Attorney to the Rescue
Serena Pollack BA1997 is general counsel at Boelter Companies, a third-generation, Wisconsin-based company in the restaurant and hospitality industry. A Badger through and through, she’s motivated to help others both on the job and at home.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she left her comfortable life in Chicago to move to New Orleans. Helping to restore the community on both a professional and volunteer level, she worked to rebuild homes with the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit that focuses on supporting those affected by disasters.
That was just the beginning. Later that year, she was selected to serve as a member of the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. Since then, she has held various positions within the organization and has served on the board of directors for the Anti-Defamation League of New Orleans. Pollack, who is a 2013 recipient of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Forward under 40 Award, also joined a colleague to help rebuild the Bayou Badgers — the Wisconsin alumni chapter of New Orleans.
In 2010, Pollack was working as an attorney in New Orleans, focusing on matters related to the local restaurant industry, when tragedy struck again. In the aftermath of the BP oil spill, she found another opportunity to put her skills to work. Representing a group of James Beard Award–winning chefs in a class-action lawsuit against BP and others, Pollack became a highly regarded advocate for the Gulf Coast seafood industry.
“My University of Wisconsin education, which was reinforced by local UW alumni who I am honored and proud to call friends, gave me the confidence and motivation to become an advocate for an industry that was being brushed aside in the wake of the damage,” says Pollack.
She also credits her UW education with giving her the “chutzpah” to ask world-famous chefs and culinary professionals why they do not support the Gulf Coast seafood industry and to explain why they should. Although Pollack has moved back to Wisconsin, she continues to spread the word about the importance of the industry through her work at Boelter.