We had the good fortune of connecting with Raquel Fernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raquel, what’s your definition for success?
Success is measured in different ways for each person. At the end of the day, I believe success is fulfilling your purpose and calling on this earth. We each are called to carry out a greater purpose. We may call this our dreams, passion, career, etc. Since high school, my dream was to be an immigration attorney. I was inspired to pursue immigration law due to my parents’ immigration status. I had no clue where to start in terms of this career being a first generation American kid. My parents not only came to this country to start our family, they also inspired me to dream big. When I look back on this journey, I cannot help but feel immense gratitude towards everyone who helped me reach my dream. I had strayed from my dream at times, but that passion to serve my immigrant community always drew me back in. Success, to me, is being content with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Even though though your path may not be perfect, simply going after your dream with all you’ve got is enough to get you to where you want to be.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s an honor to be an immigration lawyer, especially as a Latina. Only 2% of Latinas in the US are lawyers, period. Becoming a lawyer was not easy. Dealing with law school, imposter syndrome, and the bar exam felt almost impossible at times. Growing up, I didn’t have a Latina lawyer role model or mentor. Today, I strive to be that for younger women who are called to this field. As we grow, we must continue to make the path easier for the next generation. I have been able to grow my social media platform to share my story. In March of 2020, I downloaded the TikTok app thanks to my Gen Z sis, Nikki! At the time, I thought TikTok was just for fun. Professionally, I was working as a Contract Attorney. That summer, so much happened culturally and historically. I started sharing videos on TikTok about knowing your rights when protesting and updates on the Supreme Court’s decision on DACA. I also used my platform to share my faith and spiritual journey. Then, to my surprise, my account caught TikTok’s eye… In September 2020, TikTok invited me to join their Latinx creators program, which at the time had less than 150 creators across the country. I am blessed to be a part of #CasaTikTok, an amazing community of diverse creators who have inspired me to keep reaching for the stars. Since then, my TikTok has grown to over 530,000 followers. I never dreamed I would be able to reach so many lives. My TikTok journey also led me back to practicing immigration law. I had strayed from it because I hadn’t had the most pleasant experiences as a young attorney. I started to believe maybe this wasn’t the path for me, but I still felt called to share immigration information and news online. Ultimately, my friend and former co-worker Erica reached out to me last year. Her new job was looking for a bilingual immigration lawyer. I said to myself “Why not apply?” and started editing my resume. I added my social media stats to my resume’s “skills” section just to spice it up. During my interview, this was brought up as an interest… and I got the job! I’ve been working there for a year and three months now. I am enjoying the growth and experience I’ve gained at the firm. I am also the firm’s marketing director, helping the firm reach over 12,000 followers on TikTok. This job has also opened big doors. As of this week, I became the “Social Media Liaison” for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Carolinas chapter. I am excited for what’s to come and so thankful for every step that led me here. Every hurdle we face is meant to be overcome. I overcame these hurdles thanks to God and my team. I also overcame by being persistent and learning to also believe in myself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting me on a Friday, I’d take her out to get some shrimp tacos at Cabo Fish Taco and then we’d check out the view from Nuvole Rooftop Twenty-Two. On Saturday, we’d have a fun night in. We’d go to Target during the day to get all the essentials (and non-essentials), stocking up on junk food and face masks for self-care! We’d get back home, order pizza, pop some popcorn, and re-binge watch some Bridgerton. On Sunday, we would grab some brunch at Sammy G’s and then lounge on my porch swing, reminiscing and enjoying the art of doing nothing to end the weekend.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my family: my husband, my parents, and my brothers. To Justin: thank you for seeing me for who I am. Thank you for seeing my potential when I couldn’t. Thank you for knowing just what to say when I need it. Finally, thank you for being the best partner I could ask for. To my parents, Veronica and Javier: thank you for teaching me to dream and providing a way for me. Thank you for your constant prayers. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you both. To my brothers, Sam and Danny: thank you for motivating me to be the best big sister I can be. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy life and not take myself seriously. I love you all and strive to make you all proud of me, as I am of you! PS: Shout out to my fur baby, Ollie!!!