The Best of Both Worlds: Meet Yasmine Murray '00
For Yasmine Murray, the power of a Bay Path education could be summarized in one word: connection. “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Bay Path. One thing I appreciated a lot were all the women in leadership roles — President Leary, Marcia Conrad, and Caron Hobin, in particular — who were instrumental in helping shape my mindset that leadership is attainable, that if I work hard and demonstrate the right characteristics and integrity, anything is obtainable.”
It was these female role models who set Yasmine on her path. Yasmine graduated from Bay Path with a major in legal studies and a concentration in business studies, and like many other legal studies majors, law school seemed like a natural next step. But Yasmine wasn’t sure this was the right next step for her. Legal Studies professor Ann Dobmeyer — who recently retired after 25 years of service to the University — suggested that Yasmine try out full-time work in a law firm; Yasmine had interned in a Springfield, MA law firm during her time at Bay Path, but Ann thought it important for Yasmine to see if the field would be a good fit after graduation. This led Yasmine to work as a paralegal at the New York law firm Holland and Knight. Unfortunately, Yasmine’s mom became ill, bringing Yasmine back to Connecticut for over a year. While helping her mother run her businesses, a lingering question remained — was law school the right choice?
As Yasmine contemplated whether or not she should return to New York — or perhaps move to Washington, D.C. — for law school, she reconnected with her father in Georgia and decided to visit him. Georgia offered many things Yasmine liked, including great weather and a lower cost of living. In 2002, Yasmine moved there, and resumed work as a paralegal. During that time, she saw many lawyers who were unhappy, several of whom actively tried to steer her away from the law. For a second time, Yasmine left the legal field, and began working for a company that runs urgent care centers in major airports. While working for him and figuring out what she wanted to do, Yasmine received a call from the general counsel of her current company, H.J. Russell, asking if she might be interested in a corporate paralegal position. She just wasn’t sure, given that she hadn’t ever worked in corporate law, but decided to take the position on the recommendation of a good friend.
Ward’s mentorship and advice eventually led Yasmine to take the plunge and begin law school: he praised her intelligence and drive, and pointed out that her work as a paralegal meant that she was already doing so much of the work that a lawyer would do. She had many concerns and hesitations, but with the support of her husband, Yasmine enrolled at the University of Georgia. “I talked with my husband, who was so supportive, and I made the decision to do it so that I wouldn’t have any regrets down the line. “
In her last year of law school, her mentor at H.J Russell left for an outside position, but the CFO reached out to her and asked if she would consider coming back as a staff attorney. This was Yasmine’s first job out of law school, and she has been with the company ever since, working her way up the ladder. Last year, she was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President and General Counsel. “I keep my nose to the grindstone, doing the work I’m supposed to do, helping the company. It’s working to my benefit, as I have the opportunity to advance, have a seat at the table, and help guide the direction of the company.”
The founder of H.J. Russell passed away in 2014, and Yasmine is playing an integral role in helping to shape the future of the company. Yasmine loves deciding what direction the company should move in, determining how much of the company’s legacy will stay intact, and having the opportunity to combine her interests in law and business, two passions she discovered while at Bay Path. “I had so many opportunities to learn from strong women at the top of their fields and companies, helping me see what was possible as a woman. I left Bay Path feeling that I could reach for anything, that nothing was unavailable to me.”