Always Remember, There Are Many Paths to Success
One of my proudest professional accomplishments was achieved when I was named partner at my firm. For me to be elevated to partner as a first-generation college graduate and woman of color has required a tremendous amount of grit and mentors who are invested in my growth.
I grew up in a large family from humble beginnings in South Jamaica, an underserved neighborhood in Queens, New York. When I was growing up, my family frequently depended on government assistance for food and housing. However, my parents, who believed in the value of education, worked very hard to provide my five siblings and me with a quality education, while protecting us from the gun violence and drugs that plagued the 1980s. Following the advice of my concerned elementary school principal, my mother transferred me to a school in a neighborhood where very few teachers and students looked like me. It was during this time that my mother enrolled me in a dance program that would change the trajectory of my life.
Through dance, I not only had the opportunity to perform throughout New York City and in countries around the world, I learned the importance of mentorship. My first instrumental mentor, my dance director, was one of the people who encouraged and helped me apply to New York University (NYU). At NYU, my sociology professor, another key mentor, encouraged me to apply to Harvard Law School. Throughout my legal career, I’ve had several law-firm mentors and sponsors, including at my present firm, as well as the opportunity to serve as a law clerk for two outstanding jurists, who have all been invaluable to my professional growth.
As an attorney at a big law firm, I tackle the toughest legal problems with creativity and the same level of determination my mother had in securing a quality education for her six children, whom she struggled to feed and clothe. As a result, I’ve achieved impressive court wins, multimillion-dollar settlements and favorable judgments for my clients.
Despite my full workload, mentorship and pro bono work are top priorities. I conduct one-on-one coaching sessions with attorneys and diverse law school students to discuss how they can achieve their goals and flourish in their careers. I also work on various pro bono matters, from representing trafficking survivors to working on mitigation teams involving criminal juvenile matters, and on several police accountability projects.
I hope my journey shows the next generation, especially members of marginalized communities, that there are many pathways to success, their background and upbringing are sources of strength, and they, too, can achieve their goals and flourish. I also hope it encourages people to take on mentees, give back to their communities, and amplify and uplift marginalized groups.