It is no accident that so many business, civic, and political leaders are attorneys by trade. In this series, we will highlight dynamic leaders who are using the tools they gained through law school to impact the world and show you the inherent value of learning to think like a lawyer. Today’s feature is on Carminia Muñoz.

WHAT IS YOUR MISSION AND WHAT DO YOU DO?

Teach For America is a diverse network of leaders who confront educational inequity through teaching, and work with unwavering commitment from every sector of society to create a nation free from this injustice. The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation team that I lead specifically connects, supports, inspires, and invests in alumni and corps members who are strengthening the movement for educational equity through innovation. I have the honor of creating the spaces, virtual and in person, for leaders to take their classroom and community experiences, and work on tackling specific challenges they saw first hand.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?

I am inspired by the ability to share resources and connect individuals to the information they need to create change in their communities. I was able to participate in different programs as a kid, like Prep for prep, that helped me get into one of the best college prep schools in the country. Our schools aren’t meeting the needs of all our students and the changes that need to be made aren’t happening fast enough in many communities. I’m inspired to do this work because I know that individuals with first hand knowledge and proximity to the challenge are leading the way in helping to find solutions. I know that there isn’t a single solution that will change it all and I’m honored to help brilliant people tackle educational inequity from so many angles.

HOW DID YOUR LEGAL TRAINING AND/OR LAW SCHOOL EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU TO TACKLE THE SIGNIFICANT ISSUES YOUR ORGANIZATION IS TACKLING?

One of the common threads in my legal work was that there were multiple causes for most problems and multiple ways to help solve the problem. When I worked with the child and youth advocacy group in New Haven, students were tackling language delays, special education needs, on top of their home struggles and poverty. The public defenders office we worked with defendants who didn’t know where to turn in the community for support once they left the foster system. The criminal justice system isn’t independent of the education system. I then found myself in the private sector, working with broker dealers and so many of the lawyers and sales team were immune to the problems happening a few miles north of our midtown offices. I decided that helping to get solutions to the communities before they were in the system was going to go a lot further than helping one off individuals once they were already years into the cycle.

To learn more about Carminia Muñoz, follow her on Twitter!


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