Alberta Richelieu: An Ambassador, A Champion

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Alberta Richelieu

Alberta A.G.S. Richelieu is a graduate of the University of the West Indies. She studied Economics and Law for her undergraduate degree and later, pursued a Master of Science in International Trade Policy. Her legal journey began at the BPP University in Waterloo, London where she pursued a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and after, the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at the University of Law, Bloomsbury London. Ms. Richelieu is currently the Saint Lucian Ambassador to the African Caribbean Pacific- Youth Professional Network (ACP-YPN) and works with the Aspire Artemis Foundation, a non-profit organization whose aim is to promote youth and women empowerment. She is also a mentor at Debate Mate, an international educational organisation dedicated to improving social mobility through debating and improved critical analytical skills. She was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales on 8th March, 2018 and more recently, her home country, Saint Lucia on the 5th April 2018.

Alberta Richelieu or Twinkle as she is more commonly referred to was given the nickname by her mom as (according to mom) she came out looking like an angel ready to “save the world”.  She grew up in the community of Morne-Giraud, Gros-Islet and at the age of eighteen, migrated to Barbados to study at the University of the West Indies Cavehill. There, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics (major) and Law (major) and also a Master of Science in International Trade Policy. Directly after her masters, was when she decided to pursue a legal career, she enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at the BPP University in Waterloo, London for one year and after the GDL, she did the Bar Professional Training Course which is the vocational course that allows one to practice as a lawyer.

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Walk us through the day you were called to the bar.

I was called to the Bar of England and Wales on International Women’s Day at Lincoln’s Inn. It started off as any other ordinary day, my parents and I got ready and of course we took pictures. The ceremony started off with a church service at the Inn’s chapel then after the official call ceremony began. Of greater significance to me was being called to the Bar in Saint Luciaon 5th April 2018, particularly because it is my home country and I would’ve been given the opportunity to invite family and friends who have supported me along my academic journey. The day was more than magical. I woke up early that morning to finish off my call speech. My niece, Ivanka, who is only 11 years old , provided  me with moral support , her opinions and additions where necessary lol.  Allidona George, my longtime friend came to do my makeup, which took almost one hour by the way but it was definitely worth it. I then rushed to get ready and headed for the commercial court in Castrieswith my older brother.

I was undoubtedly nervous on arrival. My family and friends had already arrived and there was a lot of muttering going on. At the bar table were my God parents, Petra Nelson and Wilkinson Larcher, who are also attorneys, my father and the president of the Bar Association. I was presented to the Bar by my father and god mother. Lots of tears were shed, beautiful words exchanged and pictures taken.

Before you were called up what did your job entail and how different will things be now?

So, I have been at school for practically my whole life until now. Often, during the summer holidays I would intern at different places to gain experience but I never worked full time prior to that.

Describe a typical day at the office.

Currently, I intern at the United Nations Population Fund Headquarters in New York, where I work in policy particularly pertaining to population and development. Some days are busier than others. Some days, I have to attend meetings, other days I draft documents and sometimes the majority of my day consists of responding to emails and correspondence.

So far what do you enjoy most about your job? And the least?

Thus far, what I enjoy the most is the multicultural environment and global feel of the UN. What I detest the most is probably, the volume of work that sometimes comes with interning.

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What are the main skills needed to be a Lawyer and what subjects should our young reader focus on if they would like to follow in your footsteps?

To become a lawyer, I would say the skills required are drafting/ writing, public speaking skills as well as analytical skills and critical thinking skills. All these skills require practice and constant developing. In terms of subjects, I will say Literature is a must, although I didn’t do literature at school, I believe students who did  literature had  an edge as they had already developed certain skills which are required to become a lawyer. More importantly, I would say it’s important to join clubs, which promote public speaking and critical thinking skills such as debating clubs and book clubs. I think more importantly, engaging in continuous reading on different topics is also essential.

Tell us a little about the benefits that come with the job.

One of the benefits with interning at the UN is gaining the opportunity to see all diplomats in action, gaining access to some globally defining meetings and of course, experiencing a work environment outside of my home country.

You are seen with a smile on your face 100% of the time; what’s your secret to constant happiness and positivity?’

Well, I am a deeply spiritual person. I think that has helped me through a lot of difficulties in my life. I grew up in the Catholic Church and I was quite an active member. Also, I try to keep my personal development as a priority so I often read positive books. I am an avid believer in prioritizing personal development.  I will encourage all young readers to look into reading books which boost and promote personal development. Some of my personal favorites are:

Destiny by TD Jakes, The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama, Who says you can’t, You DO – Daniel Chidiac, The Alchemist- Paulo Coehlo, The subtle art of not giving a– by Mark Manson and History of Sapiens – Yuval Harari.

Will your career make you less of a socialite or can our cameras expect to capture you at some of the major events during our carnival season?

LOL. Well I’m quite a multidimensional individual. I totally detest compartmentalization of personalities. I think society, has forced us into categories and I am definitely not a believer in such.  I have always been spiritual but I also love a great party while also enjoying a good read, studying and everything else that comes with it. So I definitely won’t change my personality because of my career. I don’t think people should allow their careers to define them. So to answer your question, hopefully, ifI am home for carnival, I will definitely be enjoying the lively carnival atmosphere and the events that come with it.

How much of an influence did your family have on your career choice and at any time did you think maybe I should try something else?

Ibelieve my family has had a major influence on my career choice, however, I was not forced into taking the legal career path. My parents, particularly my mom, have always been quite liberal sometimes too liberal lol.

I always used to say to myself that if I knew the stress that I was going to have to deal with I probably would not have studied law. Nevertheless, as it’s over it is a remarkable feeling and I feel with certainty that all the stress was worth it. I believe I have become a better person in all aspects of my life because of law school. I am happy I never gave up or tried something else.

What advice would you give to the students in attendance, wanting to break into this career?

I would advise them to make reading a habit. Practice argumentative writing, read books that force you to think outside of what you’re accustomed to and constantly challenge yourself in all aspects of your life.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I hope to become the best person I can be mentally, physically, socially and most importantly, spiritually in the next ten years. I would like to be a competent, well-rounded and versatile individual. Career-wise, I would like to become an exceptional lawyer and policymaker. I hope to influence policies worldwide that promote sustainable development.  Also, in ten years time, I would like to have visited every continent on earth and write a book.

Final Words:

Lastly, for any young persons, who are eager to hear the stories of other young people who are aspiring to inspire follow Aspire Artemis on Instagram @aspireartemis, on   Facebook   and/or check out the website www.aspireartemis.org

FUN FACTS

First in the office or last to leave?

It depends, but I sometimes leave last. I can be a nerd at times lol.

Out after work or straight home to bed?

It depends on the day. I like to lime but more so on the weekend.  Fridays, is often my day to lime but during the week I prefer to hit the sac.

Dancehall or Soca.

Both. I LOVE music.

Sports or Nah

I love sports. I’m more of a tennis and cricket fan, more than anything else.

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