Spring 2016 Dallas College alum
School of Law and Public Service
What did your journey to Dallas College look like?
I’m originally from San Angelo, which is a small town known for its oil field. When I talked with my husband about what I wanted to do, I told him my opportunities would be capped at a certain level. There’s a ceiling, and I didn’t need a ceiling. So, we moved to the Dallas area, and I was searching for a college program that I could get into.
I knew I wanted to go to law school, but I didn’t have a degree to begin with. So, I looked and found the paralegal program at the El Centro Campus. I was so excited and called everybody to let them know. My first-born son was two years old at the time, so when I went to school, I had to adjust by sending him to daycare. And not only adjusting to him going to daycare but adjusting to being in a new and bigger city. There were a lot of things I wasn’t used to.
I actually used the DART train because the college provides students the opportunity to ride for free. So, I definitely took big advantage of that. It was awesome. There were some hard times and riding the DART was the only way I could get to school.
Since the classes are much smaller at the college, I made a lot of friends and very close to the attorneys in all of my courses. There were a lot of times where I had to take evening classes, and I didn’t have anyone to watch my son, so I had to take him with me to class. And they loved him!
So that’s something that I loved and was really important to me because I didn’t just seem like a student ID number at the college. Close relationships were formed, and to this day, I’m still in touch with those people in my classes. When my husband and I were getting married, I even had a professor who was going to marry us. We ended up getting married sooner, so he wasn’t available, but that just shows how close we all were.
Where does the feeling of empowerment and drive come from for you?
I’m fueled by doing things that I actually love doing. I’ve worked in several law firms that never seemed much like work to me. Right now, I’m a realtor and my husband and I own a construction company. So, all the things I’ve come upon on an entrepreneurial level, I do because it makes me happy. I’m empowered by the confidence that comes with loving something that I’m doing every single day.
When you look at the future for you and your family, what legacy do you want to leave?
I do everything for my kids. They’re my everyday driving force. Even before my youngest came along. I recall staying up late so many nights writing papers, case reports and all these things I needed to get done. Although I was tired, looking at my son made the tiredness go away. I reminded myself that I wasn’t going to feel tired all the time. And even if I was tired, it was something I was learning to adapt to as I’ve grown in my college journey and career. With me aiming to go to law school in Fall 2023, I now understand what it’s going to take. I’ve been well prepared by getting my associate degree and talking with attorneys.
It’s a mindset in which you have to adapt to make your goals happen. In my own journey, I’ve had to grow in a lot of ways. It was a lot of mental strength I had to acquire throughout the entire process because I had to sacrifice a lot. There were many times I had to miss out on some things, but I know I’m paving the way for even better opportunities for my kids. I take great pride and joy in knowing that I’m the first one in my family leaving legacies filled with education and job opportunities.
What advice would you give to women to empower them to achieve the best version of themselves?
I just took a call from a new real estate client yesterday. She scheduled a call with me, but when she got my call, she assumed I was a bill collector and started crying after she found out it was me. She expressed to me how stressed out she was being a single mom of three kids and having a sick mother. She felt that she wasn’t meeting their needs.
I calmed her down and let her know that I understood because I had gone through similar things. I come from a single mom of six, and I’m the oldest. So, I’ve taken on a lot of responsibility to help my family and paving the future for us. So, my advice for all women is to break any curses or barriers in your family as much as possible. Even if you’re struggling, just know it’s going to get better. It may seem impossible when you’re going through it. Trust me, I’ve been there on the floor thinking, “This can’t be it.” And it hasn’t been. Even when I feel like I haven’t done enough, I look at all the things I have accomplished and how my kids are loved, healthy and cared for.
We have to support and remind each other as women because we get in a habit to be competitive against each other, and that shouldn’t happen. We should always want to help and uplift each other because we ultimately understand and have the natural instinct of doing what we have to do for our kids. That woman on the phone felt so much better as we talked and was thankful because of our conversation.
When you were studying at El Centro, how did the things you learned help you get to where you are now? What lessons in the classroom did you learn that helped get you to where you are today?
We had a lot of guest speakers in our classes. Past students who went out to law school and became attorneys. I met a lot of female attorneys who explained their law school journey and how they opened up their own law firms. So, that’s where the idea of doing that for myself came to mind. There was a speaker who talked about how she went through it with her husband, and they ended up having two more kids, I believe. And this was throughout her law career!
So, after hearing her story, I talked with my husband about what we could do to make more money and grow our finances in the long run. And that’s how we started our construction company. It started off with hauling off trash with a flatbed trailer, and we got asked to do miscellaneous tasks, as far as demolition, in particular. I didn’t think I would ever be interested in construction. So, things ended up working out really well. It was a surprise, but once we found out we could do it and become successful, we put our everything into it. So, then that’s when real estate came upon me. I initially thought I would thrive in it.
When that opportunity came, I knew my degree could help me in starting my own law firm. Because at the time, all I thought about was graduating law school and going to work for somebody. And don’t get me wrong, I will still do that and I will be thrilled to do so. But if I don’t, I’ll start my own practice. I’ve made a lot of connections and done a lot of networking with so many people.
So the areas that I want to practice in, for what I do right now, are going to mesh together and blend really well to provide those services with people I’m currently working with. So, I’m really thankful I got my associate (degree) through Dallas College at the El Centro Campus.