The Returners focuses on queens who spent a significant amount of time in Buffalo, left, and boomeranged back. Are you a returner? Let us know: bee @ qweencity . com.

laurenWhat called you away from the Queen City?

Throughout high school I knew I loved this city but I never wanted to resent it. I saw a lot of people who chose to stay in Buffalo stop appreciating it. I made the decision to leave Buffalo for college and was accepted to Boston College. The day I left I cried for a good hour in the car though.

What lured you back?

Living in Boston was amazing. But it never felt like home and it came down to the people. The easiest way I could describe it was people in Buffalo walk the streets with their heads up, never knowing when you would run into a friend. No one thinks you’re odd if you strike up a conversation with a complete stranger in the check out line. There is a genuine approachable factor that most of the people of Buffalo give off. When they say City of Good Neighbors, it’s the truth.

What are your thoughts about Buffalo’s Renaissance?

I’m thrilled to be living in Buffalo during this period of growth and change. It’s been great to see the investment in the city and public spaces. I worry about the Renaissance benefiting only certain populations and would like to see more attention paid to that issue.

Where in Buffalo brings you the most solace?

The very end of the breakwall overlooking downtown Buffalo and the marina. It’s a hike to get there but it’s a stunning view.

As a girl, what kind of woman did you envision you would become?

My mother raised my sister and I to be independent, strong women. I always wanted to be like her. She was a school teacher at school 53 in the east side for over 20 years. She has an authoritative presence that garners respect.

That said, my first ambition was to drive a garbage truck. Outgrowing that, it was my goal to always be respected for my mind first, whatever field I ended up in.

In your estimation, who is the Queen of the Queens right now? (Or, who is doing a great job of leading by example in Buffalo?)

Maggie Shea. She’s always been a Buffalo booster who started her own recruiting agency and serves as the president of the local chapter of the AFWA (Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance)

Lauren Hill is the Corporate Controller for Caplugs.