Maria E. Fernandez

Cues and Views

Legal and compliance leader Maria E. Fernandez, in brief.

June 22, 2022
2 Minutes
Maria E. Fernandez

Home: Houston, TX.  Birthplace: New York, NY.  Profession: Law and compliance.  Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Alma mater: CUNY- Lehman College (B.A., Psychology); Cornell Law School (J.D.).  Languages spoken: English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Current projects: Adjunct Professor, Fordham Law School (LLM, Compliance) and working with an employment legal firm on employment law and its intersection with ESG; and expanding existing DEI programs.  Latest accomplishment: Becoming a CHIEF member.  Latest contribution to others: Working on issues associated with public education (K-12).  Hobbies: Cooking, reading and beaches.  Recently viewed and recommended: Sonic 2 (lol).

Personality profile: Outgoing, adventurous, driven.  What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Fearless.  Moral compass: What you release into the universe is what you get back.  What is your greatest joy? My children and my grandbabies.  What is your guilty pleasure? Romance novels.  What word or phrase do you use far too often? Really??? (and one I won’t repeat here).    What natural talent have you neglected? Cooking for get-togethers and parties.  What is at the top of your bucket list? A cruise through the Panama canal.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Some form of water, as I find it so calming.

What was your first paying job? Cashier at a supermarket at age 13.  What was your favorite college course? Medieval History.  Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Nelson Mandela.  And, Justice Sonya Sotomayor, with whom I share a similar background (same housing projects, grammar school, high school, Latino civil rights organizations board, and both lawyers).  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Alexa! We have an Alexa-connected device in almost every room. What is your favorite app? Calendly. What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Music and dancing.  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Becoming a mom in college.  While unexpected, it balanced me in law school and in life.  With my last one in high school, it will 39 years before I am a true empty nester.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?

True diversity disruption, as the current programs are not creating equity fast enough for lawyers of color.

What change would you like to see in the world? Aligning education to how a student learns and appropriate (increased) funding for both teachers and students.  What mega-trend most excites you? The increasing intersection of technologies - making things easier in your life.  Can we say, Jetsons?  If only Alexa did the dishes.   What mega-trend most concerns you? The reliance on Twitter-like statements as fact.  

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? She Persisted.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Justina Machado.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My dad, a man who had a third-grade education but was wiser than most people I know.  He loved us and loved life greatly.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a lawyer.  What advice would you give your younger self? Slow down, enjoy life and take more calculated risks.

Personal motto: This too shall pass!  Favorite quote: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” (Nelson Mandela).

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