Georgeanna Bien-Aime (JD '16) at the University of Cincinnati College of Law

Local Roots, Experiences Abroad

How Georgeanna Bien-Aime found professional success with a global giant

Georgeanna Bien-Aime (JD, ‘16) had all but abandoned the idea of becoming a lawyer. Though her plan was to attend law school in Chicago after earning her undergraduate degree in Business Management from Northern Kentucky University (NKU), the realities of out-of-state tuition left her rattled. So instead of moving to the Windy City and earning her JD as she had always dreamed, she began the quest for an alternate career path.

At first, she pursued the healthcare field but soon discovered she did not have the hands-on skillset it required. Later she landed a job in marketing, but the workload felt tedious and uninspiring. Around this time, Georgeanna received an invitation to live with her cousin in Ghana. She eagerly accepted.

While in West Africa, she divided her time between offering her skills to human service organizations and taking time off to reflect on her life’s direction. 

“It was a bit of a soul-searching trip,” she said.

Traveling the world had always been on Georgeanna’s bucket list. Raised in the Cincinnati suburbs, the daughter of a Haitian immigrant and a Midwesterner, Georgeanna often felt her home life and hometown life were two distinct worlds. Early on, she recognized a deep yearning for rich multicultural experiences and perspectives and decided she would need to venture beyond Ohio to find them. What she hadn’t realized as a child growing up in Cincinnati was that, ironically, her hometown would one day become a launchpad to the rest of the world.

“I have a different cultural understanding and appreciation because I grew up in a house with an immigrant,” she said. “From a social and personal standpoint, I've always had an interest in learning about other cultures. It feels very good and empowering to me to see how different cultures live.”

No stranger to international travel, Georgeanna had previously visited Mexico for a spring break short-course and backpacked across Europe with a friend while still in undergrad. Her trip to Ghana was part of a clear pattern emerging in her life, and ultimately revealed her biggest hope for the future: to become a world traveler. 

Georgeanna Bien-Aime

Returning to the States with no immediate opportunities awaiting, life fell back into place almost as if she had never left. Nostalgic for travel, she kept herself open to new possibilities. 

Then came the call from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law. 

The Admissions Department had noted her interest in law school from the year prior and wanted to know if she would still be interested in applying. Not one to meticulously plan out her future, Georgeanna accepted the offer almost impulsively.

"It was a little random,” she said about enrolling in Cincinnati Law. “I don't always have a plan; things just fall into place.”  Her UC Law journey was one of those things.  

As a first-generation law student, adjusting to law school took time. In hindsight, she said she wished she had prepared herself more for the process of law school. 

“I felt isolated, to no fault of the law school,” she said. “When I sought help, I got it." 

When I sought help, I got it.

"Cincinnati Law was instrumental in helping me get (the Kroger) placement, which ultimately helped me find (my) career."

- Georgeanna Bien-Aime, JD ‘16

Georgeanna Bien-Aime

While in this rut, she searched for mentors. Cincinnati Law’s mentorship program connected her to Susan Grogan-Faller, a now retired member from Frost Brown Todd.

“When we first met, Susan asked how my first year of law school was going. ‘Terrible,’ I told her,” Georgeanna said. “Women faculty and some upper-level women were also helpful in getting me invigorated. I still talk to Susan to this day.”

She also connected with Kenya Faulkner, then general counsel for the University. A simple coffee with Faulkner led to her first clerkship with a judge.

Along with taking courses in international law, it was through these practical experiences, such as clerking for the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, or participating in Cincinnati Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic, and engaging in an exchange program in Chongqing, China, that Georgeanna ultimately discovered how to fuse her interest in cultural diversity with her legal career. 

“Going to Chongqing was the biggest international experience I had while at UC,” she said. “It was an immersive learning experience; we learned a lot during that time.” 

Ultimately, the practical experience that made the biggest impact on Georgeanna happened to be an externship in the Ethics and Compliance Department at Kroger. With her background in business management, she was drawn toward corporate law, and compliance was an entirely new career to her. 

“I found out that I like compliance; it’s not a traditional legal role where you're representing the company, you’re more like a business partner,” she said. “Cincinnati Law was instrumental in helping me get that placement, which ultimately helped me find the career I’m in today.”

Valerie Garcia

Today, Georgeanna works as a Compliance Manager at the international energy and cable solutions company, Prysmian Group. There, she manages and conducts compliance audits, whistleblower investigations, and conflicts of interest for one of the company’s largest regions, North America. Finding a role at Prysmian Group ticked a lot of boxes for Georgeanna. Though her office is in Cincinnati, the company is headquartered in Italy, boasts a multinational team of employees, allows for frequent work trips, and offers opportunities to advance.

“One of the biggest draws to Prysmian Group was that I wanted an organization with built-in diversity, and you get that working for a multinational company,” she said.  “And the career laddering in compliance is longer and more diverse; there are so many things I could go on to do.”

Her role at Prysmian Group is dynamic, allowing her to impact the organization on multiple fronts. She has served as the DEI Global Deputy, Program Manager for the Sustainability Committee, and is managing an intern program, much like the one she experienced as a law student. 

Georgeanna Bien-Aime

“My externship experience at Kroger was invaluable,” she said. "The idea that I’m able to potentially shape or help someone’s law school experience be that much more valuable feels nice.”

Taking frequent work trips to Canada, Italy, and across the US, Georgeanna is not only a compliance manager, but she has also become the world traveler she hoped she could be.

“I balance my need to explore the world personally by traveling for work,” she said. 

In retrospect, despite its uncertainty at times, following an intuitive path based on her personal interests instead of abiding by a stringent career plan might have been the best way forward for Georgeanna.

“You don’t have to have it all figured out,” Georgeanna said. “You can go with the flow and still be intentional. That’s the best way I can describe my life and the best advice I can provide anyone else.”

Want to learn more about our students and their journey to (and through) law school? Read more stories on the "Meet Our Students" page. See yourself at Cincinnati Law!   

Author: Bachmeyer Press

Photographer: Asa Featherstone IV

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