Title: Senior director, employee relations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Education: B.A. Sociology and Latin American Studies, Boston College, 2005; J.D. Law Boston College Law School, 2008
Fun fact: She’s run the Boston Marathon twice
Arivee Vargas Rozier-Byrd always knew she wanted to be an attorney, but after a few years spent in that field, she’s found fulfillment in human resources and more recently, as a life and career coach with a weekly podcast.
After law school, Vargas Rozier-Byrd spent a few years as an associate in litigation practice. But when the opportunity to clerk for Judge Denise Casper in the federal court of Massachusetts came up, she couldn’t say no. Judge Casper is the first Black female judge to serve on the federal bench in Massachusetts. She’d go on to clerk for Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, the first Black female judge on the first circuit.
“I love those legacies and that I helped them create them,” she said. “I learned a lot. Both of those clerkships really honed my writing research, judgment and those skills that made me a much better attorney.”
From there, she joined Jones Day as a business and tort associate, an experience she enjoyed, but with the arrival of her first child came the revelation that, as she put it, “I was in my zone of excellence but not my zone of genius.” After some soul-searching during her maternity leave, she decided to pursue a role in human resources at Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and hasn’t looked back since.
“I like to find ways to contribute in the way that I uniquely contribute best,” she said. “And I feel like I’m able to do that and bring a different perspective and I’ve really enjoyed doing that and seeing how we can continue to do that in this role moving forward.”
Still, she felt like she had something more to contribute. As the daughter of hard-working immigrants, she learned to work hard at an early age. She navigated the challenges of her background and society in order to become a successful professional and she wanted to help other women do the same. So in 2019, she got certified as a life coach and opened her own practice. She even produces a weekly podcast, Humble Rising.
“My purpose in life is to help people and to connect with people and to serve people,” she said. “I love the fact that I have a full time job for an incredible company doing amazing things. And I also get to coach incredible, high-achieving women who just need a little bit more support through coaching, and I love doing that.
The high-achieving women of color she interviews on her podcast serve as weekly guest lecturers for her coaching practice. Each one of them has their own story of how they achieved success and highlights the pillars of success through their own unique lenses.
“My number one and my number two strengths and areas of passion are: lifelong learner and teacher. And that’s literally what I love to do,” she said “That can be coaching. That can be podcasting or my full-time job. And it looks different in each area. I’m at a place where all I want to do is help and contribute in my own unique way.”