Meet Mayra Joli, one of South Florida’s most active immigration attorneys, a true innovator and agent of change in the USA.
Mayra is a simple woman who only asks of life health and peace of mind. Since she was a kid she has been very skilled in household chores and was always cleaning or cooking. She confessed that she never learned how to ride a bicycle or how to swim. She thinks that there is no secret in life for success, just to be mindful that opportunities are bold and must be grabbed by the hair! She believes that family is the center of the universe…in any realm.
You are from the Dominican Republic but emigrated to the US, and you studied law at Saint Thomas University, why did you decide to specialize in immigration law?
I studied law in the Dominican Republic as well. I got my Law degree from the Supreme Court of Louisiana. I was a Political Science major at Saint Thomas University. I decided to specialize in immigration because people started to ask me for assistance on that route and it grew on me as I got more and more involved.
For people who are not related to the subject, can you tell us briefly what type of cases immigration lawyers work on?
In my practice, we represent clients in any aspect of the immigration process; for example, family petitions, adjustments of status, naturalizations, detention and removal litigation, and the like.
"A lawyer should always hold her head up high with dignity and a sense of confidence that is transmitted to the clients"
It is uncommon for beauty queens to have another profession. You have been beauty queen five times and you are considered one of the most influential lawyers in South Florida. Did/do you combine your careers as beauty queen and lawyer?
I do combine both careers, the law and being beauty queen. A lawyer should always hold her head up high with dignity and a sense of confidence that is transmitted to the clients. A beauty queen should always hold her head up high, always wearing her invisible crown, with dignity and a sense of confidence that is transmitted to the people she meets and impacts.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your profession?
Having to be the conveyor of bad news.
" I will continue to actively participate and be the voice of the voiceless or the ones that are too afraid to voice their moral-political views. I see the role of women in politics in general as overrated, to hyped and too glorified"
You were an independent candidate for Florida's 27th Congressional District in the U.S. House but you lost the general election on November 6, 2018. What was your experience in politics, and do you want to participate again? How do you see the role of women in politics in general?
As an attorney and a political science major, I realize that attorneys are trained to interpret the laws, but people with no training in law are trusted with the job to help in the creation of legislation. Yes, I will continue to actively participate and be the voice of the voiceless or the ones that are too afraid to voice their moral-political views. I see the role of women in politics in general as overrated, too hyped and too glorified.
You are a very busy woman but you found time to organize an event called "Fashion Night on Brickell" that supports people and families who face legal problems and cannot afford the legal services required, what is your main motivation for doing this?
If I can shine the light at the neediest, then that will encourage others to take the lantern as well. I take care of other people’s happiness and in turn, I protect my own happiness.
"The family will never fail us if we cultivate the love for one another. Success is not measured by the possessions one accumulates but for by the enjoyment of a life well lived…everything else will fall into place"
You are a high-impact immigration attorney in South Florida in the USA; founder of the Joli Law Firm PLLC, a Brickell based boutique firm that exclusively practices immigration law; and founder of Fashion Night on Brickell etc. What is the recipe for your success?
I got all my sisters with me. I believe that the center of our lives should always be the family and its foundation. One cannot do it all alone, but we must be wise in selecting the people with whom to share our goals. Family will never fail us if we cultivate the love for one another. Success is not measured by the possessions one accumulates but by the enjoyment of a life well lived…everything else will fall into place. Once someone asked me: Mayra are you so positive because everything works out for you? Or does everything work out for you because you are positive? I don’t have an answer…I am just positive.
You have a husband and a son, how do you balance your personal and professional life? Have you had problems with your family due to being a hardworking woman? If yes, how did you resolve them?
My husband and I have been together since 1995. He is a former US Marine; a true American who has shown me the value of responsibility and discipline, the American way. He taught me that a man (or woman) needs to know their limitations. I also learned from him that if a day has 24 hours, it is enough time to accomplish the goals for that day. We have no have problems from me being a hardworking woman, it beats the alternative (a lazy one)! We have had time mismanagement issues… adjusting and planning to take care of them.
How is Mayra as a mom and as a wife?
The best version of myself!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to be at home, cooking!
What are your plans for this 2019?
In the political arena, prepare the road for a 2020 presidential campaign for President Donald J. Trump. In the personal arena, continuing doing what I do best…and that is a life well lived!
There is still the glass roof for women in the world, especially in Latin America, fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman etc. Have you experienced the glass roof? If yes, how you have gotten over it? And if not, why do you think is that?
I am my own boss, I have over 10 employees, men, and mostly women…not by choice. I employ people by their complete package of merits, nothing else. I have a line of work, and I achieved the vision of the work environment I wanted. There are plenty of opportunities, especially here in the United States. No man is taking the space of no woman and no woman is stepping on the space of no man. The obliteration and destruction of the culture of man should not be the focus of a female revolution era. In this modern time, there is no advantage in confronting the only two human species in the world…man and female. We should come to the realization we are different and should as such, have different roles and be good at those roles.
"Be always open to lend a helping hand, but do not immerse yourself in such a way that you lose your own identity"
What tips can you give to young girls who want to be lawyers?
Go to law school. Get a law degree... that part is easy.
Cultivate a profession that you can say you love not only for the monetary remuneration, but for the awareness that you are living on the right side of the law. Always tell the truth, no matter what consequences it will bring.
Be always open to lend a helping hand, but do not immerse yourself in such a way that you lose your own identity.
Always strive to tell what you feel that way you will always remain loyal to yourself.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you really are (personally), and what you do (professionally). With this idea in mind, what is being Mayra and what's not?
Being Mayra is simple, congenial, godly, happy, familial, and very American. Mayra is not braggadocios (vain and empty boasting) and never a milk toast (very timid, unassertive).
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
First Lady Melania Trump. Because she is simple, happy, familial, unapologetic, no braggadocios, classy, and very American.
Name: Mayra Joli
Company: The Joli Law Firm, PLLC
Designation: Founder & CEO
Country: The Dominican Republic/ The USA