40 Under 40 The Class of 2015

Amelia Holstrom

Associate Attorney, Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.; Age 29

Amelia Holstrom

Amelia Holstrom

When Amelia Holstrom was growing up, her parents held jobs in management and spoke about their work at home. As a result, she witnessed their struggles when they had to terminate an employee and saw how others reacted in the small community where they lived.

“I’ve always wanted to be an attorney, and my parents helped to shape my worldview about how difficult it is for business owners and managers to do the right thing,” Holstrom said. “When people think about businesses, they tend to forget they are run by ordinary individuals who have to make difficult decisions.”

Today, she takes pride in helping clients with a wide array of employment and labor-related issues.

“An employer never wants to terminate an employee. They understand the person may have a spouse or a family and needs the paycheck,” she told BusinessWest. “People are deeply affected by it, and it’s never a decision that is taken lightly. So I help my clients make decisions about employees, so they can do the right thing and operate within the law. It’s always a real challenge to follow complicated and seemingly ever-changing employment laws.”

Meanwhile, her compassion for others is also reflected in service to the community. She is on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, which she joined after her niece became a scout, and believes in the organization’s mission of helping girls “develop courage, confidence and character.”

Holstrom is also an ad hoc member of the personnel committee for the Food Bank of Western Mass. and organizes her firm’s participation in the annual Legal Food Frenzy conducted by the Mass. Attorney General’s Office to help local food banks solicit donations. The cause has always been important to her, and Holstrom coordinated a program that served the hungry and the homeless in Burlington, Vt. when she was a college student. “These people are often overlooked. There is a stigma associated with being homeless, but assistance, food, and programs are needed to help them,” she said.

Holstrom is also a speaker on employment-related issues for a wide variety of organizations, contributes regularly to the Massachusetts Employment Law Letter as well as her firm’s blog, and writes for local publications, including BusinessWest. “It’s important to me to support people at all levels,” she said. “My work is meaningful because I have always wanted to help people and build lasting relationships.”

Last month, Holstrom and her husband Stephen began another relationship — with their new baby boy, Carter.

— Kathleen Mitchell

Photo by Denise Smith Photography