Success Profile: Meet Catherine Cortez Masto, the First Latina to Break Senate Barriers

Walker’s Legacy Profiles recognize unique women of color in business who embody the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, meet Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina Senator.

Catherine Cortez Masto has dedicated her life to helping those who are misrepresented in government. Coming from an immigrant family Catherine understood the value of a good work ethic. Her parents worked hard by investing and working multiple jobs in order to give Cortez Masto and her sister an education. After graduating from the University of Nevada and from Gonzaga University School of Law, she began her career serving two years as an Attorney General of Nevada, where she spent most of her time fighting for Nevada’s working families. She then worked for four years as a civil attorney.

In November 2016, she became the first Latina and the first woman from Nevada to ever get elected to the United States Senate, where she is an advocate for seniors, women and children. Along with creating a protection unit to safeguard Nevadans from identity theft, exploitation and abuse, Cortez Masto has worked hard to fight against sex trafficking rings throughout the state and has helped pass a law in order to make sex trafficking a crime at the state level. Passing this law was a great achievement because it allowed state and local officials to share resources and information with federal prosecutors and by giving first responders the tools they need in order to identify and intervene in trafficking situations.

Being the first Latina woman in the Senate has brought many challenges making many of Cortez Masto goals very hard to accomplish, working towards a white male dominated profession has been the main obstacle Cortez Masto has had to face throughout her whole career.  Despite these challenges, she continues to work hard in order to help many middle-class families and those who don’t have a voice. Cortez Masto did not allow her nationality or gender from fighting for what is right. Her industriousness is what took her talent and fight to Washington D.C. where she is working to fix our immigration system and helping her state Nevada in a greater way. Cortez Masto aims to educate individuals in the White House in order to break the barrier of the lack of diversity and the gender inequality in the government. She knows that her achievements of becoming a Senator is influencing many young latina girls who now know that it is possible to follow your dreams and achieve what many would think as the impossible.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.