In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, WMU-Cooley Law School’s Florida Association for Women Lawyers Chapter hosted a presentation, “Finding your Voice as a Woman in the Legal Profession” at its Tampa Bay campus.
The WMU-Cooley event, co-sponsored by the Hispanic Organization of Legal Advocates and Help Save the Next Girl, featured WMU-Cooley professors Stevie Swanson and Victoria Cruz-Garcia, The Hon. Miriam Valkenburg and attorney Ananis Makar.
Pictured from left to right: Stephanie Bell, President of Help Save the Next Girl; Elizabeth Olson, Vice-President of Florida Association for Women Lawyers; Jalitza Serrano, Community Service chair of Florida Association for Women Lawyers; WMU-Cooley Professor Victoria Cruz-Garcia; Judge Miriam Valkenburg; Leslie Cabrera, secretary of Florida Association for Women Lawyers; Thamara Diogo, president of Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Attorney Ananis Makar, Melanie Macias, public relations chair of Florida Association for Women Lawyers and Kirsten Buell, president of Hispanic Organization of Legal Advocates.
Swanson, who teaches Property I, Property II, Secured Transactions, and Slavery and Human Trafficking at WMU-Cooley, inspired the student group to not give up on what you truly want to accomplish. Cruz-Garcia, who teaches Florida Juvenile Dependency & Delinquency, Torts, and Florida Family Violence and is a trial attorney at Givens Givens Sparks, a family law practice, explained how her life in Puerto Rico ultimately led to her determination in becoming an attorney.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Valkenburg, who also serves as a judicial director on the board of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, focused the discussion on how she still deals with many issues as a woman and never takes no for an answer.
Makar, who founded her own firm dedicated exclusively to the practice of U.S. immigration law, spoke about her never-ending perseverance and how it helped her get what she wanted as a woman.