CHARLESTON - For Jackson Kelly attorney Ellen Cappellanti, there's more to life than practicing law.
Cappellanti, a West Virginia native, was recently appointed as a member of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, is the president and member of the Board of Directors of the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, and is a mother of three, along with many other activities.
As the president of Discover the Real West Virginia, Cappellanti has been active in several trade missions, which take her to the Far East with Senator John D. Rockefeller. Two large names in West Virginia, Toyota and Hino, are products of those trips.
For Cappellanti, being part of a team that is bringing those companies, and the subsequent jobs, to West Virginia lets her know she made the right decision by staying in her native state.
"I was born in West Virginia, and I stayed because I really thought I could make a difference," Cappellanti said. "It validates decisions in life."
Cappellanti has made an impression on several state officials, including Gov. Joe Manchin, who appointed her to the WVU Board of Governors two weeks ago. Cappellanti graduated from WVU in 1977. She was the student body vice president during her time in Morgantown.
"Ellen has been a tremendous asset to the state of West Virginia and has been involved in numerous projects," Manchin spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg said. "We value her contribution on a variety of levels."
As part of DRWV, Cappellanti and other board members go to Japan, China, Taiwan and other countries, to research businesses, and their interest in coming to West Virginia. These trips often involve seeing the companies' facilities and educating about West Virginia, while competing with other states whom also want those companies to locate in their state.
"It's kind of a courtship," Cappellanti said. "They need to get familiar with you, the state and its benefits."
Cappellanti calls on her skills as an attorney to help with her busy schedule. She is a full-time lawyer, and works in the Morgantown office one day a week. She is also a member of the Judicial Conference of the United State Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
She is also involved in the community as a co-chair of Advantage Valley, Inc., as the president of the Board of Directors of the West Virginia State Museum and the Contemporary American Theater Festival, Inc. Cappellanti is also the secretary and member of the Board of Directors of the Clay Center of the Arts and Sciences.
"The more you see the better you are," Cappellanti said of her busy schedule. "I've been very lucky and have had wonderful, wonderful opportunities."
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