Office Manager Highlight – Anita Acebo
What MSZL&M Office do you work in?
I physically work in the Miami Florida location. However, I also manage the Tampa office as well as the Jacksonville office, both offices located in Florida.
What is your favorite thing about working at MSZL&M
There are many things that I enjoy working at MSZL&M. One of the main things is their emphasis on the work life balance. It’s nice and refreshing to be able to work at a firm where they recognize the importance of everyone having a family life and having a personal life. So the work life balance emphasis is wonderful. Also, I have worked for the firm many years, over 22 years, and they also emphasize the they’re very family oriented. Both of my daughters were very young when I started working here, and I’m just lucky to be able to say I never missed a competition, an award ceremony or a game. I was always encouraged to attend all of these activities with my daughters, which you can’t put a price tag on.
How long have you worked at MSZL&M
I have been with the firm for a little over 22 years. I started out as a part time paralegal, and then after eight years with the firm, they promoted me to office manager.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, there’s really no typical day being an office manager. Every day is something different, which actually is one of the things I like most about my position. Weekly Zoom meetings with my remote team in the offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, and a handful from Miami are one of the things I do on a daily basis. I think it’s important to have a face to face connection. It’s difficult, I feel when you’re not physically in the office. So I think it’s just really important to make sure that I have these face to face meetings, not only to make sure that everything is running well workwise, but also to just make sure that the employee and the staff are doing well, that they’re happy, they’re happy with their job, and that there’s no concern.
I also work very closely with the managing partner, Steve Mitchell. We work together to constantly ensure that any of the procedures we have in place are running well. We also like to take suggestions from attorney staff as to how we can improve things. So we’re constantly just trying to figure out better methods to make sure everyone is happy, making sure the work is well and that we’re working to a level of excellence for our clients.
Aside from that, I am involved in planning the firm events, team building events and charity events. I run payroll along with other office administrative things. I am in charge of reconciling our firm operating and trust account. I’m also the point person for any IT computer office issues for the three Florida offices. I also am involved with two other girls, Carolyn and Nicole from our Philly office who are amazing, for any issues with regards to the software systems that we use. So if anyone from any of the offices have any sort of issues with the software, we are the people that assist with that as well.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Aside from being mom to my two beautiful daughters, Natalie and Sophia, I’d say deciding to pursue a master’s degree in mental health counseling when my oldest daughter was three. It was something that I really wanted to do, but went back and forth because obviously, being a mom working full time and having my child, I knew it was going to be challenging. But my husband, who is amazing, helped me throughout so I was able to finish. It was a three year program that also included a one year internship at Children’s Home Society.
So as you can imagine, I was just busy and away a lot, but my husband stepped in and helped. I was able to graduate with my masters and I think it’s something that I’m able to show my daughters that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams, and as a woman, I can be a successful mom, I can be a professional, a great mom, a great wife, you can do it all.
What is a fun fact about you?
I don’t know if this is considered a fun fact, but I think people would be surprised that I really am an introvert. I feel very awkward in social situations sometimes or with large groups. I would be the person that would be standing in the corner scoping everyone out, trying to build up the nerve to maybe introduce myself to someone or talk to people that I don’t know. But once I get to know someone, obviously, I’m very comfortable. Public speaking is very difficult for me. People who know me may be surprised that I am in fact an introvert.
Do you participate in the firm’s charitable activities?
I absolutely participate in all of our firm’s charitable activities. Our managing partner, Steve Mitchell, came up with the term #MSZL&Mcares, and we try every quarter to participate in some sort of charity event. The most recent one we did was we prepared over 100 care packages this past Memorial Day for veterans, and we delivered them to the Veterans Hospital to be distributed. One of the charitable events that really touched me was one that we did during COVID. Our office came together and we purchased Thanksgiving items such as Turkey, sides for dinner and dessert. We put everything all together in boxes and delivered it to a school that’s located in a lower income neighborhood in South Miami. The families drove up in their cars, popped open the trunk, and we placed the items inside their trunk.
It was just heartbreaking, honestly, to see how many people would not have had a Thanksgiving dinner. I’m very blessed and you know, when you see things like that it really touches you so, not only was it a heartbreaking event, but it really was memorable and heartwarming because I’m so happy that we were able to assist these families.