Behind every statistic, there is a story to tell.

An initiative of the Women in Public Service Project, She is One is sharing the stories of the women behind the numbers. Join the conversation using #SheIsOne.

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In this episode, Chief Justice Cármen Lúcia of Brazil talks about the ideals that drive her as a woman leader in the judiciary. Lúcia is one of only two women to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Brazil and has presided over some of the country’s most decisive cases.

Chief Justice Cármen Lúcia is driven by internal motivation. As one of the first women to preside over the Supreme Court of Brazil, she has worked tirelessly to pave the way for future women leaders in the country’s judiciary system. Nominated to the court in 2006, she also served as Chief Justice of the Superior Electoral Court, and before her appointment she served as a state prosecutor and professor of constitutional law.

Lúcia chooses not to dwell on her path to leadership. Rather, she says, persistence moving forward is key to overcoming barriers for herself and future leaders. “For some, [these barriers] are discouraging,” she notes, “not for me – I see this as a challenge.”

She describes herself as action-oriented, preferring to do rather than think when it comes to challenges from logistical complications to critical issues such as bribery and corruption: “instead of getting tired or discouraged, I am encouraged by all of these situations, looking at them as challenges and preparing the way for whoever will come after me.”

Lúcia attributes much of her success to her mother. “She believed that every human being should be independent … when you are independent, you are a free person.” It is this philosophy that encouraged Lúcia and her six siblings to challenge their abilities and pursue greater goals. Most important, says Lúcia, is pursuing your own happiness: “I’ve always learned to fight to be happy,” Lúcia explains, “that is where persistence comes from.”

As a leader in the legal field, Lúcia has encountered some of the greatest challenges and events facing society in Brazil and around the world. She emphasizes the importance of rest – but not giving up. Her advice to aspiring leaders is to never lose sight of the end goal: “whether your aim is to help others or improve yourself, you have to have targets. You have to have aims.”