“It’s so important for students to see themselves represented in positions of power, so I’m grateful that [Gitta] specifically came to see our classroom.”  A powerful insight shared by special education ELA teacher, Rebecca Reid, when reflecting on a recent Pathfinders visit at the Eliot K-8 Innovation School. 

Birgitta Dickerson (Gitta), Chief Counsel at Cabot Corporation, was elated to spend time with Ms. Reid’s 6th-grade class. During her visit, Gitta reflected on her professional journey, including how she initially connected with the field of law – arguing a traffic ticket down as a teenager, and realizing that she could do that kind of thing professionally. 

During Gitta’s visual presentation, she highlighted many personal details about her life, such as being biracial—her mother is Swedish and a nurse, her father was a Tuskegee Airman—and being the first lawyer in her family, she had to figure out how to navigate the career path on her own.  

She noted her teachers, Mrs. Lopes and Mrs. Brook, as her earliest role models, then cited the late Lani Guinier (first African American woman to be tenured at Harvard Law) and Senator William ‘Mo’ Cowan as mentors, and shared “It meant a lot to see people who looked like me when I walked into a room” and went on to say “A lot of places that have been around for hundreds of years have paintings of people who have been in charge, and they didn’t look like me.”

Gitta also touched upon the various types of law and career paths one can take within the profession, as well as some of the hardships such as affording law school and maintaining a healthy balance between family life and volunteering, along with managing pressures at work.

Gitta’s parting words to students included “Be open-minded and curious; ask LOTS of questions of LOTS of people.” Also to take chances, to push themselves, and not to be afraid of failing. Finally, just as she’s taken on the role as a Pathfinders volunteer, she encouraged Ms. Reid’s students to  “Pay it forward to the next generation.”