Jamilia Grier is a foreign legal consultant and data and privacy expert based in Singapore.
GZ: You have an interesting educational path that preceded your professional career, starting with an undergraduate major in economics, followed by a graduate degree in international economics, and then earning your JD. At what point did you decide that pursuing a law degree fit into your plans rather than a career in economics?
JG: I’ve always loved international relations and international economics. During grad school, I had aspirations of working at the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. However, upon realization of how much math was required of a doctorate in economics, I decided to pursue a law degree instead. Even with the switch to law, I knew I wanted to do something in the international arena.
GZ: While your education and early career years were spent in the US, it didn’t take long before your professional career took you outside the country. When and how did you become interested in living and working in another part of the world?
JG: During my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to teach English in China for a summer. It was that experience that left a lasting impression upon me and allowed me to realize how much I enjoyed immersing myself in a culture other than my own. I didn’t speak any Chinese at the beginning of the summer, but I finished with a strong desire to learn and understand not only a foreign language but how people and systems operate in another country. That summer was the beginning of my journey in Asia; it was a seed that was planted in my mind that whatever I did professionally had to involve China.
GZ: What, in particular, was it about Asia that captured your interest?