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Hello from the Sunshine State!

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Hello! My name is Jennel Ballestero. I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. I moved to Sacramento, CA, twenty years ago to work on my undergraduate degree in psychology at CSUS. If someone had told my younger self that I would settle down in what I had labeled “cow town” Sacramento, I would have cried from laughing so hard! I started my career as a recruiter after graduating from college, and shortly thereafter, I met my husband. Kris, at a local Starbucks, fell in love, got married, and had two wild kids (Gabriela, 5, and John, 3). This city girl made “cow town” a home.

I have been in HR for 18 years and have come up the HR ranks as a generalist who enjoys the variety of my work, especially understanding the intricacies of employment law and how it translates to business management and the development of progressive workplace policies. I am a first-generation daughter of Indian parents and also a geriatric millennial, bringing my unique perspective to a predominately white male leadership team. I have spent the last 11 years working for a CA-based law firm that practices in various areas of the law, including labor and employment, entertainment, real estate, IP, business litigation, etc. My role as the Firm's HR Director allows me to interact with all levels of the Firm. My innate curiosity about human behavior and what motivates certain behaviors gives me the ability to provide practical and sustainable solutions while consciously working to find my voice to gently challenge traditional law firm norms.

Why the Tulane MJ-LEL program? Like many in my cohort, I researched several programs, but I was ultimately drawn to the legal focus, reputation, and credibility of this program. We are taught by law school professors with reputable educational backgrounds and experience. Also, Tulane is nationally recognized with a solid reputation even on the West Coast. What I did not expect or realize I needed was a sense of community from the faculty and staff. Although the program is online, I have never felt so connected to an academic community that has championed my success throughout the program. The program has expanded my legal knowledge, built my confidence to engage in strategic conversations with management and employment counsel, brought awareness to the areas of the law that have piqued my interest, such as mediation and investigations, and connected me with some of the best and brightest HR professionals across the country. The program and the people have exceeded my expectations, and it is with nostalgia that I am starting my final semester.

Capstone Initial Thoughts © 2023 by Jennel Ballestero is licensed underCC BY-ND 4.0

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