Ever win a big award recognizing your life’s work and passion? Not many of us have.
But Marian Russo has, and she can tell us first-hand what it’s like.
In short, it’ll make your day.
It’s actually been an exciting three months for Russo, who serves as community development agency executive director for Patchogue Village.
First, in August, she got word that Long Island Business News was recognizing her as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business.
Then last month she was invited to the county headquarters building in Hauppauge for a proclamation from the county executive and Long Island WINS for what’s called welcoming work, a nationwide effort that highlight contributions immigrants make in American communities.
“I want everybody to feel at home in our town,” she told Long Island WINS. (Video below.)
She capped off her whirlwind of a few weeks with a gala hosted by the Long Island Business News last week that recognized its Top 50 Influential Women at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
“There were probably over 500 people there,” she said. “They had us all go into a room and brought us out and they spoke about each of us. It was very humbling, because I’m with these 50 awesome women. I was really impressed. I was impressed with the other honorees.”
Russo, who started her career in real estate law, through which she worked on foreclosures, among other things, eventually left that field to counsel first-time homebuyers, eventually dedicating her life to fair housing initiatives.
Aside from her work for the village, she serves as president of the Long Island Community Development Organization, vice president of the Long Island Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; as local chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; and is a past president of the Association of Long Island Housing Agencies, among other volunteer positions.
Delving more into detail about how it feels to be recognized by the larger world of Long Island, Russo said it “brings more meaning to what you do, to know that other people recognize the contributions I make to the my community.”
“And I guess the only thing I can say is it makes my heart full,” she continued, speaking from her desk in Village Hall. “That your life takes a path where you have one idea where it’s going to go and when these other opportunist open up, you pursue them and you wind up in the place where you’re supposed to be.
“And this award is recognition that this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Russo appears about nine minutes in: