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Sandra Jimenez

New York and New Jersey | Attorney

I am a first-generation Cuban-American, who was born and raised in New Jersey. I received a Bachelors of Arts from Columbia University and a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law. I am a practicing attorney working in the New York City office of a national law firm.

What have been your struggles as a Latina?

Growing up as first-generation American, I had to learn to navigate through school as well as to form the networks I needed to get me to where I am today. Luckily, I had my older sister to rely on for guidance throughout elementary school and high school. College was the first time I had to really figure things out on my own. My freshman year of college was one of the most challenging times of my life. I struggled to find my footing both academically and socially. I was surrounded by people who were culturally different than me and who were academically better prepared to confront the demands of an Ivy League education. To say I felt completely out of my element is an understatement. Fortunately, with time and mentorship, I was able to succeed academically and foster lifetime friendships.

I still face similar challenges today as a professional. I am the first in my family to attend law school and practice law. Throughout my career, I have had to seek out mentors, ask for assistance, and develop professional networks. I strongly believe that my struggles as a young adult prepared me to take on the professional challenges I encounter today.

What does Latina Made mean to you?

To me, Latina Made means a community of strong, empowered, successful Latinas, who are the legacy of the strong Latinas who came before them, united to redefine what it means to be Latina and to serve as a community for the next generation of Latinas.

What made you who you are today?

What made me who I am today would be a combination of my community (i.e., family and friends) and personal adversities. The personal challenges and disappointments I have faced at various points throughout my life have, during those moments, forced me to reevaluate my priorities and redefine my goals. More importantly, they have taught me to be resilient, stay determined, fight feelings of fear and self-doubt, and take risks. That said, I am the person I am today because of the unwavering support of my family and close friends. I grew up in a household that reinforced the values of hard work, dedication, and confidence in oneself.

What advice would you give to young Latinas in our community?

My advice to young Latinas is: take pride in who you are and where you come from, believe in yourself and know that you have something unique to offer the world, never give up in the face of adversity, and make it a priority to surround yourself with uplifting people.

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