Kula Hoty Lynch - Corporate Counsel, Hoty Enterprises
We are continuing our series of highlighting trailblazing women from across Erie County who have broken through barriers and achieved various forms of success. Next up is a local entrepreneur with a very unique story, Kula Hoty Lynch. Kula is currently the Corporate Counsel for Hoty Enterprises, a real estate company located in Erie County. Her father came to this country with his parents as they searched for greater opportunity. This pursuit taught Kula invaluable lessons that you will see throughout her story.
As most children of immigrants, Kula started working at a very young age. As her father started his real estate business Kula was tasked with cleaning the toilets, trashcans, and ashtrays. She was 8. But from the age of 8 to 18 Kula would continue to do this type of work for the family business. Getting to learn more and more as the business grew, and eventually having the opportunity to do some record keeping on top of her janitorial duties.
Kula knew she wanted to study law from a very young age. She was inspired by some of the influential women in her life to pursue this profession as they stood out in the male dominated field. Her father also knew that for Kula to succeed, a strong education was necessary. He however did not believe it was his responsibility to pay for it. So, Kula chose the logical path, finding a university that could offer a quality education at an affordable price that would allow her to work full time. She attended BGSU Firelands while working full time at Sports City. Living at home during this time, she was able to graduate college in three and half years' debt free. A major goal she had set out to accomplish by attending BGSU Firelands. Planning and executing to perfection are core to Kula’s personality and is evident in the sacrifices she was willing to make to graduate college debt free.
From there she went on to Cleveland State to earn her Juris Doctorate and become a lawyer. As mentioned, she knew from a very young age that this was the profession for her. Some of her fondest memories are sitting around the dinner table and being a part of the fiery political and legal debates around the table.
Once arriving she immediately noticed how young she was compared to other students. Her peers had more experience, having entered into professional careers before attending law school. This was intimidating but she knew she was up for the challenge, remembering the hard work she had put in to get herself here in the first place. This time would be no different, even her father's unwillingness to assist in the costs to attend. While attending she lived with her grandma to save on room and board and worked full time as a clerk at a local law firm. She did this all through law school and after, found a job at an accounting firm doing tax law. At 24, living in Vermilion, Kula had just graduated from Law School, and was on her way to getting married.
Working at the accounting firm taught her a lot but the stresses of the job, and the salary, were not ideal. Reflecting on all that she had learned and the circumstances she was in, having just got married and commuting for over an hour, she decided to quit the accounting firm and work for the family business. She knew from her education and experience she could add value to the business and help move it forward. However, she also knew that she would have to start at an entry level like everyone else, but she did not anticipate what was going to come next. After discussing this move with her family, she learned she would have to have multiple interviews to get a position at Sports City, where she had previously worked before earning her two degrees and working at the accounting firm. As you can imagine this was somewhat of a surprise. But she pressed on, knowing that if she worked hard, she could show her value and climb the ranks.
She began working at Sports City, patiently waiting for her moment to make an impact. Then one day, a representative from Home Depot visited the business looking to discuss the purchase of the property. This was her moment. She had the knowledge and experience to facilitate this type of deal with both parties having a winning outcome. She was able to show the value she could bring to the family business and as a reward she was given an office and the responsibility of managing leases with clients moving forward. She made the most of what was a step back in her professional career and as a result moved forward in a drastic way when the opportunity arose. Kula describes it as “to move forward I had to take a step back.” Often a risk most others would not be willing to take. Knowing that you could make a larger impact once given the opportunity could happen at any time is what gave her the confidence to make this decision.
Kula has since accomplished a great deal both for the family business and the community. She continues to manage various aspects of the family business as Corporate Counsel as well as owning various properties and businesses. One of her favorites is Once Upon a Child where she is able to sell gently used baby supplies to families. She is focused on finding ways to make our community a better place to live specifically around economic growth and entrepreneurship. When I asked her what advice, she’d give young women just beginning their professional journey she said, “be a problem solver.” As you’ve read, the career journey includes both steps forward and steps back but the ability to work with what you have and solve problems allows you to make the most of the situation and accomplish your goals.