If you ask Cynthia Keliher the secret to her success, she will credit her parents for the great life she has. From an early age, she was taught to work hard, always be kind and value education. Those lessons have served her well.
Born and bred in Boston, Keliher is a product of the city she loves. She obtained a “stellar” education at Girls Latin School and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in sociology and French. Although she always thought she would be a social worker, she opted for law and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center.
“At the end of my junior year in college, I decided that I wanted to have a strong voice,” she said. “If I did become a lawyer, I planned to still be involved in social services.”
After graduation, her solid work ethic allowed no time for a breather. Instead, she immediately landed a job at Hale and Dorr before joining McCarter & English, where she has worked for more than 20 years, and is now a partner in the Real Estate Practice Group.
Professionally, Keliher has become a shining star in her field, playing a pivotal role in many significant real estate development projects. Most notably, she represented a consortium of five major colleges and universities to locate, permit and develop a state-of-the-art data center in the western part of the state. Keliher has also worked with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Management and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Professional And Personal Community Service
Outside the office, Keliher devotes significant time and energy to professional organizations. She serves on the board and is president-elect of the New England Chapter of CoreNet Global, and is a past president of New England Women in Real Estate.
“The wonderful peers in my professional networks are the backbone of my personal and professional success,” she said. Additionally, she is a board member of the Boston Industrial Development Finance Agency, a city-appointed position.
Her community efforts don’t end there. She has been actively involved with the Jimmy Fund for the last 20 years, participating in golf tournaments, volunteering at the annual Scoop-a-Thon, and answering phones in their annual radiothon. She also volunteers for the reading program at Children’s Hospital and sits on the boards of Sophia Snow House, a senior living community in Roslindale, and the Boston YWCA.
Sarah Abrams, senior vice president of global real estate at Iron Mountain and one of last year’s Women of FIRE Award recipients, nominated Keliher for the exemplary qualities she exhibits daily. “She is a talented and highly respected lawyer whose clients think the world of her and who has been recognized as a leader in her profession,” she said. “She never says no when asked to mentor a younger colleague or help a friend, and she devotes countless hours of pro bono legal time and leadership to several professional and civic organizations.”
Keliher advises other women striving to enter the profession to be an excellent listener and to actively seek opportunities. “People don’t come knocking on your door. If you see an opportunity within a company, express your interest,” she said. “You have to promote yourself – and don’t underestimate your abilities.”
Grateful for the trust her clients place in her, Keliher is thrilled to be able to give back to the city that played a big part in her upbringing.