.

Rollini, 38, was elected president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers in 2010, only the fifth woman from Tallahassee to serve as statewide president since FAWL began in 1951. During her term in office she founded FAWL’s Advancement Project to cultivate women leaders in Florida. Among its activities was encouraging women to seek public office, to become judges, to serve on state judicial nominating committees and to participate in Florida Bar leadership.

“It was a huge undertaking and one we were not sure we could achieve,” Rollini said. Now, four years later, women serve in 40 to 45 percent of those key positions, compared to less than one-third of them when the Advancement Project began.

“That’s how you get things done,” Rollini said. “Little by little, when you come together to achieve a focused goal, you can move the needle on just about anything.”

Using a grant from The Florida Bar in 2009, Rollini started the Tallahassee Professional Women’s Exchange, a network consisting of women from many business areas and professions who promote each other in the community, as well as important causes, service opportunities and mentoring. The network has more than 350 members now.

Pam Ridley, a 2008 honoree in the 25 Women You Need to Know, nominated Rollini for the award. “This nomination is made because Gigi empowers others in every role in which she serves,” Ridley wrote. “She is not just a leader, but a woman who, through leadership, enables others to become leaders.”

Rollini is involved at America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, first as a volunteer for the nonprofit’s Backpack Program that sends food home with schoolchildren who may not have anything to eat at home over the weekend. She provides free legal services to the food bank and serves on its Executive Leadership Board.

She participates in the development of Second Harvest’s Ambassador Program, which is intended to connect the nonprofit to the larger legal community for the purposes of building public awareness about hunger and the opportunities for service in Second Harvest’s mission.