How My Untraditional Path Brought Me (Back) to UPMC

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“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” — Tony Robbins

My name is Cristian Minor, and this is my UPMC story.

My career path to UPMC is not what most would call traditional. I was born and raised in Mexico and, until 2008, was an attorney there for the Mexican government. While practicing law in Mexico was very interesting work, for personal reasons, in 2008 I decided to relocate to the United States. So, in December of 2008, I made the 2,500 mile move from Puebla, Mexico, to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

As you might imagine, moving to America came with a culture shock. Learning a new language and adjusting to a new life in a new country was a challenge. But a few months after moving to Pittsburgh, I landed a job with UPMC Health Plan as a bilingual customer service representative. Although this position was not law related, I considered that the nature of the work was what I did as a lawyer, which is to advocate and help people in need. Being part of the UPMC team and getting to assist people in need was a good start to this new chapter of my life. I learned the UPMC Values and had a positive experience being part of a team that was full of champions of Dignity & Respect. However, I knew that my career goals were beyond my current role at that time; I knew I wanted to become an attorney in the United States.  

How I Became a Lawyer in Pittsburgh

Because of the difference in legal systems between Mexico and the United States, I could not practice law in America without attending law school here. But I had a goal; I would not let this barrier stop me. With my goal in mind and my perseverant spirit pushing me forward, I applied for a Master of Laws (LLM) program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Once I was accepted, I became a full-time student. I completed the program within one year and in that year realized that, though I was “done” with school, there was more to do. My professors and professional mentors in the area suggested that I didn’t stop with my LLM, but that I complete a juris doctorate program.  

I listened to their advice and applied for the juris doctorate program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. This program only has a 36% acceptance rate, but I got in! After graduating from Pitt (again!), I took the Pennsylvania Bar exam and was officially licensed to practice law in the United States.

Next stop: UPMC!

For the next few years, I practiced law in Pittsburgh. I worked in the oil and gas industry, and had my own private practice where I focused on different areas of law, including immigration, civil and family law. Though this chapter of my career was going well, my goal was to return to UPMC, the place where my career in America began. When a job opened up a few months ago with the employment and labor group in UPMC’s Legal Department, I decided it was time to see if I could make my goal a reality. Flash forward, and I’m now a few months into my new role as an attorney at UPMC!

My work is totally different from my days as a customer service rep with UPMC Health Plan, but so much has stayed the same, too. My co-workers are respectful and willing to give me a hand any time I need it and to help me to improve every day; that is what I saw in Member Services, and that is what I experience today. At this organization, there is an open-door policy, meaning that I can walk in, talk to the people I work with, ask questions, and have a chance to collaborate with others who are helping me set my goals into motion.

The values of UPMC continue to play out in my new role here. My team does work that embodies Excellence & Innovation, which I get to practice in my own work, too. In my own role, I aim to provide effective solutions to UPMC’s HR Department by giving legal advice based on UPMC’s core values.

Looking Back, Thinking Forward

It’s my goal to continue to be a champion of Dignity & Respect for employees, improving work and life conditions for anyone that works at UPMC. I am so excited about the impact I can make with this organization and our community, and I am looking forward to continuing to get to make an impact in the years ahead.

As I reflect on nearly a decade of living in Pittsburgh, I can say that living and working in Pittsburgh is something that I truly love. I may be biased, but I think Pittsburgh is one of the greatest cities in America. Here in this city, you can find people from all over the world who are the best in their fields, you can learn from them, and you can be a part of leading national and global conversations. The people are really the essence of the city, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

My family is proud of what I’m doing here in Pittsburgh, and I am, too. I’ve worked hard to get here, and I’m proud of the kind of work I get to do. When I first starting pursuing law in Mexico, I did so because it was a career that I saw a lot of potential in for me and that would allow me to help people. I love that through my work, I can contribute to change in many ways and have an impact on the people, places, and things around me.


Inspired by Cristian’s story? Explore dynamic careers with our team at careers.upmc.com

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