The Secret to Her Success: How Ondrea Saffo went from the mailroom to paralegal

Originally Posted January 5, 2013 on ChancellorU.edu

“Focus on your potential instead of your limitations” – Allen Loy McGuiness.

When Ondrea Saffo started out in the mailroom at a law firm over ten years ago, she had no idea that her own raw potential and motivation would eventually lead her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in legal studies from Chancellor University.

“I started working in the mail room four hours a day at a firm with well over 300 attorneys,” she said. “The secretarial administrator got to know me and said ‘You’re a quick learner, we want to put you on our switch board.’ I did that for a while and then I was introduced into light clerical work.”

Over time, Ondrea’s hard work caught the attention of many who believed in her and she was next  promoted into a legal secretary training program.

“I started working with my first attorney who was in intellectual property,” said Ondrea. “I’ve been working in that area ever since.”

When Ondrea decided to make the move to the Eaton Corporation, she was determined to become a paralegal. After a few years working with intellectual property lawyers at Eaton, she was again promoted, this time into a paralegal position.

“I just love the challenges of being a paralegal, especially in intellectual property,” she said. “And it’s not just one thing. There is a variety of things I like. The diversity – everything I do is on the international level. I’m looking at an email right now with correspondents from Japan, Canada and Korea!”

So, why, after all of the hard work, did Ondrea decide it was time to return to school?

“I’m hoping to advance to the next level of paralegal here at Eaton,” she said. “One of the paralegals here graduated from Chancellor and she’d been very successful in her career. The school came to me very highly recommended.”

She added, “CU and my job work hand in hand together. I have a great support system at work and there’s an open door policy at Chancellor. The one key factor is success – they want to see me succeed in my career.”

Ondrea’s belief in her own potential has helped her to move personal and professional barriers for years and she hopes to continue her growth, long after she earns her degree.

“I always thought I had more potential. I wanted to use my brain, I wanted something challenging,” she said. “I’ve always been the underdog and I just believe the sky is the limit.”