Please describe your current role:
Andrea Sarmentero Garzón is a member at the law firm Jennings Strouss. She focuses her practice on energy litigation, regulatory and transactional matters. Ms. Sarmentero works with clients in shaping natural gas and electric regulatory policy in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She also assists clients in developing energy projects in the U.S. and abroad.
How did you get into the energy industry?
After law school, I decided to focus my practice in energy and completed an LLM in Energy Law and Policy at the Center of Energy Petroleum Mineral Law and Policy in Dundee, Scotland. It was my way of reconnecting with my family’s traditional involvement in the energy industry. Believe it or not, I am the first attorney in my family. Going back at least four or five generations, everyone in my family was either an engineer working in the energy industry or a doctor. I was the black sheep that broke the mold. My father was so disappointed when I told him I was going to law school that he exclaimed: “What a waste of a scientific brain!” To which I responded: “Even scientists need advocates.” Now, in the world of fake news where in some minds 2+2 does not necessarily equal 4, scientists more than ever need legal advocates that understand and are not afraid of science.
What has been the key to your success?
Persistence. We all find in our careers people that tell us what we can or cannot do; people that won’t like you or trust you because you are different than they are; and people who will try to stop you or make you abandon your dreams. You cannot listen to these negative messages, whether they come from others or from yourself. Never give up. Never doubt yourself. Eventually, opportunity will come, and it will do so more than once. Seize the opportunities!
What is the best advice you've received?
Listen before you talk. You have to know your audience before you decide how to effectively convey a message.
What inspires you in your work?
My partners and their passion for excelling in the practice of law. When the people that surround you set the bar so high, you have no choice but to become your best self.
What would you tell a young person considering a career in energy?
Energy is at the center of economic development. Just open a newspaper and you will see that most news directly or indirectly involves energy prices, policies, and laws. If you want to be part of something big, pursue a career in energy.
Member, Jennings Strouss
Copyright Advancing Women in Energy 2016. All rights reserved.