“When I was five years old, a big snowstorm hit the east coast. Our bus got delayed because of the snow, and my mom and I got to the shelter after hours. They wouldn’t let us in because of strict curfew rules,” says Luiggy Segura ’12. “We ended up sleeping on a park bench in the middle of a snowstorm.”
Today, Segura is Vice President of Operations at JND Legal Administration, overseeing securities class action administration and Securities and Exchange Commission matters. He's also earning an MA in Corporate Compliance and Risk Assessment at Fordham Law. He says his education transformed his life. “Because of John Jay, I’ve been able to establish the fundamentals in my life, elevate my family’s circumstances, and gain the knowledge I need to work toward my career goals.”
“As soon as I came to John Jay, my eyes were opened to opportunities I had not been exposed to for the first 18 years of my life.” —Luiggy Segura ’12
What was life like for you growing up in Queens, New York?
My mother is from Ecuador and my stepfather was also an immigrant. I come from a very poor background and I never really had a steady home. I was a good student, but I only had one outfit for school all the way through the third grade.
When I went to middle school, I started to see a lot of violence. There were fights, physical altercations, stabbings, and guns in the school. At first, high school was better, but then they shut down some other schools in the neighborhood and my high school changed. It became overpopulated and violent. I had plenty of knives pulled out on me. I was shot at and stabbed once. It was really a rough time in my life.
“When I graduated from John Jay, I became the first person in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree.” —Luiggy Segura ’12
What was it like once you got to John Jay?
As soon as I came to John Jay, my eyes were opened to opportunities I had not been exposed to for the first 18 years of my life. At the time, I was working the overnight shift at McDonald’s and clocking in hours as a legal assistant for a family court lawyer in Queens. I’d be at school from morning through the afternoon. In the evening, I’d head over to the Queen’s family court. Then I’d have dinner and do my overnight shift at McDonald’s. A lot of my sleeping and studying was done on the train to school.
While I was at school, I tried to take in everything I could—meeting lawyers, high-ranking NYPD officers, and federal agents. What kept me going was seeing other kids like me—coming from low-income housing—really dedicating themselves to their studies and futures. When I graduated from John Jay, I became the first person in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree.
How did you end up at JND Legal Administration?
I wanted to get a 9-to-5 job and stop working at McDonald’s, so I took a temp position at an organization where the founders of JND happened to be a part of the executive team. My first job there was printing and sending out checks, but that wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. I started walking around the office and asking if people in other departments needed help. If they didn’t need help, I asked if I could learn what they did. This cross-training helped me get hired in the operations department. I got promoted almost every year. The real turning point for me came when the executive team left to start their own company. I reached out to one of the founders, Neil Zola, and after we talked, he asked me if I was interested in being a part of JND. Since then, Neil has been a strong mentor for me throughout my career.
What would you say to your younger self?
A strong work ethic is everything. Don’t give up on those dreams, they’re going to come to fruition.