Alumni Spotlight: Adriana Rios Welton (2011-2015; New York)

December 2, 2021

To celebrate Cleary Gottlieb’s 75th anniversary, alumni around the globe are taking time to reflect on their experiences at the firm.

Adriana Rios Welton, Vice President of External Affairs at AT&T in Mexico, shares her thoughts below.

What lessons did you learn at Cleary that prepared you for your future career?

Cleary taught me how to be a strategic partner to clients. I learned that the best lawyers look at the problem holistically – beyond the letter of the law, to its practical, political, and regulatory implications, to benchmarks, etc. – and present the clients with risk-based analyses that take all of the areas of impact into account. Any lawyer can interpret the law; a great lawyer interprets the law in the context of the clients’ business needs and macro climate.

What Cleary person and/or experience had a lasting impact on you personally?

Personally, the most lasting impact came from having a number of examples of women who were at the top of their profession and also maintained a great deal of humanity and authenticity in their day-to-day. These women taught me that it is possible, and indeed a great asset, to be true to yourself in how you lead and how you show up in every room you occupy during your career. If we are genuine, then we can focus on solving the problems in front of us and we can create room for others to succeed at every tier of our organizations. I live this principle daily in how I lead my team. And in my current role, it resulted in the creation of a program called “Stronger United” (“Unidas Somos Mas Fuertes”) that aims to contribute towards a work environment where each of us can show up as we are and focus our talent and energy on creating value for our respective firms/company/etc. by creating a sense of community among women.

Why do you participate in the alumni network, and what would you say to someone who is considering getting involved?

The Cleary alumni network is a great resource – whether you’re looking to expand your network, share best practices with others in similar roles, contribute to a pro bono project, or make a change in your career. So get involved – you will spend more or less time working within the network as your time allows and needs change over the years, but the network will always be receptive!

To learn more about Cleary’s global alumni network, click here.