Written by: Fatima Salinas
Senior Counsel for the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee for Chair Cardin of Maryland, Therese Meers spoke with the Spring 2021 Global Leaders about her experiences prior to working for the Senate and her efforts to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therese encouraged each of us to explore our interests and create meaningful connections in our careers.
Before attending Harvard Law, Therese earned her Master of Letters degree in Art History at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and worked for the State Attorney’s Office in Miami. During this time, she realized that there was a whole world related to case law that she had no previous knowledge of.
Therese explained she would have a feeling of falling behind in life if she did not open herself up to that world. By investing in a law degree from one of the most preeminent law schools in the world, Therese decided to invest in herself. This attitude of reaching for better and navigating what this means for each of us resonated with me as I begin my career.
Therese also discussed the importance of outreach and networking skills. Not only is investing in oneself essential but so is investing in the relationships we have with others. From informational interviews to proper email etiquette, Therese emphasized offering oneself as a resource and staying in touch, so the relationship is more of an exchange.
This past year, Therese facilitated aid for small businesses across the United States in legislation that includes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program, and Health Care Enhancement Act, and the American Rescue Plan. She made the observation that these efforts have shown us what the country is capable of doing by coming together at a tough time and how everything is interconnected. One cannot go anywhere today and not see someone who has or knows of someone who does have a small business which has been helped by this legislation.
I find the unity Therese mentioned will be more important in the years to come when the interrelation is less visible than it is today. Once communities, individuals, and businesses recover, I hope to contribute to what the country is capable of doing at a time of prosperity. As I explore my future career opportunities in the legal field, meeting with Therese, a Hispanic woman who is Senior Counsel on a Senate Committee has encouraged me to envision better opportunities for myself and my community.