Advocate Rachel Mendivel
Not only are all our advocates trauma-informed, but every single one is deeply passionate for our mission to empower survivors and protect kids. We hope this mini-interview gives a small window into some of the talented, empathetic and driven advocates that work at our firm.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background before coming to Jeff Anderson & Associates?
Rachel: I was a crime victims’ advocate for 11 years for Riverside County and Marin County in California. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Behavioral Health. Later on, I got my Master’s in Business Administration.
What made you interested in victim advocacy?
Rachel: I was recruited. A good friend at church told me about an opening they thought I’d be a good fit for at Riverside County. I took a position there as a crime victims’ advocate and started to become very passionate about helping survivors. Due to my communications degree, I originally wanted to get paid to talk, do public speaking and make connections with people. It wasn’t until I started working with survivors that I realized I could use my passion for connections and relationships to help others through their trauma.
What was it like working with survivors in the criminal justice system?
Rachel: I helped them through the criminal justice system, which was kind of grueling. I was starting to get burnt out because with sexual assault cases, we hardly ever filed rape charges. We would have these conversations with survivors, but not be able to do anything about it. In criminal cases, survivors don’t have much say in their cases, which is why I got into civil litigation. In the civil legal world, it’s nice to see how much more of a voice survivors have – they can feel empowered.
Why did you apply to work at Jeff Anderson & Associates?
Rachel: I saw the documentary ‘Spotlight’ a few years prior and when I saw the job opening, it was like a dream job for me. To this day, I’m so glad I applied. It is very rewarding to help survivors seek justice and work for an organization where everyone is committed to the cause.
What is your favorite thing about working with survivors ?
Rachel: I enjoy giving back and serving other people. I also enjoy providing a safe space for people to express themselves in a comfortable way. I like being able to help people and being part of a cause. I look forward to this job every morning. Working with survivors lights me up. In my previous role, I once worked closely with the family of a murder victim. Inspired by the victim and the strength of the family, I wrote a song for National Crime Victims Rights Week and performed it at a candle-light vigil; I also got the honor to perform the song at the victim’s memorial service. Moments like that, where I feel like I’m making a positive impact on victims or their families, is why I do what I do.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Rachel: I was in a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. Not just any Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, the best Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. ***Rachel laughs. The name of the band was Southbound and Company and I was a back-up singer. The band got to perform at the legendary Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles – it was a great memory.
When I have free time, I also like to learn Arabic – I always thought it was a beautiful language. When I was younger I was obsessed with the ‘X Files’ show and I wanted to join the FBI. I thought learning Arabic would be a fast ticket. Currently, I’m at a third-grade reading level, but I’ve sort of put this hobby on hold as I’m considering going back to school to get a paralegal certificate.
What is something you do to help alleviate anxiety or stress?
Rachel: I do a few things depending on how tired I am. I like to go for a long walk with my dog, jog or run, and workout. I like to get lost in TV, dark shows or reality shows. And spending time with family. My family and animals [two cats and a dog] and good friendships really help.
What is the last book you read & the last show you watched?
Rachel: I’m currently reading ‘The Book of Two Ways’ by Jodi Picoult. I’m watching ‘Yellow Jackets’ on Showtime.