“When I want something and believe in it, I will stop at nothing to attain it.” That statement captures the guiding principle of Hellieth Pedroza.
What She Stands For…
People who struggled to live in America have a special appreciation of what our country stands for. Hellieth was born and raised in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. Growing up in a country fraught with political turmoil made Hellieth hope for a better life in the United States.
Hellieth was fortunate to have strong women inspiring her to follow her dreams. She developed an interest in the law because of her grandparents.
“My grandmother was one of the first female judges in Caracas, Venezuela,” Pedroza said. “Everyone knew and respected her. She fought to protect society from ‘bad guys,’ but she also knew the system had flaws.”
Hellieth’s role models also include Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both of whom have shown courage in their work, and in sharing their personal journeys. Hellieth admires how they have opened doors for others like her to achieve their goals.
The women in Hellieth’s life have helped her at every step of her journey. Hellieth came to America during high school. When her new school wanted to hold Hellieth back so she would graduate at 18, her mother refused. Despite not speaking English, Hellieth’s mother met with the school’s superintendent and insisted that they admit Hellieth to her current grade. She overcame the language barrier, and Hellieth was allowed to continue her studies without interruption, and graduated high school at age 17.
Her True Passion
After graduating from the University of Houston Law Center, Hellieth worked for an immigration law firm. This experience furthered her passion for helping those who most need it. However, Hellieth soon learned that her true passion was in helping injury victims, and she learned how to make a difference in the lives of people who had been harmed by the carelessness of others.
In the early years of her practice, Hellieth found that she could be an example to others, just as she had been inspired by her role models. One evening, Hellieth stayed late at work to prepare a Hispanic woman for a deposition. The woman seemed intrigued by Hellieth and asked her how old she was. Hellieth has always looked younger than she is, so it was a question she had heard before. She simply told the woman, as she told everyone, “I’m older than I look.” The woman replied that she could not believe a person like Hellieth was her attorney. That initially caught Hellieth off guard. When she asked the woman why, the woman responded that she thought Hispanic women could not hold “fancy jobs” in America.
Hellieth explained to the woman that her path had not been easy, but she had persisted. She encouraged the woman and told her, “Some obstacles make our goals seem impossible, but we must push on and make a name for ourselves.”
The woman was fascinated by Hellieth’s story. She said she wanted to bring her granddaughter to meet Hellieth. The woman’s case settled, and when the woman came to pick up her check and close out her case, she brought her granddaughter along and introduced her to Hellieth.
“We talked for about an hour,” Hellieth said, “and that is when I realized how much impact I can have, and how my story can inspire others.”
Hellieth believes that an advocate who looks out for the interests of others can make an incredible difference in people’s lives. She finds purpose in helping others, including both her clients and her loved ones. Where others see an impossible situation, Hellieth looks for opportunities to solve problems. Hellieth’s relentless approach to finding solutions became critically important when her father was stricken with cancer.
A Personal Fight
Hellieth’s father was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in 2017, and the cancer soon metastasized to his cervical spine, putting him at risk of paralysis. Her father’s doctors in Venezuela did not offer surgery that would avoid paralysis, and her father’s insurance company would not allow him to seek surgery in the United States. This was devastating to Hellieth’s family, as they knew American was where her father would receive the best treatment.
Hellieth was determined to win this fight for her father. She reviewed her father’s policy and discovered a provision in the policy that allowed him to have surgery in the U.S., if there was an emergency. She showed contacted her father’s neurosurgeon in Houston, obtained documentation that the need for surgery was an emergency, and within 24 hours, her father was admitted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, for the surgery that saved Hellieth’s father from being paralyzed and extended his life.
Hellieth approached her father’s tragic situation with dedication and perseverance, and also with skill and analytical ability. These are traits Hellieth brings to all her clients. Hellieth believes she can make a real difference in people’s lives through hard work and close attention to details. This is her approach to everyone who comes to her for help. Hellieth brings this commitment to her work because that is an expression of who she is as a person. The best professional advice Hellieth ever received was, “Be true to yourself.” That ideal inspires Hellieth in her law practice.
In her free time, Hellieth loves going to the movies to watch all types of films. She has a 5-year-old Husky named Silas. She rides her motorcycle on Sunday mornings and loves spending time with family, grilling steaks – a skill she learned from her father.