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Beyond the 9-5: Celebrating Passions Outside of the Workplace

August 16th, 2023

As a society, we often focus on our accomplishments and successes at work, development in our careers, and even our workplace relationships. Our conversations are frequently filled with variations of questions like, “what do you do for a living?” or “how is work going?”

At The Bonadio Group (TBG), we realize that our People have interests and passions outside of work and we are committed to highlighting them as well as ensuring they have the time to pursue them.

Policies such as our Unlimited PTO Policy and Flexible Work Model were designed to encourage and support work-life balance because we know how important it is to be able to spend time focusing on the things you love.

“Our Unlimited PTO Policy reinforces the firm’s commitment to work-life balance. By removing the barriers and stress around tracking time off, our People have more time to pursue their passions and enjoy life outside of work,” shared Heather Rudes, Chief Human Resource Officer at TBG.

We spoke with some of our summer 2023 interns to learn about their passions and hobbies outside of the office. Check it out!

Ben Ludlow—Intern, Assurance

Rochester, NY

Over the past few years, Ben Ludlow has turned his passion for gardening into a small business.

Ben grew up helping with his family’s vegetable garden, but when he was 15 years old, he took full responsibility of maintaining it. “I prepped the garden, planted the vegetables and even tested a variety of crops to figure out which plants grew best in out soil,” shared Ben.

After maintaining his garden for a few years, Ben noticed that they were growing way more than they could handle and vegetables were going to waste. This led him to the idea of selling produce to local restaurants. “I called a local pizza shop in 2020 that decided to purchase about 5 bushels of tomatoes and peppers from me that summer!”

From there, Ben decided to build a farmstand while simultaneously selling to local restaurants. And in 2022, he made farm stands to drive traffic to his stand. This proved to be a success and even allowed him to even pay a good amount of his fall tuition bill.

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Since then, Ben has registered his farmstand as a DBA under the name, Ludlow Farms WNY, started a website, social media, and created a fillable form so people can order produce online.

“A typical weekday includes waking up about at around 6AM to get an hour of picking and fixing my farmstand up for the day. After I get out of work and go home, I spend another 20-30 minutes fixing my stand again before I go to swim practice. I usually end my days managing my online form and website for future orders!”

Todd Witt—Intern, Assurance

Western, NY

Todd Witt started interning in our Buffalo, NY office back in summer 2022. Todd has had an interest in drawing since his undergraduate years of college. “I think it really stemmed from doing simple doodles in class and while sitting in the library,” he shared.

However, this interest grew into more of a passion as he shared it with his late friend, Damita. “I remember one day we were showing each other our drawings and she told me that I should keep expanding my skills and continuing my drawing journey,” he shared. “One of the last memories I had with her was sitting and talking about our drawings, and since that day I have been committed to drawing and expanding my skills as she once said to do.”

“Drawing has given me some interesting perspectives on life. I found that after starting my drawing journey. I have “stopped and smelled the roses” more often than I did before,” he added.

Last summer, Todd even decided to bring this passion into the workplace! “Whenever I had a break at the office, I found myself doodling. So, one day I decided to walk around the office and ask everyone what kind of animals they like. I ended up drawing animals for most of my team that summer,” shared Todd. “When I came back to my next internship in the spring, one of the first questions I was asked was a request for one of my drawings.”

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To this day, Todd continues to draw for his colleagues at the firm. “What better way to use my breaks in the office than making people happy with my drawings?” he added.

Cassidy Wall—Intern, Assurance

Rochester, NY

Cassidy Wall started playing guitar in the summer of 2020. She initially started this hobby because of her love for music and the sound of the instrument. “I wanted to play guitar because it’s a beautiful instrument that almost always sounds good no matter what your skill level is. I love learning new things and music, so I very quickly fell in love with the guitar,” shared Cassidy. Although she admits she has a lot to learn still, Cassidy is completely self-taught!

Over the past few years, Cassidy has found that playing the guitar is more than hobby—it is a calming activity as well as an outlet for creativity. “After a long day of using my brain at work or school, it’s so nice to do something with my hands. As an artsy person, sometimes I feel like I have a lot of creative energy left after a long day and playing the guitar helps to get that creative energy out.”

Cassidy enjoys playing rock on her classical and electric guitars for her friends and family. “They always want me to play their favorite songs!” said Cassidy. “The most special person I loved playing for was my grandfather. When he was sick, I used to play to him to help him sleep.”

If you’re interested in working at a company where your passions outside of work are not only appreciated, but encouraged, then an internship at TBG may be for you! Check out our current internship positions here or feel free to reach out to our Recruiting Specialist, Rachel Pasternak, at for more information!


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