Cathy Roland & Laura Carey, Receptionists
Visitors’ first point of contact at the Institute, Ms. Roland and Ms. Carey, our receptionists, support our goal to be both a place of welcome and a haven for the multicultural community.
Name, title and how long you have been at the Institute?
[CR]: Cathy Roland, receptionist, born and raised here in Buffalo, NY. I’ve been here for five years.
[LC]: Laura Carey, receptionist, and I have been at the Institute for about six months now.
What would you say is the most rewarding thing about working at an organization like the Institute?
[CR]: Seeing people change. The clients that come through here, as a receptionist I am able to watch them as they walk in through the door for the first time. You see that they are nervous and scared, especially the Moms. The Moms, they know that this is just the beginning and they are worried. Fathers, it seems, are relieved to just be here. Over time, I am able to see positive changes in individuals and families from that first initial encounter and I love watching that happen and knowing that I am a part of it.
[LC]: I would say the most rewarding thing about working at the Institute is having the opportunity to meet so many different and interesting people that walk through our doors each day.
What is the first work that comes to mind when I say “International Institute of Buffalo”?
[CR]: Helping people [laughs] oh right, one word: giving.
What is one accomplishment that you are most proud of?
[CR]: That’s a hard one for me to think of. Honestly, I would have to say that my accomplishment is that I have become more open-minded as a result of working here.
[LC]: I am very proud that I was able to graduate high school with a Regent’s diploma. [Laughs] Most people tend to forget that I am only twenty years old.
Since the Institute works with diverse people from all over the world, can you share with us your own heritage? First generation? Second? Third?
[CR]: I come from a family of Irish immigrants, making me a third generation American-born citizen. Both sides of my family are of Irish descent. My parents’ families were always feuding—something similar to the Hatfield-McCoy’s—which always made parties and reunions interesting.
[LC]: The only thing that I know about my heritage is that I am Irish.
Given the international nature of the Institute, have you traveled abroad? Any places on your bucket list?
[CR]: A lot of my international travel was when I was in high school and in my early twenties. I went to Paris in my teens, but I feel that due to my age I didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have. I’ve also been to a few of the Caribbean Islands as well—namely Aruba, Jamaica and Bahamas. I would really enjoy going to Australia.
[LC]: Other than Canada, I have not traveled outside the United States. Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic are at the top of my bucket list.
If you could sit down with any historical figure, who would you choose? What is something that you would ask them about?
[CR]: Abraham Lincoln. Since he had such an interesting family, I would ask him some questions about his family.
[LC]: Harriet Tubman. I would definitely want to ask her about how she was able to muster the bravery and courage to achieve what she did. She is such an important figure in history; I would like to share with her how amazing I think she is.
Favorite international food?
[CR]: Mexican. I have been on the hunt for good authentic Mexican food around Buffalo—the spicier the better!
[LC]: Pastelillo and Pernil (Roasted Pork).
What can you tell me about your life away from the Institute?
[CR]: I have a very active life outside the Institute. I spend a lot of time with friends hosting theme movie and game nights.
[LC]: I enjoy going for runs with my dog and working out. I also spend time cooking yummy dinners.
What three traits would you say define you?
[CR]: Humorous, trusting and loyal.
[LC]: Compassionate, generous and loyal.
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
[CR]: I love this organization. I have worked for many places that do help people, but this place by far has given me the most joy. I love the people I work with and the people we help, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
[LC]: Not only am I amazed by the Institute’s work and the services they provide to our community, but how astonished I am with my colleagues every day. I have learned so much is such a short period of time. I am very grateful to work here.