CEO Outlook Magazine

Mirna Martinez Santiago, Esq. | President and CEO | Girls Rule the Law, Inc.

Mirna Martinez Santiago, Esq.

President and CEO

" If someone reaches out to me for help or advice, I always give it, as I believe we always get back what we put out into the universe. "

Making A Difference with Law

Mirna Martinez Santiago has more than 25 years of legal experience, handling a range of matters, but is now focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Employment Law. In 2018, Mirna founded Girls Rule the Law, Inc. ( to introduce underprivileged and underrepresented middle and high school girls to the law and allow them to interact with mentors in the legal, judiciary, and legislative fields. Mirna lectures on an array of topics – with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and the elimination of bias– and has published on legal as well as non-legal subjects. Mirna has been featured in Latina Magazine and on NBC News, speaking about the Afro-Latina experience.

In addition to being the President and CEO of Girls Rule the Law, Inc., Mirna is the principal of a successful DEI and legal consulting company ( and is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association and co-chairs the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Equal parts creativity and perseverance are what best describe Mirna. She jokes that she runs the organization on emotional crazy glue and financial duct tape. She saw a need (no real representation of women of color in the law—the legal field, the legislature and the judiciary) and is working to fix it (by creating a program for underrepresented and underprivileged girls that will serve as a pipeline into those professions). She is not afraid to work hard, often going to the partner schools to teach debate and mock trial classes. She moderates the monthly fireside chats. She checks every piece of communication sent out under the Girls Rule the Law umbrella.

Born in Honduras, into what can only be described as abject poverty, Mirna came to terms with the kind of poverty where one doesn’t know if one would eat a full meal that day. The type of poverty where her siblings and she had no shoes to wear. Coming to the United States from that was already a dream come true, so it took Mirna a while to realize that they were still poor—living in public housing in the South Bronx! And that poverty seemed intractable, even immutable.

“Whereas we had immigrated from the poverty in Honduras, we seemed stuck in the projects. The only thing that budged the needle for us was—many years later—when my mother decided to get her GED and then obtain an Associate Degree in Office Administration (whereby she was able to go from being a cleaning lady to a secretary),” describes Mirna. “My oldest sister became the first person in our entire family to get a four-year degree. By getting an education, my family went from blue collar to white collar, and we were finally able to move out of public housing and into a private home.”

Mirna’s organization is about showing girls from the same background as her what is possible with just a little work and a lot of faith. Hence, she has been a support system to the female business owners who are out there trying hard to establish themselves. “I have a huge network and am not afraid to use it. I am constantly reaching out to people on social media. I collect people. If someone reaches out to me for help or advice, I always give it, as I believe we always get back what we put out into the universe.”

Mirna is a natural teacher and is always willing to take the time to show someone how something should be done. She leads by example and holds everyone (including herself) accountable. In many ways, Mirna is still trying to find “success.” Girls Rule the Law, Inc. is still a “new” enterprise (it will be five years old this year). “The one thing I am still learning is to ask for help, be it for volunteers to assist with our programs or financial help to make an event successful.” Her most extensive advice to everyone is to stop apologizing for demanding that a job be done correctly. “At first, I would try to do everything myself. Then, I would correct/redo any work that was not correct. Now, I send it back to the responsible party with instructions. My team now knows my expectations and meet them with flying colors.”

Girls Rule the Law, Inc.’s most significant achievement is inspiring women and girls every day, every week, and every year. They hold an annual youth conference with an etiquette workshop, networking meals, speed mentoring, and so much more. Every month, Girls Rule the Law, Inc. hosts a virtual fireside chat with a different panel of women in the legal, legislative and judicial fields, teaching a different leadership lesson (for example, time management, networking, goal setting, etc.) Every week, their volunteers go into schools in the inner city and teach targeted legal lessons, mock trials, and debates. Their content (videos, lessons, newsletters, etc.) is available every day to young ladies who want to attain knowledge and gain more experience.

At present, Girls Rule the Law, Inc. is a regional non-profit (their programs and attendees are primarily in New York). Their three-year plan is to be national (having chapters and providing programs for girls throughout the United States). Girls Rule the Law, Inc. plans on being global in 5 years. As a company, Girls Rule the Law, Inc. looks forward to seeing the thousands of girls who have gone through its program go to law school and become lawyers, legislators, and judges.

For Mirna, she has set her sights on another goal, “For me, personally, I am working on a book based on the Thirteen Leadership Lessons for Girls and Women that have fueled our monthly fireside chats.”

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