March is Women’s History Month. In celebration, we will be sharing interviews from some of our wonderful women of Waller throughout the month.
Today, we will be highlighting our interview with Waller associate Elvira Rodriguez. Elvira is originally from Miami, Florida, where she attended Florida International University before earning her J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School.
She is a part of Waller’s Labor and Employment practice where she focuses on employment-related immigration law and assists employers with a wide range of immigration matters required to build and manage competitive work forces.
Tell us a little about what you do at Waller.
I assist employers across various industries with a wide range of immigration-related needs, allowing them to build and maintain a competitive workforce.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I am service-oriented by nature and draw great satisfaction from making clients feel respected and valued; it is an energy that I feed off of and that drives me to do better each day. Also, as a first-generation immigrant, I find it incredibly rewarding to help foreign nationals gain an opportunity at living the “American Dream” - something I am profoundly grateful for myself.
Do you feel that women in your career are represented accurately and/or often enough in media?
For me, what is important is quality of representation in real life, not just media portrayal. Although media representation is important, I am always looking at what women are doing in terms of earning seats at the table (e.g., on boards, as partners, government and industry leaders, etc.). Women have made great strides to occupy positions of leadership across various sectors and I am hopeful this will only continue as we evolve into a society that not only welcomes diversity of thought and representation, but demands it.
Did anyone inspire your career path? This could be anyone. A family member, teacher, someone you saw on a TV show that made you stop and think “Wow, I could do that.”
I was always deeply inspired by the story of the life of Frederick Douglas. Although he did not inspire me to practice law, specifically, he inspired me to fight for my dreams and instilled in me the idea that there is no obstacle too great for grit.
Do you have any advice for young women at the beginning of their careers?
Someone is always watching. Decide what values are important to you and model those values in every interaction you have – whether you’re at the gym, the dentist, riding in an elevator, or out to dinner. You never know where your next big opportunity will come from, but it will likely be from someone who you didn’t even realize was watching.
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