In honor of Pride Month, the SEC spotlights Jorge Tenreiro, an SEC Diversity Council member and former Co-Chair of the SEC’s Pride Alliance. Let’s learn more about Jorge’s story, his role as Enforcement Counsel to Chair Gary Gensler, and his insights on the celebration of Pride Month.
Q: You’ve had an accomplished legal career so far, which includes serving as Senior Trial Counsel in our New York Regional Office and being named one of the "Top 40 LGBT Lawyers Under 40" by the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. What was your inspiration to study law?
A: My father and my mother, both in their indirect ways. My father impressed upon me a heightened sense of justice, of wanting to do the right thing, of the virtue of following principles, and the importance of public service. My mother instilled in me the habit of reading and, along the way, I became a big fan of true crime and trial-related stories. I thought it would be very fun to stand up in court, make a presentation, set forth an argument, and try to convince people to do justice under law. My desire to give something back to society was my main motivation to study law. I continue to feel that, particularly in the United States, the law has a tremendous power to positively affect people’s lives. I feel like one way to combat injustice and strive towards a better society that fits within my own skill set is through the legal profession.
Q: At the SEC, we emphasize the importance of mentorship, sponsorship, and internships as conduits for creating personal and professional opportunities. Is there a person, experience or event that was pivotal to helping you get to where you are today?
A: If there was a single experience that was pivotal in helping me get to where I am today, it would probably have to be the SEC Honors Program. I was lucky enough to be an intern at the SEC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. after my first year of law school. I worked with staff attorneys who were mentors and who wrote me recommendation letters for many years. So, I would say that the SEC’s emphasis on internships as conduits for creating personal and professional opportunities had a tangible, beneficial impact on my own professional development. After that, I was lucky to have the mentorship of the two judges I clerked for, the Hon. Allyne Ross and the Hon. Julio Fuentes, from early on in my professional development. Their dedication to public service and to excellence in the law inspired me, and their support helped get me to where I am today. I also have benefited from the mentorship of various people I have worked with at the SEC. Those experiences have taught me that when seeking professional opportunities and development, be proactive about reaching out to people you work with to get career advice.
My advice is to work hard, and then work a little harder. Although it is unfortunate that members of minority groups still have to face questions about whether they belong or deserve to be in the professional positions they occupy, the best way to overcome such questions is to answer them with a resounding, 'Yes, I do!'
Enforcement Counsel to Chair Gary Gensler
Q: What unique perspectives do you bring to your role as Enforcement Counsel to Chair Gensler that you may draw upon to help enhance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), both internally at the agency and externally in the community that we serve?
A: Throughout my pro bono work when I was at a law firm and my participation in various Employee Affinity Groups at the SEC, I have taken steps to enhance DEI by providing legal services to members of under-represented communities, listening to the needs of such groups, and taking steps to make sure their voices are heard. My background has given me a unique perspective about the importance of developing a diverse group of professionals to deliver the best possible results for our client – in this case, the Commission. As a member of working groups at the SEC, I have made that perspective heard by advocating for the need to bring people from all walks of life into the Commission as a way of enhancing our already remarkable pool of talent. I firmly believe that assembling a work force of people with many different and unique perspectives is the best way to create a workplace that is respectful and uniquely positioned to deliver exceptional results.
Q: What barriers have you encountered on your career path, and what advice might you give to help others overcome similar barriers?
A: LGBTQ+ individuals, members of minority groups, and people who come from other countries still frequently experience a feeling of “otherness," and I have encountered that along the way. When I was in law school interviewing for clerkships, one judge asked me: “What does this ‘LGBT’ thing on your resume stand for?” My advice is to work hard, and then work a little harder. Although it is unfortunate that members of minority groups still have to face questions about whether they belong or deserve to be in the professional positions they occupy, the best way to overcome such questions is to answer them with a resounding, “Yes, I do.”
Q: What has been most rewarding in your previous roles as Co-Chair of the SEC’s Pride Alliance and the Pride Alliance's representative to the SEC’s Diversity Council?
A: Feeling like I was helping raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues at the Commission. In those roles, I put together social events. I hope that those activities sent a positive message of DEI to other Commission staff, particularly those within the LGBTQ+ community that may feel like their presence is not always acknowledged or understood, within or outside the building.
Q: What hobbies/interests do you enjoy outside of work?
A: I’m a diehard film fan. There’s no movie I won’t watch, and I even write about films when I have some spare time. I enjoy traveling and during the pandemic I discovered the joy of spending more time with my young nieces and nephews. My husband and I met at the gym and we still enjoy working out together. I also volunteer with LeGaL, the LGBTQ+ Bar Association of Greater New York.
Modified: June 13, 2022