Keri Ayorinde, Esq.
Assistant General Counsel
the Interpublic Group of Companies
New York, N.Y.
Keji Ayorinde has never shied away from a challenge or hard work. When her college adviser tried to make her abandon her plan to complete undergraduate studies in three years, suggesting a less “ambitious” road, “I took that ‘suggestion’ and worked hard to meet my goals — not to prove him wrong, but to prove to myself that you can be successful if you plan and work hard, even when the road seems challenging,” recalls Ayorinde, assistant general counsel at marketing giant The Interpublic Group of Cos. “The discussion showed the impact words can have, which helps me to be a better mentor to others,” she says.
Born in Nigeria, Ayorinde obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminology at the College of New Jersey and a law degree at Pace Law School. As a law firm summer associate, she helped to research the labor policies of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. President Obama later delivered a speech at the firm, reinforcing values she learned from her parents — determination, hard work and a positive attitude. “He encouraged all of us to strive for our goals and be the best we can for ourselves and others, no matter what we perceive as challenges that may lie ahead,” Ayorinde explains. “I often reflect and rely on his words as a source of inspiration and encouragement, especially when facing day-to-day challenges.”
At Interpublic, Ayorinde advises on workplace issues requiring her to strike a balance between what usually is “black and white” under the law, and human emotions with their many shades of grey. “Doing so is challenging,” she concedes, “but one of the most rewarding parts of my job is when I can manage a sensitive situation to a point where both parties walk away satisfied with the final resolution.” Ayorinde volunteers with The Fairy Godsister, a nonprofit that supports high-potential young women and girls.