I am the youngest of three children raised by a single mom. Although technically accurate, I prefer the term “extraordinary mom.” My mother has always exhibited extraordinary strength and resourcefulness—two characteristics I was bound from birth to inherit. As the youngest, my mother and I did everything together, went everywhere together, and even shared the same room until my older siblings went off to college. I model today what I witnessed as a child: her attention to detail, persistent search for the best, and hard work and perseverance. She once operated fork lifts for the railroad to provide for her family.

As a result, my mother sought out the best public schools in the school system. I was born in New York and the elementary school I attended, Public School No. 2, provided me a strong foundation on which to build once we moved to Texas in 1979. Apparently, Texas had never seen an African American, third-grade girl who already knew multiplication. My mathematical skills impressed them and I was labeled one of the smart kids—a catalyst that has made a difference in my life. The power of perception is amazing. You are (or can become) whatever you see in yourself—good or bad.

Someone once told me that I was very goal oriented. He said it, however, with contempt, as if being goal oriented was my curse. Thankfully, I had enough self-confidence to believe it was a blessing. It has been the roadmap in my journey for success.

I believe I continue to strive for excellence because my clients and I share a common interest—their success is my success. Every case I defend is with my family in mind, and being a mother has helped me to better understand my role as outside counsel. I am in the business of serving my clients. I can not force my will (or the law) on them. Therefore, as an employment trial lawyer, I must strive to understand their industry and operational needs to drive a favored result.

A significant factor in all that I have managed to accomplish is due to the love and support of my family. They remind me to keep working for the sake of the next generation.

How has education affected your career?

Education has made a difference in my career choices and opportunities. In my opinion, it is the great equalizer. Regardless of your ethnicity, gender, or economic circumstances, a good, solid education affords you the chance to change the trajectory of your life and the lives of future generations.

What does it take to succeed and stay competitive in your position/field?

The passion and dedication to succeed. It sounds simple, but you will not be motivated enough to do what needs to be done to succeed if you don’t possess these two essential characteristics. It makes the difference between being involved versus being committed. When you’re committed, it shows and you become the trusted go-to person.