Special to South Florida Times
FORT LAUDERDALE — “There is no right way to do a wrong thing,” are the simple yet life-propelling words that have fortified her ethical stand and compelled Juliet Roulhac to achieve prodigious success.
The woman who prides herself in treating all people with the highest degree of respect is an accomplished and respected complex litigation and appellate attorney who has practiced law in Florida for more than 20 years.
Serving as external affairs manager for the Broward Region of Florida Power and Light, her vision to assist the community is in line with her life’s mantra.
She was recently appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the University of Florida’s Board of Trustees, a position that is equally honorable and demanding. The board’s responsibilities entail policy implementation, overseeing huge budgets, vetting and hiring at the executive level for the state’s 50,000-student, flagship university.
Asked about her appointment, she said, “My initial reaction was that this was a great responsibility and I desired to do well. Particularly being an African-American female I am determined to do well with this unique and interesting challenge.”
Ms. Roulhac’s lists of professional triumphs are remarkably lengthy. Her achievements include earning Martindale-Hubbell’s highest AV rating, an honor that she holds dear to her heart, as it was determined by her peers.
She served on the Florida Bar Board of Governors as president of the Young Lawyers Division, as a delegate representing the Florida Bar to the International Civitas program in various countries, and as ambassador to the law leadership program in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Her honors and awards include the Legal Elite 2010, Presidential Who's Who 2010, Biltmore Who's Who 2009, Manchester Who's Who 2004, the 2002 Legal Leadership Award, the 2002 Champion of Law Award, the 1999 Paul J. May Professionalism Award from the Broward County Bar Association – YLD, the 1999 Attorney of the Year for the statewide firm of Figueroa, Gonzalez & Hoecker, and inclusion in Who's Who of American Women 1995.
Her achievements are continually unfolding as she values academia and dedicating oneself to a lifetime of learning. While her curriculum vitae and repertoire of accolades are profound, her journey has not been an easy road.
Juliet Murphy Roulhac is a daughter of the island of Jamaica, West Indies. She was born to parents who valued and instilled the importance of education, moral ethics and diligence. Her lineage is rooted in academia, and she was raised to excel.
At 15 her life forever changed, upon migration to the United States. Her determination to fulfill her dream of being an attorney was consistent, but the assimilation process in a new country was challenging. Her life in America having allotted her incomparable opportunities and giving her a platform to serve on a larger scale, she is equally grateful for and devoted to her American and Jamaican heritage.
Roulhac’s life extends beyond her professional endeavors, as she is a wife of 17 years, a mother to a son who she says keeps her inspired and current, and a lover of the arts, lending herself as board member to the Cultural Foundation of Broward. She has an avid appreciation for music, especially European classical and reggae. Roulhac enjoys the music of Bob Marley. “He is my favorite,” she adds. “He is just brilliant.”
NO STATUS QUO
What makes this leader so outstanding is not just her value for education and her fight to ensure that all children are afforded the same quality of knowledge, but her desire to go beyond the status quo. Her tenacious approach lies in her ability to believe in herself and the powerful directives sown into her life by her parents. “You can make it, and be great” are simple words, but they have the ability to positively change the course of a child’s life as it did Roulhac’s. Her parents were her first teachers and they taught her that success was attainable at all level in spite of culture, color or gender.
Roulhac said she was led to assume that success was her inheritance and limitations were a “beatable” mental obstacle, and she dared to believe it. As an attorney she is fierce, calculating and clever, as a mother she is authoritative and as a mentor she is passionate, friends say. One of her most important missions is to empower and train young people, while charging them to soar beyond the expectations.
“I find a lot of personal satisfaction in mentoring our youth. They have to believe that they can accomplish anything with hard work,” she said. “I encourage them to seek out people who they admire and respect and ask these role models to share ideas and thoughts about their journey to success.”
Photo: Juliet Roulhac