From trailblazing attorney to community advocate: Juliet Roulhac's inspiring story
January 22, 2024
An image of Juliet Roulhac shaking hands with a STEM school makeover recipient.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - From an early age, Juliet Roulhac understood the power of a diverse community and leadership. She reaped the benefits of community growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, where neighbors knew each other by name and family wasn’t limited by bloodlines or income.

“There was a sense of belonging,” Roulhac said with a smile. It was a feeling she carried wherever she went, whether it was moving to South Florida at 15 years old, where she would become a highly respected attorney, or at Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), where she started as a senior attorney in the General Counsel business unit but is now a conduit between the organization and its statewide community.

As FPL’s director of external affairs for the Broward and Southwest Florida regions and the director of corporate philanthropy for NextEra Energy, Inc., she helps connect the nation’s largest energy company with its neighbors, community officials and local organizations through volunteer work and board service. This approach is not foreign to her since volunteering is at the foundation of her mission for a brighter, inclusive future where everyone has a fair chance to succeed.

Recently, Roulhac supported a volunteer day benefiting YMCA of South Florida’s community center in Fort Lauderdale. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she and a group of volunteers helped paint park libraries and donated books for the community to enjoy.

Juliet Roulhac speaks to students at a Broward County elementary school

Apart from volunteering, one of her goals is to help diversify leadership in organizations, such as the American Heart Association (AHA). According to the AHA, Black Americans have the highest incidence of cardiac arrest outside of the hospital and are significantly less likely to survive.

“There’s disparity for Blacks and women when it comes to heart attacks,” Roulhac said. “Women in particular, since we present very differently from men. Yet, the symptoms we talk about are male-focused.”

Roulhac served as the 2023 campaign chair for the AHA’s Go Red for Women movement aimed at increasing cardiac health awareness and serving as a catalyst for change.

“When I’m asked to move into a leadership role, I see it as an opportunity to open that door for others,” she said. “Whether it’s because I’m a woman, Black or both, I don’t turn down the opportunity because of the bigger picture. I’m making a concerted effort to create a pipeline.”

Throughout her career, she’s created various pipelines for women and African Americans. After graduating from the University of Florida with two degrees: a bachelor’s and a juris doctor from the College of Law, Roulhac made history as the first Black woman gubernatorial appointee on the prestigious Board of Trustees at her alma mater. She also served on the statewide Florida Bar Board of Governors and was the first Black president of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division.

“I feel very proud and don’t take it lightly,” Roulhac said about her ground-breaking achievements. “One of the things my mentor instilled in me was that sometimes you do these things for yourself, but most of the time, you do it for others behind you.”

Roulhac strives to pass the baton by mentoring the next generation of diverse professionals. Some of her most impressive mentees include Iris Elijah, a young attorney who followed Roulhac’s footsteps and became the second Black female president of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division.

Another is Jasmine Etienne, a lead communication strategist for FPL Energy Services.

“Juliet is always thinking about programs I can be a part of that will benefit me and my growth. The last conference I went to was thanks to her,” Etienne said. “It’s amazing to have someone invest in you in that way and to constantly think of opportunities for you.”

It’s a feeling Roulhac understands well. Her own mentor, Dorothy Pine-McClarty, was Roulhac’s biggest cheerleader, arming her with the confidence she needed to excel.

She is a close family friend, a female lawyer, who saw Roulhac’s potential from a young age. She visited on the weekends often, showing Roulhac what success and leadership looked like from the age of seven.

Pine-McClarty is also a trailblazer in her own right. In the ‘70s, she was the first female partner in the largest law firm on the island of Jamaica, an immense achievement during a time of peak patriarchy, Roulhac said.

“She would speak to me about what this meant for her and other women, and the fact that times were changing,” Roulhac said. “For me, it’s important to see diverse, accomplished leaders. It’s motivating to realize you too can be a part of it and prosper.”