Meet Sheryl Winarick

Sheryl Winarick is an immigration lawyer whose joie de vivre is infectious! Through her work, she enables individuals, families, businesses and non-profits to maximize their potential in the U.S. Her clients include TED, Unreasonable Group, Oxfam International, startup companies, entrepreneurs, and people from all over the world. Many of her clients become BFFs ~ and even family, like her Haitian God-daughter, Grace.

Sheryl's career is consistent with her greater life purpose ~ building bridges of understanding and appreciation across culture, religion, race, nationality, gender, age, and class. She has a gift for seeing the best in people and inspiring people to see the best in themselves and others.

Q+A

What inspires you?  

Nature. Music. Connecting deeply with other human beings. Love. People who stand up for justice, freedom, and equality. People who dare. My clients inspire me. TED (and TEDsters across the globe), Oxfam… individuals and families who risk leaving everything familiar behind with Hope and Faith in a bright future. Good energy is infectious, like laughter and smiles! Seeing others dream big, take leaps of faith, work hard, innovate, accept small setbacks, carry on, and appreciate everything along the way that inspires me!

What is your first (or best) memory?  

So many amazing experiences, but one of my favorite memories is hitchhiking across Guatemala in the back of a pick-up truck loaded with bananas. It was the summer after my second year of law school, and the summer after Guatemala’s 30-year civil war officially ended. The UN mission in Sololá placed me with a group of indigenous women, to teach them about international human rights law, and they taught me more about life than I ever could have imagined. The whole experience opened up a world of possibilities and wonder. That day with the bananas, wind in my hair, five hours of solitude on vacant roads, trusting a stranger to deliver me home… Pure bliss. In those moments, I felt free.

What is a little known fact about yourself?  

I once sang karaoke on stage in front of 500+ people… and I absolutely LOVE to salsa, merengue, Texas 2-step, polka, waltz all kinds of partner dancing!

If you had to switch careers what would you do? 

Cosmology = fascinating!

What do you hate?  

Leaf blowers!

Want more? Learn about the type of work she does in this poignant article in the New Republic. Follow her on Twitter