Today we are featuring Kandace Rudd:
Kandace Rudd is patient, compassionate, and earnest partner at Kandace Rudd Waldoch & McConnaughhay, P.A. and we are excited to share her story, background and words of encouragement to other women! She specializes in elder law specifically guardianship, public benefits, planning for and responding to issues arising from aging and capacity, probate, and trust administration.
Kandace received Bachelor of Social Work from Baylor University, Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, a Master of Social Work, clinical concentration, from Florida State University College of Social Work, and her Juris Doctorate, with honors, from the Florida State University College of Law. She says: “During my education I worked, interned, and volunteered with both state and private agencies focused on older adults, persons with disabilities, mental health, and advocacy. I always knew I wanted to work with older adults because I grew up in a multi-generational home. My great-grandmother lived on the same property as my grandmother and we lived in the small town as my entire family.
During my undergraduate education I was taught that a social worker promotes social justice and change not only on behalf of client but with clients. This emphasis on justice and change in collaboration with a client sparked my interest in the law. Throughout my education journey I knew I wanted to pursue a legal career that combined my social worker background and allowed me to advocate with and on behalf of clients for the change and justice each needed.
After receiving my MSW I decided to work before applying to law school. During my time at the Area Agency on Aging for North Florida as the OAA Program Specialist I was able to interact and work with the local communities in our 14 county service area. I fell in love with North Florida and decided to stay in Tallahassee for law school instead of returning home to Texas. During the summer after my 1L year I worked as a law clerk for Waldoch & McConngauhhay, I returned the following summer as a law clerk and I have been with the firm ever since. I become partner in January of 2022.”
Being a young lawyer, Kandace achieved a lot in the recent decade. She is active in the following organizations:
Elder Law Section, Medicaid Committee Chair and Vice Chair (2 years);
United Way of the Big Bend Emerging Leaders Chair and Chair Elect;
Tallahassee Women Lawyers Board Member (Meeting Coordinator Chair, Awards Co-Chair);
North Florida Office of Public Guardian Board Member;
Parkinson’s Outreach Association Board Member (2 years);
Junior League of Tallahassee (active member/HOPE Committee).
Mrs. Rudd also is a recipient of North Florida Legal Services Challenge Coin.
Her most important personal life achievements are her husband Matt and a little son Henry. “I never thought of myself as mother and was so nervous to become one. However, Henry is an incredible blessing. Playing and engaging with him everyday is such an indescribable joy.”
Kandace has a very unique perspective on law because of her social work background. She told us that as a social worker you are taught the six core values of social worker. These have remained with her during the professional transition and still hold and value as an attorney.
NASW (National Association of Social Workers) Code of Ethic 6 Core Values:
2. Social justice
3. Dignity and worth of the person
4. Importance of human relationships
Next, Kandace shared her thoughts on the start of her career:
“What I would tell my younger self is to slow down and take time to make friends with my peers. I was in such a rush to meet my goal of becoming an attorney and starting my professional life that I didn’t devote enough attention to my personal life. The pandemic allowed me to slow down and focus on developing true friendships with old and new friends. I joined Junior League of Tallahassee in 2020 to become more engaged with women my age that also loved community service and being involved locally.”
What Message can you share with other women to empower them, based on your professional experiences in your career and personal life?
As women we are individually strong, powerful, and can accomplish so many things. However, when we rely on each other we are unstoppable. Even though we can achieve so much on our own, we need to learn to rely on other and build each other up along the way. Your support network is so vital to your well-being and over all health and success. Your support network can be your family, your curated family, friends, mentors, classmates, or peers. It doesn’t matter who forms your support system, only that those within in are caring, reliable, and honest with you.