Last December, Romulo (Romy) Diaz, National LGBT Bar Association Member and Vice President and General Counsel of PECO Energy, delivered the commencement address during at the Penn State Brandywine Commencement Ceremony. He focused his remarks on personal experiences rather than his illustrious career. “I shared my story as a Latino and gay man growing up in a little town in east Texas, a Roman Catholic in the Bible Belt,” he says. “One thing I’ve learned over my career is that these stories help people dealing with similar challenges. The more we share within our community, the more positive impact we can have.”
Romy is glad to be a member of the LGBT Bar because it provides one more way for him to help others by telling his story. “The other ways in which I can do good are sharing my knowledge, mentoring young lawyers just starting their careers, being a community volunteer, joining on a nonprofit board, and always trying to help meet a community need,” he says. “I encourage members the LGBT Bar to think about opportunities for sharing more of their personal story. Stories are powerful and we should use them.”
A strong believer in the power of storytelling and personal resilience, Romy is determined to take control of his own journey. He left his career in the federal government behind to be with his partner, now husband, after serving in several high profile policy-making positions in Washington D.C., including assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Clinton. “Life is too short and relationships too important not to take advantage of them when you have the opportunity,” he says.
He moved to Philadelphia in 2002 and took a role in the city’s law department. “I had a good friend who was slated to become the next city solicitor in Philadelphia,” he recalls. “When he heard I was moving to the area, he asked me to be his deputy and I took the job. After he left office, I became city solicitor in 2005.” Romy’s move to Philadelphia signaled his return to a career in law after several years in policy and executive positions. “I was a little apprehensive about going back into law,” he remembers. “But I also was excited because I knew that nothing important happened in Philadelphia without the City, and usually the law department, being involved.”
In 2008, Romy decided to move into the private sector and became General Counsel of PECO Energy, after serving as its Vice President of External Affairs. Romy is now involved in the LGBT Bar’s Corporate Counsel Division and serves on the LGBT Bar’s Corporate Counsel Advisory Committee. “The LGBT Bar Association has great programming for public and private sector lawyers, and the corporate counsel advisory committee is one more resource for to members who want to advance their careers,” he says.
In addition to finding rich professional fulfillment since moving to Philadelphia, Romy has also become part of a vibrant community of LGBTQ+ lawyers. “The Philadelphia legal community is very inclusive and believes it should reflect all lawyers, including LGBTQ+ lawyers,” he says. He is an active member of GALLOP, an affiliate of the National LGBT Bar Association in Philadelphia.
This year, Romy and the entire Philadelphia legal community are excited to host the National LGBT Bar Association’s Annual Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair in their home city. “I can tell you that people in my company and the LGBT bar in Philadelphia are very excited about the event,” he says. “We’re talking to friends and colleagues about it because we want everyone who attends to feel welcome.”
Romy has been a frequent attendee of Lavender Law® throughout the years and says the event has great value for LGBTQ+ lawyers. “You meet people from all over the country and make great connections to thoughtful and enjoyable people,” he says.
We can’t wait to see Romy, and our many other members and guests, in Philadelphia this August!