2018 Forty Under 40: Kiamesha-Sylvia G. Colom

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Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP

Age: 37

Birthplace/hometown: Bronx, New York

Family: husband, Joseph; children, Ysabella, 6; and Seraphina, 3

Education: bachelor’s from Manhattanville College with a dual major in psychology and political science, master’s in education from Mercy College, law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law 

Years with firm: 6

Getting here: With a New York City police officer for a mom, Colom knew she’d go to law school. But she first took a job at Teach for America in New York, where she learned skills that have come in handy as a lawyer: learning to “be organized and think on your toes … being able to adjust and adapt.” Frustrated with the bureaucracy in teaching (she was reprimanded for teaching from The New York Times instead of approved textbooks), she accepted an IU recruiter’s offer to waive the law school application fee and landed in Indianapolis. She summered at Barnes & Thornburg, where she worked after graduation, followed by a stint at Coleman Stevenson & Montel, where she shifted focus to transactional law. 

Transitional moments: The births of her daughters. “Children don’t care about your job. They don’t care if you’re sick. They just want you to be there. Being a mother has brought me focus and bolstered my drive to succeed. I want them to be inspired by me.”  

Major achievements: Making partner the first year she was eligible. “It was following a year that was particularly grueling due to a difficult pregnancy and a maternity leave that left me caring for my newborn daughter while working on client matters that only I could handle.” 

Givebacks: Colom has served on the finance and individual gifts committees of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra board as well as on the board of La Plaza (where she is chairwoman) and The Milk Bank. She also volunteers at The Holy Family Homeless Shelter and was on the pro bono executive steering committee of the Indianapolis Bar Association. Her community involvement also includes co-leading a Girl Scout troop, serving on the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, as committee chairwoman for IndyCREW, and working on the governance committee for the Indy Chamber—Hispanic Business Council. “Gandhi’s quote ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’ is important to me,” she said.•

Check out more 2018 Forty Under 40 honorees.

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