Meet Your Neighbor: Kathy Baffer

7960588099?profile=originalKathy and Ben Baffer with their children, Ava, 9,

and Grace, 12, and their 15-week-old Goldendoodle, Lucky.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

    Kathy Baffer has fond memories of growing up in east Boca Raton.
    “In 1963, when my father built our home in Royal Palm, Boca was a small town with a small-town feel,” she said. “Back then, growing up in Royal Palm was really a true neighborhood with many children playing outdoors and in the streets.”
    In 1998, when she moved to the Seagate neighborhood in Delray Beach as a single woman, she found the same “true neighborhood” feeling.
    “I am so fortunate to live in this beautiful neighborhood, with my husband and where we can raise our two daughters (Grace, 12, and Ava, 9) and new Goldendoodle puppy (Lucky),” Baffer said.
    Baffer, 50, was president of the Seagate Homeowners Association for 14 years and recently stepped down to devote more time to her work (including volunteer work) and to study for her real estate license. Her husband, Ben, a general contractor and an expert in historic building restoration, is vice president of Kaufman Lynn Construction in Boca Raton.
    “My husband and I started a property management company, Baffer Properties, two years ago,” she said. “We take care of our clients’ homes when they are away for the summer.”
    After she met her husband (who lived in Virginia) on a blind date, the big question was “who is gonna move?” she said. “Well, I live across the street from the beach,” she remembers telling him then. Not surprisingly, he was the one to make the move after they married in 2002.
    The Seagate Homeowners Association has grown since she assumed leadership. “We have 96 families, the largest number in our history,” she said.
    “We have several events throughout our season, which basically starts with our Halloween party in October (for kids and adults) to the end of April (spring dinner),” she said. “All the Seagate members are on a master email list, so it’s very easy and fast to correspond with everyone, especially when I wanted to alert the members about any crimes. We also created a Seagate Facebook page this year, which has been another great way to communicate with all our members.”
    Baffer is a Sunday school teacher at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church. At Gulf Stream School, where her daughters attend and of which she is an alumna, she is a room mom and holds other volunteer positions.   
— Mary Thurwachter

Q. Where did you grow up and go to school? How do you think that has influenced you?
A. I am a true Florida native — born in Miami Beach and raised in Boca Raton. I attended Gulf Stream School, graduated from Saint Andrew’s School, and then I graduated from Southern Methodist University. After I lived in Dallas for 10 years, I knew I always wanted to return to South Florida, because of my love for this area. The quote my mom always said, “If you have sand in your shoes, you will return” is so true for me and many Floridians.

Q. What professions have you worked in? What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A. I graduated with a BBA, with an emphasis in marketing. I worked for several medical companies in marketing positions. No matter how successful I was in my career and school, I still feel the greatest accomplishment is being the best wife, and mother to my two daughters and being active in the Delray community.

 Q. How did you get started working with the Seagate Homeowners Association?
A. When I moved to the Seagate neighborhood in 1998, I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood and wanted to develop friendships with my neighbors, and get involved with the organization. I immediately got involved and in 2001 was nominated to become president.

Q. What advice do you have for a young person selecting a career today?  
A. Choose a career that you are extremely passionate about. Once you choose, the drive and motivation will fall into place. Also, it is so important to get involved in your community.

Q. What is your favorite part about living in Delray Beach?  
A. I love living in my beautiful Seagate neighborhood! Living within walking distance to Atlantic Avenue, plus across the street from the beach. It can’t get any better than this!

Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?  
A. My mother was a professional ballroom dancer, so growing up, we always had music playing in our home. These days, I truly enjoy listening to my daughter Grace play classical piano on her great-grandmother’s 1908 Steinway.

Q. Do you have a favorite quote that inspires your decisions?  
A. “Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret to success.” I have always loved this quote and I try to follow it every day.

Q. Have you had mentors in your life? Individuals who have inspired your life decisions?
A. My husband, Ben, is my mentor. He always gives me great advice and guidance and encourages me with my new endeavors. I’ve seen how hard he works and how successful he has become, and he motivates me to excel and grow. Not only is he my mentor, but also my best friend.

Q. If your life story were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
A. Jennifer Garner is such a strong actress. Her acting is diversified, going from comedy to drama. She seems extremely grounded, not the typical Hollywood type.

Q. Who/what makes you laugh?
A. I have a very close friend who makes me laugh every time I talk with her. She is just naturally funny! I can always count on her to put a smile on my face. I would recommend everyone having at least one of these friends.

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