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Photo Courtesy of Miriam Enriquez.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Enriquez.

AL DÍA Women of Merit Honoree: Miriam Enriquez

Miriam Enriquez is one of the AL DÍA Women of Merit honorees, in the corporate field. 

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The AL DÍA Women of Merit event is a celebration of women who are breaking barriers and emerging in leadership positions across the nation.

Miriam Enriquez, Assistant Deputy General Counsel in the compliance and ethics function at Comcast Cable, is one of the honorees at the event, in the corporate field.

In the lead-up to the event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees about their biggest career challenges and accomplishments, gender equality in their industries and their of advice for other women looking to make their way into their particular field of work. 

Here are Miriam Enriquez's responses:

What has been the most important challenge and achievement in your career?

A defining element of my professional career has been the use of my legal training to serve the residents of Philadelphia - particularly immigrant communities and those impacted by the criminal justice system. Across my various professional experiences, I have always asked how can -- and how should -- we make decisions that advance underrepresented communities and serve all members of our communities. Throughout this time, one of my most important achievements has been to lead Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs where I advocated for immigrants’ rights and guided the city through uncharted waters, leading it to become a national leader in immigration policy and model welcoming city. Along with developing policies, processes and frameworks that would exist beyond my individual contributions to the office, I spearheaded the legislative effort to make the Office of Immigrant Affairs a permanent part of Philadelphia's municipal government. While making the move to the private sector after years of public service can be challenging, my experience at Comcast has broadened both my legal skills and my perspective on how to affect change in the community. I have identified ways to contribute to the company’s role as a responsible corporate citizen and promote civic participation by our customers. Last year, I was part of a team that conceived of and helped implement an initiative to deliver 2020 voter education information to viewers using the voice feature on the company’s remote control. By saying “how to vote” or “cómo votar” into the remote, viewers were able to access general information on how to register and vote in the 2020 General Election.

How has your industry changed in recent years in terms of gender equality?

Representation of women in corporate America continues to shift in the right direction as more women are reaching senior management positions. For instance, this is evident at a company like Comcast where my immediate organizational leadership line consists entirely of women. However, there is still work to be done in all sectors to gain full gender equality. This is especially true in the legal industry.

As a Latina lawyer, the story looks very different. Despite being the largest minority group in the US, making up 18 percent of the overall population, according to the Hispanic National Bar Association, Latinos comprise about four percent of U.S. lawyers. According to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, in 2020, Latinos held 2.2%, or 22, of all general counsel jobs in the Fortune 1000, up by just one from the previous year. For Latinas, these numbers are even smaller. Latinas account for less than two percent of all American lawyers.

What do you think is the work that still needs to be done?

Representation matters. Many companies, organizations and law firms are realizing the value and necessity of diversity. Employers who have a workforce as diverse as the people they serve find themselves equipped with various views, perspectives and ideas. All of this adds strength to communicating and delivering results. But it’s not enough to come to this realization, employers must work to increase representation through focused and intentional efforts. For instance, in the case of Latina lawyers, targeted outreach programs should be in place that engage already existing networks like the Hispanic Bar Association or the Latinx Law Students Associations. However, increasing the number of Latina lawyers within an organization is just part of the equation. Once these women are part of your organization, how do you make them feel included? Is your organization offering mentoring, educational, and career development opportunities? These opportunities should allow for a leadership pipeline because representation at leadership levels also matters. If there is no one that looks like you in senior management or the C-suite, it’s very hard for you to retain motivation to rise within such an organization, company or law firm.

What is your message to other women trying to make their way in the industry?

I would tell other Latina lawyers that while there may only be a few of us at the moment, and at times and in certain spaces, you may be the only one, this is more reason to go for it. Don’t let that scare you. Be a trailblazer. Apply for the job, advocate for the promotion.

When you have a seat at the table, don’t be afraid to challenge the norms and make room for other women. There is enough room at the table for all of us to be successful and when you help other women rise, we all shine! I have had the honor of mentorship. I have had women forge a path for me, and I work to forge a path for others. When I meet with young women, especially young Latina lawyers, I tell them-you can do anything, don’t let fear hold you back. As women, we need to celebrate each other and we need to celebrate ourselves. Talk about your accomplishments, talk about your successes, because if it was a man, he would be doing it, he would be going for it- so why not you?

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