Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Margie Pizarro knows what it means to struggle.
It’s easy to see why a person might not think so after meeting her: the Summerville entrepreneur has three college degrees and founded her own law practice, Pizarro Law Firm; her wide smile and acute sense of fashion combined with her vibrant personality and empathetic heart prove she’s beautiful inside and out; she’s a mother of four; and she’s a community philanthropist, volunteer and mentor.
But her story today is far different from when she moved to Summerville nine years ago, and Pizarro said she gladly tells the tale to anyone who will listen.
“If I can do it, anyone can do it,” she said. “I always say that I want to write a book and if I do it will be called ‘$500 and a Car Full of Children’ because that’s all I had… and a dream.”
That dream has gotten Pizarro far.
Far from her childhood in Walterboro, S.C., where she was raised in poverty by a single mother.
Far from becoming a young, single mother herself after one year at Clemson University.
Far from working as a 5th grade teacher in Greenville County.
Far from paying her way through a master’s program at Columbia College while raising four children.
“I was in my twenties with four kids and no money and I just said to myself ‘honey, this is not working for me!’ and I made a change.”
Pizarro credits her success to a combination of elements, including the help of community members who “embraced us” when her family arrived and her own determination and work ethic.
“People look for opportunities to help the underdog, and that’s what I’ve always been,” she said with a smile.
Pizarro is now looking for her own opportunities to help the “underdog,” an approach she’s adopted into her professional endeavors.
“I never really turn anybody down [as a client] if they don’t have any money. I tell my clients that if you invest in your case, I will invest in you.”
The mentality has fueled her community involvements, too.
“My story is one of hard work and determination. If you make the decision that you won’t be deterred, then you will make it,” she said. “People ask me all the time ‘how do you do it?’… I don’t know, I just do stuff.”
For the self-described multitasker, that “stuff” includes being an active parent in her children’s schools, working on the YEScarolina board of directors and as a mentor with the program, serving on the Columbia College board of visitors, and learning to dance for The ARK’s Dancing with the ARK Stars last year, to name a few.
She said her involvements all come down to the reason we’re here: “Our purpose in life is to help someone else.”
And yet, despite all of her professional, personal and philanthropic accomplishments, Pizarro says she still wants more.
“I am happy where I am, I see where I could be, but I am by no means satisfied.”
What does satisfy Pizarro?
She spoke with a smile of her goal to improve Pizarro Law Firm by taking on more complicated cases, her hope to write a book about her life, and her dream of one day sharing her unbreakable spirit with others by becoming a motivational speaker.
“My world view is that there’s more of a difference that I can make,” she said.
I don’t know what that is yet, but I know I’m poised to make that happen whenever it comes along.”