Professional Spotlight on My Student Loan Counselor founder Natalie Jean-Baptiste
Each week the NAAHP highlights individuals who are making a difference in their communities as well as the business world. Natalie Jean-Baptiste is an attorney and an expert on bankruptcy and student loan law. She started her own student loan counseling service, My Student Loan Counselor, to help others facing student loan related financial problems.
After filing her own Chapter 7 Petition and adversary proceeding to have her student loan debt discharged in bankruptcy, Natalie Jean-Baptiste developed a passion for helping other student loan borrowers deal with legal and financial issues. With student loan debt in America topping $1.2 trillion and many of those loans in default, Natalie realizes that student loan debtors could use some help finding solutions so she started her own practice and founded a student loan counseling service to assist borrowers in getting a handle on their student loan debt.
Learn more about Natalie and My Student Loan Counselor at mystudentloancounselor.com.
10 Questions for Natalie Jean-Baptiste
Dominique Elkind, NAAHP: Tell us a bit about your personal background.
Natalie Jean-Baptiste: I am a health and freedom enthusiast. I think outside the box and embrace life to the fullest. I am an attorney, speaker, and financial wellness advocate. I worked for several years as a music industry attorney but I struggled to pay my student loans. I successfully rid myself of six figures of student loan debt through the bankruptcy process. I now have my own practice dedicated to liberating people from the burden of debt and getting them on the road to financial freedom.
NAAHP: What is your vision for My Student Loan Counselor and how did you come up with the concept?
NJB: My vision for My Student Loan Counselor is to be a resource of empowerment for young professionals, providing them with the information and tools they need to manage and eliminate debt so that they can have the freedom and peace of mind to live a life they love. I came up with the concept after my own struggles with student loan debt. I want to be for others what I needed when I was in their position.
NAAHP: Who or what inspired you to become an attorney?
NJB: I grew up watching Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show and I remember thinking as a young girl that I wanted to be just like her. Also, my parents stressed the importance of education and striving for excellence. They encouraged my siblings and I to pursue professions like medicine and law.
NAAHP: What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
NJB: I’ve learned that leading by example is powerful. I’ve been in my client’s shoes so I share my own story with them so they understand that bankruptcy is not the end, it’s a new beginning free from the burden of debt, a chance to start again and do better. My clients are inspired by my story and relate to me which is important in leadership.
NAAHP: How do you prioritize your time and what you focus on?
NJB: I think about what matters most, what will make the biggest impact. Health and peace of mind are at the top of the list when it comes to priorities. That goes for me and my clients.
NAAHP: What is the biggest challenge of your work?
NJB: The biggest challenge is that those who need my help the most are not in a position to afford legal representation, which is why teaching/coaching is a large part of my platform. I provide those with limited resources the information and tools they need to help themselves.
NAAHP: What are your personal or professional journey highlights thus far?
NJB: Defying the impossible. Student loan debt is supposed to be impossible to get rid of but I did just that for myself and I’ve helped my clients wipe out half a million dollars and counting in student loan debt. Proof that with courage and persistence, anything is possible.
NAAHP: What kind of advice would you give to a law student?
NJB: Avoid getting into debt in pursuit of a law degree. Choose wisely. Go to a school you can afford, Consider state or city schools. Apply for scholarships and grants. Do everything in your power to secure employment before graduation.
NAAHP: Who is your favorite fictional lawyer and why?
NJB: My childhood favorite is Claire Huxtable but for the last few years it’s been Olivia Pope. I strive to be the Olivia Pope of student loan debt. If you come to me with a student loan issue, consider it “handled” J
NAAHP: When you’re not at work, where can we find you?
NJB: At the beach, a yoga class, an old skool dance party or checking out the best vegan eats in town.