Raising the Bar
Zionsville’s Jayna Cacioppo Is a Mom, Lawyer, PTO President & Co-Chair for Komen’s Pink Tie Ball
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Amy Payne
Sometimes a dream gets diverted, but for Jayna Cacioppo, life found a way to get her back on track.
“I always knew I wanted to be an attorney, but I also had a passion to do something internationally, so, right out of college, I took a job with corporate GAP,” Cacioppo says.
For a while, she traveled around the world, enjoying the international flavor of her career, but she still felt a pull to attend law school, so she pursued that passion and, in 2005, began working at Taft Law in Indianapolis.
“I took a lot of environmental cases and loved it,” she says. She’s now a partner at the firm, as well as chair of the firm’s Indianapolis litigation practice group. Cacioppo, an experienced commercial litigator, represents clients around the country in complicated commercial disputes spanning various industries.
In addition to her impressive career, Cacioppo also carves out time to volunteer in the Zionsville schools, where she acts as a guest speaker for career days and serves on the PTO.
“As a working mom, I didn’t know what was going on at school,” says Cacioppo, whose son, Cooper (10) and daughter Caroline (6) attend Union Elementary. “I figured if I joined the PTO I could meet other parents and be more tuned in. My personality, however, is such that I tend to take on more and more.”
Next thing she knew, she was PTO president. Though her hours are flexible, she schedules half of the meetings in the evenings, so that working parents can be involved. Cacioppo and her PTO team have a great time planning fundraising events like the annual Spring Soiree.
Cacioppo’s boundless energy enabled her to join the grant review committee of the Central Indiana Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 2010, partly because her mother-in-law was a breast cancer survivor and partly because her aunt was battling breast cancer at the time. In addition, her husband, Jason, is a plastic surgeon who does breast reconstruction for mastectomy patients. For the past three years, Cacioppo has chaired the committee of Komen’s Pink Tie Ball — the foundation’s second largest fundraiser.
It’s become a family affair as her son ran a lemonade stand and coordinated a Pink Out day through his school’s student council that raised $9,000.
“He was a Pink Tie Guy, so since he plays hockey, he was honored at one of the Indy Fuel games for his fundraising efforts,” says the proud mom. The September event was the most successful one to date, having raised more than $250,000.
Cacioppo, now VP of the board, is also on the Executive Committee for Women and The Law Division as part of the Indy Bar Association as well as the steering committee for the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Inc.
“I have a lot going on, but these are all things I really enjoy,” Cacioppo says.
The biggest thing is that she doesn’t dawdle.
“If I procrastinated, I’d never catch up,” she says, noting that she always has her computer with her at the ice rink, working during Cooper’s practices. She also relies on her phenomenal team of colleagues, as well as her dedicated group of mom friends.
“Behind every successful woman is a list of even more successful women,” Cacioppo says. “I wouldn’t be able to survive without my Zionsville moms.”
Cacioppo admits that the most challenging part of her life is making everybody a priority.
“Dividing attention between your job, your kids, your husband — that’s hard,” she says. “Time is hard, but I’m a mom with a career that she loves, so if I can convey those values to my kids, I feel like I’m doing something right.”