'Learning from other cultures makes us better people' A tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month

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  • | 12:00 p.m. November 2, 2010
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by Joe Wilhelm Jr.

Staff Writer

To recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, which was designated Sept. 15-Oct. 15, the Daily Record is featuring four professionals from the legal community for their accomplishments and contributions. A judge and an attorney were profiled Monday. Today the Daily Record features two attorneys..

Attorney Tatiana Salvador

Attorney Tatiana Salvador, founding member and past president of the Hispanic Bar Association of North Florida, was born in Providence, R.I., but she would return to her parents’ native Colombia throughout summers during her youth.

“My sister and I grew up speaking and writing Spanish at home,” said Salvador. “We would take trips to South America in the summer and visit family. It was great fun. Because of those experiences, the food, music and sense of family are entrenched in our lives.”

Also entrenched was the drive for a solid education.

“It wasn’t enough that my sister and I graduated from college. We were expected to get a post-secondary degree,” said Salvador.

She graduated with honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 1993.

“I was the first lawyer in my family, so there was definitely a sense of pride,” said Salvador, of Rogers Towers.

Among her volunteer work, she has been a member and past vice chair of the City Human Rights Commission, member of the 2004 class of Leadership Jacksonville, past president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Northeast Florida, president-elect of OneJax and a member of the Jacksonville Public Library Board of Trustees. She currently sits on the City Ethics Commission.

“It comes from my parents. We’ve gotten so much from this country that we have to give back,” said Salvador.

Attorney Giselle Carson

Giselle Carson of Marks Gray was born in Cuba, immigrated to Canada and then to the United States. Growing up she developed a fluency in both Spanish and French and a view of a variety of cultures.

“I spent the majority of high school and college away from family at boarding school in Cuba. As I grew older I spent less time with them because of the way we were educated,” said Carson, immediate past president of the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“School was very different in Cuba. Semesters were very long. I was home probably two months with my family. The daily schedule saw us get up at 6 a.m., classes from 8-12, lunch, school from 1-4, break, sometimes we would have work assignments,” she said.

“They would be in the fields, factories or cleaning somewhere, for about two hours. We would eat dinner, have a break and then events scheduled in the evenings 8-10. It was very structured.”

After emigrating to Canada, Carson was granted a work visa for the United States as a physical therapist. While she was in the U.S. she noticed that the industry was moving toward a master’s degree certification, and while she wanted an advanced degree, she didn’t want one in the same field as her husband.

“I wanted to do something different,” said Carson.

She enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Central Florida at the same time the Florida Coastal School of Law was opening.

“I wasn’t really a numbers person, so I applied at Coastal and attended part time, so I could maintain my physical therapy certification,” said Carson.

The medical background helped her land a job with Marks Gray, where she was able to help develop an immigration law practice.

“I had all of this experience with the immigration process becoming a naturalized citizen, and I developed a passion for immigration work,” said Carson.

She has also volunteered. She was the first female president of the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where she served two terms, in 2008 and 2009, and was a member of the board of governors of The Jacksonville Bar Association and a member of the 2005 class of Leadership Jacksonville.

“I see being a Hispanic-American as a very good thing. The Hispanic culture has things that the American culture does not have. The way that I’m close to my family, I like to dance, I like music, that’s part of the Hispanic culture,” she said.

“Living in America, I’ve learned to be more goal-oriented. I’m proud to have both, “ said Carson. “Learning from other cultures makes us better people.”

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