This month, we are proud to spotlight first-generation college graduate Alé Dalton of Nashville, Tennessee.
Alé Dalton is a third-year associate who practices healthcare mergers and acquisitions law in Bradley’s Nashville office. Alé also volunteers with the Junior League, is an active part of several groups committed to diversifying the legal profession for women of color, and relies on family, church, her gym and her dog to keep her grounded. In other words, Alé may not have it all or even want it all, but she certainly does it all.
For all that she does, Alé does not consider herself to be particularly special. She is proud to be one of millions – that is, millions of American immigrants whose parents brought her to the United States to work hard, put down roots and become good citizens. Having achieved those already, Alé is reaching out a helping hand to other Latinas and women of color. She serves on the Hispanic National Bar Association and the University of Tennessee’s Young Alumni Council. Through these committees, Alé mentors at her beloved law school alma mater (Go Big Orange!) and her equally cherished undergraduate school, Lipscomb University.
“We try to create a pipeline through which we help other women who haven’t had the opportunity to grow up with family who can teach them how to navigate the world of college, law school, and finding jobs,” Alé said. “Our goal is diversity retention in law firms.”
“Mentoring is incredibly important to me because I see my own mentors’ work and encouragement woven through all my successes. You cannot do it alone, but it can also be difficult to have access to mentors when you come from an underrepresented background. Seeing people who look like you living out your goals is so important,” Alé added.
Alé was helped through her educational journey by merit scholarships and Pell Grants, and stressed the importance of scholarship opportunities in getting as many people as possible the most appropriate education possible, whatever direction that may take them.
“Students must maximize scholarships and if needed, utilize student loans wisely,” she continued. “I am a big believer in being debt free, but also recognize that life circumstances make everyone’s situation unique and sometimes funding education means utilizing all sorts of resources.”
Alé and her husband are working on aggressively paying off the loans they used to fund their educations, but she helped herself on the front-end by deliberately choosing an in-state public law school and the undergraduate school offering her the best financial aid package to minimize her debt. She is grateful for all the resources that came together to fund her education.
And what does Alé do with her precious time off? She is a self-described fitness fiend. She loves CrossFit training and weightlifting, but is always ready for a long run with her husband and their beloved coonhound, Neyland. In fact, Alé hopes she and Neyland will one day tackle the U.S. Canine Biathlon.
Whatever Ale may take on next, you can be sure she is always thinking of the women who will follow her.
“I think Michelle Obama said it best,” she said. “‘When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.’”