Before working with her sister, Szalva dabbled in a bit of everything, including a plumbing contracting company, a custom fabric company, and a court-reporting agency. “You name it,” she says.
But when her most recent job, selling designer fabrics to interior designers, fell through eight years ago, Szalva was looking for work and decided to join her sister at the shop.
“I love it because it’s never the same day twice,” she said. “I make sure to smile and keep a positive attitude, which can be hard at times.”
But living by her father’s advice has helped.
“He used to say, ‘Take a deep breath, relax and just know that in 100 years no one will ever know the difference,’” Szalva says. “It really puts things into perspective.”
Her position at the shop doesn’t allow for days off, “unless I’m dying,” she says. However, she tries to make the most of it: “No matter what’s going on, I have to make sure I smile. Just because you’re having a bad day doesn’t mean you can have a bad attitude.”
And her effort doesn’t go unnoticed.
“My dog, Zoe, and me get excited to visit Laura’s,” says Kim Lerner, who has been a frequent customer at the shop for almost five years. “It’s such a pleasure to see the harmony between Cathy and Laura. Cathy has such a warm smile and she always knows what you want as soon as you walk in. She makes coming in an absolute delight.”
Jamaica marked its 50th Independence Day in August, which gave the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami a reason to celebrate. Cheryl Wynter, the consulate’s information director, was also the project coordinator for the celebration.
“I’d say that right now is the most exciting time for me at work since I started working here in 1999,” she says. “I’ve had the chance of traveling. I’ve met a lot of great names. But I’m really proud to say that I’m involved in this project.”
Wynter, who has lived in South Florida since 1993, has become the go-to person at the consulate. As information director, she mainly gathers and disseminates information. When people need help, they go to her. She also plans events, including church services, prime minister visits, Jamaica’s Independence Day every year and events that “share Jamaican heritage and culture with other nationalities.”
“I’m people-friendly and I think people trust me when it comes to information,” she says. “They know that I’ll help them as much as I can. And if I don’t know the information myself, I’ll help them find it.”
Wynter says she enjoys every aspect of her job, from the research to communicating with the media.
“As soon as I got into it, I loved it,” she says. “It’s important to enjoy your job. There must be one aspect of your job that you enjoy and you should focus on that. Everyone has days when they don’t want to go to work, but there’s no such time for that.”
While we hear Jay Rokeach more than we hear of him, his voice has been synonymous with the University of Miami Hurricanes and other teams.