This March, The Rockwellist celebrates International Women’s Month with women who add flavor and depth to the Rockwell experience.
We ask these women 20 questions—some are light, some dare to go deep—with the hope of getting to know and learning from these inspiring, successful, and stylish women who are out to rock the world.
In this installment of Women Who Rock, get to know CPA Lawyer slash Saddle Row spinning instructor, Dionne Sanchez.
How does she do it? For Dionne, being an overachieving, multi-hyphenate seems to come naturally. Growing up, she had a stellar academic career. In fact, when she finished law school as the Class Valedictorian in 2007, she was the first magna cum laude the UP College of Law has had in 24 years.
It’s not hard to see that Dionne is no stranger to reaching for the stars.
Q: What drove you to become a spinning instructor? How do you manage despite your busy schedule (as a lawyer, lecturer and fitness instructor)?
Dionne: The founders of Saddle Row initially had me on board as their lawyer to help set up the business. They knew that I joined triathlons and ran marathons so they invited me to join as an instructor. I trained and got certified with the first batch of instructors under Schwinn, the provider of our indoor bikes.
I never feel too busy because I enjoy all the things I am doing. I just make sure to schedule everything so that they do not conflict with each other. Teaching spinning also serves as my work-out for the day, so I accomplish two things at the same time.
Q: As someone who is successful in your field, how have you made a positive change for others, particularly for women?
Dionne: I lead and make changes by example. Less talk and advocacy, more action. I live as if my gender was never a minority, fully empowered. As a concrete example, we set up a law firm almost 10 years ago, with 4 female partners and just one male partner. We have never looked back and have been going strong ever since, despite the continued dominance of males in our profession.
Q: Working in a male-populated industry, what kind of struggles have you encountered and what did you do to overcome these?
Dionne: I have always played up the advantages of being a woman. I don’t focus on inequities and male-dominance. Women have our own strengths and we should use them to the fullest. I never act like a victim–I am the boss.
Q: What makes you a woman who rocks?
Dionne: I am open and accepting of anything and everything regarding beliefs and choices people make on how to live their lives.
1.Who is your style icon?
Victoria Beckham and Nicole Richie
2. What is your signature look?
Half the time I wear ‘70s inspired dresses and stilettos, half the time I like androgynous dressing – jeans, button downs, blazers, sports shirts, loafers.
3. What are 5 things you can’t live without?
My husband, my cats, my loved ones—nothing really material
4. What would you splurge on?
Watches and cars!
5. What book are you reading at the moment?
I have been too busy with Netflix and True Crime channels on YouTube! Generally though I like fiction–horror, thrillers, and crime.
6. Dream scenario: If you could put up your own mini-mall and only have 3 shops, 1 personal care service, and 1 restaurant, what would they be?
Zara, Massimo Dutti, Rustan’s Supermarket, Homme Et Femme, Emphasis Salon, Mamou, and Starbucks Reserve
7. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Both; depending on the activities.
8. What does a day at the mall look like for you?
I only go to the shops when I have something in mind to buy. I go to Emphasis 2 to 3 times a week. I would rather spend time in the grocery.
9. What’s your self-care routine?
I work out almost every day: three times a week I do strength training under a personal trainer, I teach once or twice a week at Saddle Row, I run three to four times a week, and I dance twice a month with an instructor.
I try to eat healthy. I take care of my skin and avoid sun exposure. I have hair color and treatments once a month and visit the salon twice a week for other grooming needs. I swear by Emphasis!
10. What skincare/beauty secrets do you swear by?
Botox and Thermage under my husband, who is a dermatologist. I do weekly peels and I use Anessa from Shiseido for my sunblock.
11. What activities make you go, “Wow! Today rocked!”?
A good work-out at Saddle Row; closing a client or project; a successful court hearing; drinks with good friends, or a night of dancing.
12. If you could only eat one dish at one restaurant? What would it be and why?
How about Top 3? Steak in Mamou. Iberian Chicken in Glass House. Bacon French Toast in Refinery.
13. What’s your go-to drink?
Beer especially IPAs, Single Origin has a good selection! Or whisky. Islay Single Malts that are peated are my favorite!
14. What words of wisdom do you live by?
Do what makes you happy and don’t care about what other people think. Also, focus on continuous improvement of all aspects of self as you age.
15. Name 3 women who are part of your dream dinner guest list. What would you ask them?
Ellen DeGeneres, Victoria Beckham, and Nicole Richie.
I just want to talk about fashion and fun things, and I want to dance with Ellen!
16. Who is a woman in your life you admire the most? What have you learned from her?
My mom, of course. She taught me to always present oneself well because the world judges first by looks. She also taught me to always find the fun and happiness even in the worst circumstances one can encounter in life.
17. What would you tell your 13 year old self?
Always strive for continuous improvement, especially physically. Growing old is a great experience.
18. What is your greatest achievement?
My long and lasting relationships with my husband and my closest friends and people I love.
19. What other dreams do you want to fulfill?
I just wish to grow our law firm more and to age well and happily.
20. What’s your idea of happiness?
Loving freely and feeling loved by the people who matter most.