Member Spotlight 10-30-2013: Sofia Adrogué

Sofia Adrogué

Looper Reed & McGraw, P.C.



Sofia is a Member (Partner) of Looper, Reed & McGraw, P.C.  She is a Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation “International Award Recipient”; a “Mujer Empresaria del Año” (Executive Women of the Year), Sucesos Newspaper & Solo Mujeres Magazine; a “Woman of Influence,” National Council of Jewish Women Greater Houston Section; a “Texas Super Lawyer,” Texas Monthly Magazine; a Texas’ Lawyers Top “40 Under 40”; a National Diversity Council “Most Powerful and Influential Woman of Texas”; a “TBOY Blazing Star,” Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce; a Greater Houston Women’s Chamber Hall of Fame Inductee; a Texas Executive Women “Woman on the Move”; a Houston  Chronicle Channel 11 “Texas Legend”; a Houston Jaycees “Outstanding Houstonian”; a Texas Jaycees “Outstanding Texan” and a U.S. Jaycees “Outstanding Young American.”

AV Preeminent ®Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell and a Who’s Who in America, American Law, and American Women, she is a frequent CLE Speaker and/or Chair (over 110 speeches) and publisher (over 100 articles).  An alumna of the Harvard Business School OPM, she served as the U.S. Keynote Graduation Speaker for HBS OPM 37, ostensibly the first woman, as well as U.S. Class Representative.  She is a graduate of Rice University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and the University of Houston Law Center, magna cum laude, on full academic scholarships.  Sofia is a Member of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee.

Sofia serves and/or has served on the Board of Directors of the American Leadership Forum Houston; Girls Incorporated of Greater Houston (former President and Board Chair); the Houston Law Review Alumni Association (former President); Memorial Hermann Foundation; RICE-TMS; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Theatre Under The Stars; and the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast.  

A native of Argentina, Sofia is a Co-Host & Co-Producer of Latina Voices: Smart Talk.  The mother of Sloane (17), Schuyler (13), and Stefan (10), married to fellow Rice graduate, Sten Gustafson, Sofia has been recognized for her public service by the City of Houston with a proclamation of July 10, 2004 as “Sofia Adrogué Day.”

Member Spotlight Q&A

1. What advice would you give to young Hispanic lawyers?

Never forget who you are, and where you come from, and find your passion. Then pursue it with preparation, perspiration, persistence, and panache.  With some luck, you may also experience power—use it sparingly, wisely, and always with integrity.  

2. What are some of the challenging issues and commensurate opportunities Hispanics are facing in our workforce?

According to a New York Times article, “the worst recession in a generation” looked “deep and broad” with Hispanics being some of the greatest casualties of the recession.  Clearly, the United States is the land of opportunity where meritocracy and egalitarianism flourish.  During this time of economic uncertainty, if feasible, Hispanics should continue to focus on intellect building, skills training, mentoring/sponsoring as well as networking opportunities.  Perception is often reality.  Proactive, diverse (broadly defined) people are perceived to be vibrant, growing, well-managed and doing better than others.  As experts articulate, business and power go hand in hand. Ideally, you have someone to mentor and sponsor you, in essence, to promote and share opportunities with you. The business must come first. Otherwise, obtaining real power is difficult at best. 

Minorities have remained underrepresented in the legal profession in Texas and across the nation. Although there are almost 83,000 in-state attorneys in Texas, only approximately 6,600 are Hispanic. That said, as Juana Bordas, author of  The Power of Latino Leadership, has stated, in 2030, “Hispanics will be one-third of our nation’s people—certainly a critical mass that can influence the twenty-first century.”  Ideally, we can experience formidable momentum in the arena of law. 

I have been historically one of the few Hispanic female professionals in my law school, and, subsequently, in my workplace (law firm).  However, we are seeing a more inclusive and diverse legal community; this is of reciprocal benefit.  

I am privileged and proud to be a Hispanic lawyer in Texas and, having been armed with my credentials, have had a litany of positive opportunities.  I believe that being a Hispanic lawyer in Texas does create a position of differentiation and “uniqueness” where, with competitive and commensurate credentials (all else being equal), it may be an added “plus.” 

3. Why did you choose your career path?

The United States is the land of opportunity where meritocracy and egalitarianism flourish.  In the U.S., education is the great equalizer; I am such a product. Clearly, in my family, a post-graduate education was merely a rite of passage.  All five of my parents’ children are either doctors or lawyers.  As a lawyer, I can serve as an advocate, as a facilitator, and as a conciliator, resolving a litany of issues, from the simplest to the most complex. Being a lawyer has been most fulfilling.

4. What is your life motto and base of support?

My story is a story of intense work, passion and, truly, a little luck. A few quotations articulate well my personal “mantra” and “secret to success.”    For me, “Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design.” “We all have two choices:  we can make a living or we can design a life.” Thus, “Carpe Diem” and “Shake it up!”  At the end, I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live.  Find and pursue your triad of passions—for me, they are my profession, my community and my family.  It is a perennial quagmire to balance them; indeed, it is a “balance” in quotation marks.

My nuclear family, commencing with my father, Dr. Horacio J. Adrogué, a Tenured Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, together with my mother, Sara Adrogué, immigrated with 5 young children and 14 suitcases in pursuit of the American dream. The value of education, labor, faith, humility, and attitude are their indelible marks. They first taught me about “summit climbing.”   Today, my nuclear family, my husband, Sten Gustafson, my two daughters, Sloane and Schuyler, and my son, Stefan, have provided me the base from which to climb successfully and, ideally, one day, reach the summit.   

5. What are the advantages of being Hispanic in the business world today?

In this increasingly “Flat World,” my native Spanish-speaking capabilities enable me to transcend borders, cultures and time zones.  This provides an international component to my legal services with my business consultation and litigation spanning the country and sometimes the globe, particularly in Latin and South America.

6. How is the economy affecting you or your business and/or what are you doing to confront the past or future downturn?

As a Member (Partner) of Looper Reed & McGraw, P.C., I handle business litigation and consultation, utilizing, if appropriate and feasible, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to solve conflicts. The breadth of my practice coupled with my graduation from the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management Program as well as my continued professional and community involvement, through publications, presentations and Board participation, provide a diverse, entrepreneurial platform critical during times of economic stagnation.   As we all face economic contraction, I adhere to what others have noted—that our legal profession stands at a crossroads of opportunity and I am prepared for the challenge and hopeful of commensurate success. 

7.  Tell me about LATINA VOICES: SMART TALK.

In late 2008, I was recruited by award-winning newswoman Minerva Pérez to appear as a Co-Host and Co-Producer on LATINA VOICES: SMART TALK. This innovative, first of its kind, TV and internet streamed talk show airs on HoustonPBS CH. 8; KHOU CH. 11; and HTV/COMCAST CABLE CH. 16 and is also showing or has been shown in other cities in Texas, including Beaumont, Harlingen/McAllen and Victoria. 

As Co-Host & Co-Producer of LATINA VOICES: SMART TALK, I address business, current affairs, and women’s issues, and seek to empower, educate, engage and enlighten our diverse community. With appeal to a mainstream audience, it targets the multi-generational, educated bilingual Hispanic professionals in the U.S and serves as an English language source of information. Our guests, over 100 to date, have been a diverse group of game-changing individuals, including among others, as follows:  four Olympic medal winners (The Lopez Family & Marlen Esparza); a former U.S. Attorney General (Hon. Al Gonzales); a current U.S. Supreme Court Justice (Sonia Sotomayor); and a feminist  icon (Gloria Steinem).  

Our goal is to provide substantive, topical, intellectual, and social smart talk. We address universal topics of interest to all of us—Hispanic, Latino, Asian, African-American, Caucasian or other. Ideally, we hope we can transcend borders, cultures and time zones with our diverse national and international perspective.

We serve as a paradigm of our nation’s burgeoning diversity. Our city, our state, and our nation are becoming more heterogeneous. We, like others, are bullish on Houston, Texas, and our country as we empower all members of a multiethnic society. In turn, we all win. Corporate America knows that diversity is good business. To that end, we believe LATINA VOICES: SMART TALK is good business.