Meet Robyn, a mom, grandmother, attorney, business woman, animal lover and candidate for Newport Beach City Council.
Where are you from originally?
My family is originally from New York. My father’s business took us back and forth between New York and Chicago until I was in middle school when we made the permanent move to Southern California.
How long have you lived in Newport Beach? How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have lived in Newport Beach for over 35 years, moving here while attending law school at USC. I married my husband, David Grant, also an attorney, in 1990 and we had our daughter, Madison, in 1993.
Madison, now 28, is also an attorney, living and working in New York. Madison just got married this month in a backyard wedding in Southampton NY, to her law school sweetheart, Jason.
My stepson David is 45 and a composer and college professor. He and his wife Nathalie, an opera singer, live with our 5-year-old grandson, Leo, in Chicago.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?
Since we are spread out over the country, our family really cherishes an opportunity to come together. We tend to spend most of our time at home, cooking large family meals (we compete with new recipes), doting on Leo, and catching up on each other’s lives.
Name 3 things in town you can’t live without.
Local hikes, the Newport Beach Central Library, and picnics on the bluff.
Do you have a favorite destination for family trips? Why?
We all love the ocean and beach and, when the kids were younger, we traveled to Hawaii each July. Now that we all live in different states, we tend to congregate at one of our homes for our family trips. It is fun for the kids to enjoy the beautiful California sunshine and outdoor lifestyle, and my husband and I enjoy the snow and seasons when we head east.
Name a favorite book or podcast? What’s it about/brief description?
I have a favorite author, Ray Bradbury, who for generations chronicled science and technology and its potential to impact society. Most people know Bradbury from his iconic novel, Fahrenheit 451, but he wrote dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories. I admire Bradbury’s dedication to the public library system which he supported by raising money over many years to prevent the closure of libraries facing budgetary cuts.
I saw Bradbury speak once at the Newport Beach Public Library when he was already in his very late 80’s. It was a rare, stormy night, and he arrived from Los Angeles almost an hour late to a packed room of people. In a wheelchair, an aid assisted him to the podium. He immediately won the attention of everyone in the room, weaving together an impromptu and spellbinding account of his life, his works, world events, and more. I will always appreciate that rare opportunity to experience first-hand Bradbury’s great storytelling talent.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?
My one piece of advice was given to me by my mother when my daughter was born. Trust your intuition. No one knows your child better than you. Moms are not perfect, but they are the best advocates, friends, and protectors of their families. Embrace that role.
What do you most value in your friends?
I am constantly amazed by my wonderful group of girlfriends. They came into my life in so many ways. My best friend from childhood, over 40 years ago, is like a sister and still in my life every day. We have a long history of shared life milestones. Recently, her niece married my nephew, so we are now officially family.
I remain close with my college roommates and regularly see law school girlfriends. I don’t have any sisters, but I am close with my 8 sisters-in-law, and they are all unique and lovely. Two of my dearest friends are moms of my daughter’s grade school friends. And my husband and I have a “friend-couple” from our early days of dating who we continue to see several times a week for golf, dinners, and travel.
We understand you are running for a seat on the Newport Beach City Council. Can you tell us a little more about that and your career as an attorney?
I am an attorney with a specialty in real estate and environmental law. I also own an event marketing business and teach college classes in Business Law and Ethics.
All that is on hold for now as I am campaigning full time for a seat on the Newport Beach City Council. I’ve worked behind the scenes for the past 30 years to improve my city, serving 5 City Council Board appointments representing our first responders, local business, and community education.
I am very proud my campaign has been endorsed by the Newport Beach Police, Firefighters, and Lifeguard Associations, the Lincoln Club of OC, and hundreds of former Newport Beach Mayors, Citizens of the Year, and neighborhood leaders.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you.
I am on the Board of Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter (FONBAS). FONBAS was formed in 2017 as a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of animals to restore their well-being, reunite them with their owners, or find them new forever homes.
Our original mission was to raise funds and awareness for our city-run Newport Beach Animal Shelter. More recently, thanks to a robust membership drive and awareness raising campaign, FONBAS’s mission expanded to include establishing a permanent shelter in our community.
Hundreds of committed animal lovers participated in a 4-year campaign resulting in the purchase of a property on Riverside Drive in the Santa Ana Heights region of Newport Beach. We broke ground in the fall of 2021 and, in a few months, we will complete a state-of-the-art 1,500-square-foot shelter, including a 750-square-foot kennel to house displaced dogs, cats and other animals plus parking, a front-yard greeting area and a secure rear-yard exercise area. The entire property, including the land, will be donated to Newport Beach to be operated as a permanent animal shelter in the city.
I hope many of the Newport Mesa Moms will learn more at fonbas.org.
IF and when you get time to yourself, what’s your favorite thing to do?
As you might glean from my work with FONBAS, I am a huge animal lover. My pet, Uma, is 4 and still more of a puppy who craves attention. I like to take her with me whenever I can – she is a seasoned airline traveler having made dozens of trips to Chicago and New York. When we have time, we take long walks around Newport Beach. Uma can go for miles and miles which helps keep us both in shape.
Thank you Robyn. We look forward to seeing you around Newport!