Currently, Regina is the CEO & Chairperson of Regina T. Montoya, PLLC. She is writing a book about the importance of incorporating Latinos into the economic, political and social fabric of America, and she is a frequent national public speaker.
Regina Montoya was born in the small town of Tucumcari, New Mexico. Her grandparents were immigrants from Mexico and came to the US with only third-grade educations. Regina and her parents lived with her Spanish-speaking family members, and Regina’s first language was Spanish.
Regina was accepted to Wellesley College, just outside of Boston. She was one of two Mexican-American young women in her class. Twenty years after her graduation from Wellesley, she served as a member of the Board of Trustees, and after serving eighteen years on the Board, she was named a Trustee Emeriti, the first and only Latina to serve in that capacity.
While at Wellesley, she began her volunteer experiences. The summer after her first year, she interned at Children’s Medical Center. Three decades later, Regina returned as its General Counsel. During her junior year at Wellesley, she volunteered at Boston Legal Aid and helped translate for Spanish-speaking clients.
After that experience, Regina decided to become a lawyer, and she attended Harvard Law School. She was one of the first Mexican-American women to attend Harvard Law. After graduation, she clerked for Judge Sarah T. Hughes, the second woman Federal District Judge. From Judge Hughes, she learned how important it was for her to give back and to serve as a role model for others.
After clerking for Judge Hughes, Regina joined Akin, Gump, Strauss Hauer and Feld and was the first Latina to be named Partner in a major law firm in Dallas. While at Akin, Gump, she resumed her volunteer activities. She served on numerous boards, including the national Board of Girls Inc., the Harvard Alumni Association (Elected Director), Wellesley College, Child Care Dallas, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Zoological Society, the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Overseers’ Committee to Visit Harvard Law School, and many others.
While at Akin, Gump, Regina also embarked on an award-winning career in television. She served as a panelist on Between the Lines and On the Record, KERA-TV (PBS), was the host of Nuestro Dia, WFAA-TV (ABC-TV), and was a Political Analyst, KDFW-TV (Fox-TV). For her work on Between the Lines, she and her co-panelists were awarded a Texas Katie Award from the Press Club of Dallas (Major Market Television Interview/Talk Show).
Regina was then asked to chair the Legislative Section of another Dallas-based law firm, Godwin & Carlton. While heading the section and practicing full-time, maintaining a very busy schedule as a volunteer with many nonprofits, and raising her daughter, Regina and her husband, Paul Coggins, became very engaged with the Presidential campaign of Bill Clinton.
President Clinton asked Regina to serve his administration as an Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. She was the highest-ranking Hispanic in the White House. Regina returned to Dallas to rejoin her husband who had been named the US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas and their 7-year-old daughter.
Regina spent the next several years focusing on corporate board activities, various media engagements, and consulting. In 1998, President Clinton asked her to serve as a U.S. Representative to the 53rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. She delivered numerous speeches on behalf of the United States.
Regina ran for Congress in 2000, one of the first Latinas to run for Congress in Texas. Although she was unsuccessful in this bid, Regina paved the way for other women to run for office. She raised $1.65 million, and she became a mentor and advisor to many other women who ran for office.
Over the last several years, Regina’s unique experiences have been tapped by many to shape and influence public policy. For example, the former Mayor of Dallas asked her to chair his Task Force on Poverty. She was recruited by national Latino leaders serve as the chief executive officer of the New America Alliance, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the economic advancement of the American Latino community.
For her outstanding work as an attorney, Regina has received many recognitions, which are included in the biography attached to this nomination. Two of which have particular significance are the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Minority Counsel Program of the State Bar of Texas and the Latina Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association. Regina has received numerous awards for her corporate, philanthropic and nonprofit accomplishments. Several are included in her biography attached to this nomination.
In 2019 I was honored to be named to the steering committee for the DNC Women's Leadership Forum.