Judith Zoe Cadore is a proud Houstonian of Guyanese and Grenadian descent. The 26-year-old attorney holds a B.A. from Spelman College & a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC).
Zoe was crowned Miss Houston in 2013 and represented the city at the Miss Texas Pageant where she received awards for talent, interview and community service. Her many accomplishments include the UHLC Faculty Distinguished Service Award, being published in the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy and on June 25, 2013 she was recognized by Mayor Annise Parker and Council-member Larry Green with “Zoe Cadore Day.”
Zoe continues to be active in a variety of service organizations throughout Houston including the Black Heritage Rodeo Committee, the District D Advisory Council and the Houston Young Lawyers Association. She will represent Guyana this summer in the Houston Caribbean Queen Pageant.
Below Zoe talks to us about her passion, biggest accomplishments, and offers some career advice for young women.
Where in Guyana are you or your family originally from? Please share your family background.
My family is from Georgetown, my grandfather was a gold miner and my grandmother stayed at home and took care of my father and his siblings.
What’s your business/career?
I currently work for a civil litigation firm on commercial litigation and Qui Tam cases; however, I also teach dance and work on political campaigns.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?
I’m motivated by my family and the people who have sacrificed for me to have an education and a successful life. I’m also motivated by the determination to always reach new heights.
What are you most excited or passionate about?
My future and the ability to impact lives and change the world through the practice of law.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
Passing the Texas Bar Exam.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are?
My parents, grandparents and Aunt Gail; Congresswomen Barbra Jordan and Sheila J. Lee; Prima Ballerina Lauren Anderson and my pageant coach/dance teacher Sheila Milner.
Did you have any life-changing or interesting experiences that put you on the path to your career?
When I was in high school I volunteered with the Matagorda County Teen Court, an alternative program overseen by a Municipal Court judge, where young offenders were given the opportunity for constructive punishment and sentencing by their peers. The goal of the program was to deter future unlawful behavior and provide students a chance to gain positive experience in the justice system. I was very successful in the program and won several state awards, including best attorney. This experience, along with the movie Legally Blonde, encouraged me to become a lawyer after years of thinking that I would graduate high school and move to New York to become a Broadway Star. I ultimately graduated from Spelman College with a B.A. in drama/dance and political science. I have remained involved in the dance community, choreographing and performing, while simultaneously practicing law.
Are there any major challenges or obstacles that you’ve overcome?
Prior to starting law school, my favorite aunt died after a 7-year battle with lupus. It was a very hard time for me, but her memory and her belief in me encouraged me to carry on and become the woman that I am today.
What advice would you give a young girl/woman who wants to pursue a similar career?
Do not take for granted the opportunity to receive an education. Always carry yourself with class and grace. Never let anyone underestimate your beauty, ability or strength. Be authentic, love yourself and love your life. Most importantly, seek God first in everything you do.
What’s next for you or what are you most looking forward to in the future?
Now that I’ve completed school, I look forward to traveling the world and focusing on my career. I eventually want to move to D.C. to do energy policy and then return back to Houston to start my own firm and continue being a leader in the community.
In her spare time, Zoe enjoys dancing, choreographing, cooking, swimming, Zumba, cycling, shopping, traveling and public speaking.
You may follow Zoe’s journey via her Facebook page.