As Practice Leader for the Trusts & Estates Group, Linda D. Hartley brings a strong work ethic and dedication to excellence to everything in which she invests her time. Having been born in Tampa and raised in the local Brandon area, it seems only natural that Linda has an affinity and passion for serving the community that she has enjoyed calling "home" over the course of her life.
About 14 years ago, Linda's parents finally moved from their Brandon home to build a house in Riverview on her grandmother's cattle ranch. Their influence upon her life has been profound -- modeling for Linda how to give one's best and share generously of time, talent and resources. Her mother was an elementary teacher for Hillsborough County Schools for 32 years. Linda fondly remembers having her mother serve as her own 5th grade teacher, along with several of her close friends. Her father worked for Tampa Armature Works for his entire career. Their consistency and dedication to their professions created a lasting impression of hard work and determination, planting seeds that would bear fruit in Linda's life and career years later.
The Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross is an organization that is near and dear to Linda's heart. She began her service as a volunteer with the Red Cross in 1993, serving as a member of the Planned Giving Committee for many years, which was a great tie-in to her practice concentration in trusts and estates. Over time, that commitment eventually led to her being named Chair of the Planned Giving Committee. She then served as a member of the Board of Directors, and was later elected Chairman of the Board, serving a two-year term from 2006-2008. This leadership role enabled her to attend meetings all over the country and to host then American Red Cross CEO and former Internal Revenue Commissioner, Mark Everson, right here in Tampa. Her work for this well respected organization has been tireless and is an inspiration to her fellow colleagues and co-workers.
Linda has also worked with our Tampa Bay Community Foundation, serving on its Professional Advisory Committee for many years and encouraging clients to incorporate charitable giving in their estate plans. Recently, Linda has expanded her community involvement to include serving as a member of the Planned Giving Committee for Bay Area Legal Services, an organization that provides pro bono legal counsel to citizens without adequate means. "It is great to be a part of something that directly meets needs head-on," shares Linda. "Bay Area Legal Services assists individuals in a very professional manner. Clients are given the same type of service as those who can afford the work, and they are treated with dignity and respect. This approach is very important and it often helps lead to future empowerment for individuals."
Linda has been married to her husband Terry for over 14 years and they have two children. Their son, Terry Jr., is 12 years old and began middle school this year. Their daughter, Sydney, is seven, and she began first grade this past fall. Linda and Terry have made a commitment to model a spirit of giving to impress upon their children the significance of volunteerism in one's life.
"Although it seems quite simple, from an early age, we have encouraged Terry Jr. and Sydney to give their books, toys, and puzzles to a nearby pre-school when they outgrow them. It's one way to teach them to share with others, and to be aware of those less fortunate," shares Linda. "I believe these kind of lessons need to start early in life so that young people can grow up with a genuine concern for others. I want the future service of our children to spring from a sense of authentic caring. When you are passionate about a worthy cause, it makes giving come so easily." Terry Jr. saw his mother's passion for the American Red Cross first hand when he was invited to the Tampa Bay Chapter's Annual Meeting where Mom won an award for her outstanding service.
Linda's commitment to her family and her community has helped pave a solid foundation for her life. "I count it a privilege to give back to the community that has been so good to us," she reflects. "The Tampa Bay Area has afforded us a wonderful opportunity to practice law and to make lasting contributions to the lives of others, both professionally and personally. I can't imagine living anywhere else."
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