Blog post by Siobhan Siaca, Attorney Advisor, Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP)
I am honored to be nominated to represent my culture for the U.S. Department of Commerce during the 2020 Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
My name is Siobhan Siaca and I am an Attorney Advisor with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) within the Office of General Counsel. I’ve been with CLDP for nearly three years and it has been such an exciting adventure!
Spanish was my first language and growing up in a bi-cultural family with immigrant parents, I always said my dream job would be speaking Spanish and helping people achieve their goals. I was raised with deep rooted values from my Latino culture of family, loyalty, and humility. My parents taught me to be humble, hardworking, and committed to helping others. Their resiliency has left a lasting impression that I aspire to pass on to future generations. As the youngest of five, I am very family oriented. While most of my family is back on the West Coast, I am fortunate to have my older brother nearby in Virginia, who is also a civil servant working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In my current role on CLDP’s Latin America team, I manage legal reform and economic development programs across Central and South America. My programs focus on insolvency reform, international trade, textile competitiveness, and trade facilitation to support increased transparency, efficiency, and economic prosperity in the region. Being Puerto Rican and fluent in Spanish enables me to build lasting relationships with my counterparts and support my Latino colleagues to make these critical changes that strengthen trade ties with the U.S., create jobs, and boost regional integration. Seeing the successes of our work and witnessing firsthand the benefits of the CLDP programs across Central and South America gives me an incredible sense of pride in my work and my organization. I embrace the opportunity to have a positive impact on the countries I work in, and it makes it that much more satisfying that I am able to give back through my work in Latin America.
I truly believe that education is the key to success. And along the way, you need a supportive network of mentors to help navigate your educational and professional journey. Participating in mentorships is a passion of mine that I initially discovered in high school. As a young Latina and the first attorney in my family, I actively seek role-model mentors who can give me guidance, honest feedback, and celebrate my successes. I have had the privilege of participating in mentoring programs as both a mentor and mentee with the Hispanic Bar Association of DC, Women in International Trade, and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association on Capitol Hill. One of the greatest joys in my current role is mentoring law students on the Latin America team and hearing of their success years later.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is important because it helps us learn more about each other and the rich cultures we all come from. It is an opportunity to reflect on how similar we all are, no matter the culture, which is critical to having a more inclusive and stronger nation.
My advice for today’s youth interested in working for the Federal Government: 1) Don’t stop investing in yourself through professional development and trainings; and 2) Find (and be) a great mentor!
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce Hispanic employees in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15--October 15).