Jamaica | External Affairs Director at Florida Power & Light Company (FPL)
“There is no right way to do a wrong thing.” Juliet’s father, Ramon Murphy
An attorney by trade, Jamaican-American Juliet Roulhac of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is the conduit between the behemoth organization and the South Florida community. In her position as external affairs director at the largest energy company in the United States, she acts as a liaison, managing relationships between officials, local organizations and the communities they serve to develop better strategies for FPL. Caribbean organizations aided by her efforts include the Caribbean Bar Association, Jamaican Women of Florida and Island SPACE Caribbean Museum — where FPL is the title sponsor for the Music Exhibit.
Juliet Roulhac was also the first woman of color gubernatorial appointee on the prestigious Board of Trustees at her alma mater, the University of Florida.
What inspired your interest to get involved with external affairs at the corporate level?
I wanted to volunteer in a way that helped make a difference in people’s lives. This desire to give back in a meaningful way came to me early in my career when I first practiced as a lawyer. So, I sought to build relationships and participate in organizations where I could network and give back. In my role as External Affairs Director at Florida Power & Light Company, I am empowered to work together with the communities we serve to help make them a better place to live, work and raise a family.
I’m able to identify organizations that FPL can support, collaborate and align with, to give back to our communities. Some of the organizations we’ve had the pleasure of supporting over the years include the Caribbean Bar Association, Jamaican Women of Florida and many Caribbean festivals.
What are some challenges you have faced and how have you overcome those?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve experienced is being authentically kind and sometimes, when I show up that way, it can be perceived as a weakness. For me to overcome this challenge, I had to find a balance. It was important for me to speak up in a way that showed I can be a leader and understand there are times when you have to be a risk taker. I discovered you can be authentically kind and be a leader, take the risks you need to obtain success. What at some point I may have considered a challenge is in fact a strength.
What is your greatest career strength?
I would say kindness is my biggest strength. It’s important to build people up. It’s important for me to build up my team and those I work with. Giving feedback is also important. It may be tough at times, but you need to share feedback and look for ways to do it in a positive way.
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to the next generation?
My piece of advice for future generations is to ask for what you want and make it work. It’s important that people not be shy whether it’s asking for a resource, a job opportunity – ask for what you want. Take situations head on and do the best with what you have.
What does the word “family” mean to you?
Family means everything to me. I am very much a family person and my family is not only immediate family. In Jamaica, your parents’ friends are your aunts and uncles. Family is all about love and support and everybody needs both.
What are you most grateful for in your life?
I am most grateful for my belief in God. I am grateful for being a Christian and I appreciate my blessings thanks to my faith. I believe God pulls and pushes me through.
Who was the most influential or inspiring person in your life and why?
Dorothy Pine-McClarty. She was one of my parents’ very best friends and the first female partner in the largest law firm on the island in Jamaica. Jamaica is a very patriarchal society, when I was a young girl, you didn’t see women in powerful positions. Dorothy was a unicorn!
What is your favorite Caribbean tradition?
The holidays! There are certain food traditions, especially over Christmas, that are very special like Jamaican pudding (cake with fruit and rum) and sorrel. It is a beautiful deep red color, a delicious Christmas drink! It definitely reminds me of the holidays and of home.
What was your upbringing like and how has that influenced who you are today?
I had a very strict upbringing and was raised with very strong family values, where faith was at the center of our lives. When I left for college, I was very protected and naïve to some extent, but I had a great foundation. Those values carried me into being successful in college – the work came first for me.
My father also always used to say you had to find at least one good thing about people. I can think back to the first time I had a conversation with a homeless woman. She had a very compelling story and I listened, intently, never looking down at her but rather listening as an equal. You find very often that people are looked over, dismissed. Everyone should be offered the opportunity.