NAME: Jhiela “Gigi” Mirdamadi Poynter
EDUCATION: Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law (2012); Master of Laws in Wealth Management (in progress/expected 2022)
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Refugio
OCCUPATION/TITLE: Managing attorney
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN THIS INDUSTRY?
From job shadowing lawyers in middle school, to clerking for firms in high school and college, I have been fascinated by and involved in the legal field for most of my life. The allure of problem-solving for a living was the biggest draw, and my career just grew from there.
WHAT DRIVES YOU TO SUCCEED?
In my opinion, success is a byproduct of enjoying your work and getting really, really, good at it; the “drive” is essentially just a push for self-improvement.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED DURING YOUR CAREER? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?
It may be cliché but finding work-life balance has been my biggest challenge. I am absolutely committed to my clients and business, so work has never been bound by 9 to 5 constraints. I have always been proud of that full-time dedication, but I am also certain my son’s first steps were at daycare (though they kindly never said anything), and that creates all kinds of guilt and regret. It is a work in progress, and probably always will be, but setting boundaries for myself and communicating with my equally dedicated spouse have helped me manage some semblance of harmony.
WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT THE CURRENT AND FUTURE STATE OF YOUR PROFESSION?
As an industry, legal services have historically been pretty slow to adopt change, but little by little, the incorporation of technological advancements has been shaping the profession in new and exciting ways. Things like virtual hearings and automated drafting tools have made the practice of law more manageable, and therefore more accessible, and that is honestly long overdue.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO UP-AND-COMING YOUNG WOMEN IN YOUR PROFESSION?
When I was younger, I was under the mistaken impression that experience breeds confidence. In reality, I have found that it is quite the opposite, and believing in yourself, harnessing your own confidence rather than waiting for approval from others, can lead to experiences and open doors that you never even knew existed. In short, you don’t have to be invited or “earn” your seat at the table; the chair is there just waiting for you to pull it out and sit down.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU SERVE AND GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY?
I believe one of the most valuable resources someone can give is their time, and volunteer work and serving on various boards has allowed me to give my time in meaningful ways. I have served the Victoria County Bar Association in various capacities, including president, and have worked with several local organizations including the Victoria Junior League, Keep Victoria Beautiful, the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Victoria Advocate Ethics Board, and most recently, the Refugio Lion’s Club.
WHAT CHARITY OR NONPROFITS DO YOU SUPPORT AND WHY?
There are so many fantastic organizations doing important work in this area, but for the last several years I have primarily supported the Junior League of Victoria because they work with many of those other organizations. Their mission of empowering women has always resonated with me, and I love the variety of ways and means in which they are able to accomplish that mission – from direct efforts like hosting birthday parties at Devereaux and putting on an annual leadership conference for area high school students, to indirect fundraisers and food drives, they just offer so many ways to get involved.