Emely Laporte has been with GLS for over twelve years. She began as the St. Petersburg office receptionist. At the time, she had three young children and was working the overnight shift at a sewing factory. It was exhausting! Her youngest, Julian, was an infant and she was ready for a job with an easier schedule. She found out about GLS through her mother, Arleen, who worked as an intake paralegal.
Starting as a receptionist, Emely quickly learned all facets of the organization. She changed titles several times and eventually became a legal assistant in the housing unit for five years. The experience taught her a lot about the direct service component of the organization – she learned the lifespan of a case, how to properly conduct an intake interview, and all the compliance issues accompanying grant funded legal aid work. All of this knowledge would later inform her work in the administration unit.
After working as a legal assistant, she moved into administration and became the strategic project director, continuing to build her institutional knowledge of the organization. It made sense for her to eventually move into operations.
Emely’s current title is Compliance and Information Systems Manager, and the role encompasses many different tasks. On the compliance side, Emely is crucial in ensuring GLS meets all our grant requirements. She ensures the proper documents are in case files, all LegalServer fields are filled out correctly, time recording is properly entered, online intakes are being responded to, and trouble tickets are dealt with. For operations, Emely takes the lead in opening new offices (two in the last year!) and is in charge of inventorying furniture and equipment. She is also the GLS contact for phone vendors and our leasing company. In addition, she assists with grant reporting, providing demographic information for grant applications, and is the supervisor for our awesome Administrative and Billing Specialist, Francis.
Moving forward, Emely hopes GLS will eventually have a children’s advocacy program that she can be directly involved with. She loves children. “I would’ve had ten more kids if I could’ve,” she says. She has three – Julian, Joel, and Emmaly (Emma). Emma is in college, studying to become a doctor and makes exceptional marks. Joel is a baseball star and Emely spends a lot of her free time traveling around to his games.
*left to right: Joel, Julian, Emely, Hector (husband), and Emma
Her youngest, Julian, is thirteen. He’s a great artist and loves drawing (you can see samples of his work in the admin section of the St. Pete office). He is also on the autism spectrum. Emely has worked very hard to stay involved with his school and IEP (individualized education program). Her family also participates in yearly Autism Walks to raise awareness and have been for close to ten years.
“I did everything I could to make sure he would have a good life.”
Emely was born in Puerto Rico but moved to St. Petersburg at the age of six. Her favorite food is Italian, but she loves mfongo con carne frita, which is made of fried mashed plantain, mashed garlic and pieces of chicharrón (pork). She is also a Sagittarius and recently had a birthday – if you missed it, feel free to bring her mfongo or food from Olive Garden!
Thank you, Emely, for your years of service and all the heart and soul you’ve put into GLS. We love you.