In 2019, I published ¿Médico o Cirujano? (meaning “Doctor or Surgeon?”), a book written in collaboration with Dr. Jorge Cervantes Castro and Ignacio Cervantes Trejo, professor of law. The book was supervised by Dr. José Ramón Cossío Díaz, former Minister of the National Supreme Court of Justice in Mexico, who I worked for during the last year of his term.
In addition to my career as a lawyer, I have two other passions: exercise and fashion. These interests were the inspiration for starting my own entrepreneurial projects in collaboration with my twin sister. The first was BEATNESS®, which was followed by Twinstersize®.
Fernanda Cervantes, Mexico
MORE ABOUT FERNANDA
Did you always know you wanted to be a lawyer?
Always. From the very beginning, I knew that law was the degree I wanted to pursue. There was never a second choice for me and I believe law is something 100% vocational. Since I started my degree, I have maintained and expanded my ambition to learn and grow professionally. During university, I made sure to supplement my studies with professional experiences, and by the fourth semester of university in 2015, I started working at a criminal law firm called Amerena Abogados. There, I was promoted to head of interns within three months of starting at the company. Later, I did a one-year exchange program in the United States at New York University (NYU), where I learned a lot. When I came back to Mexico, I returned to the firm. After a year, I decided to pursue new opportunities to learn. I was eager to get to know a different area of the law: the public and government sector.
Before my doing my master, I had the opportunity to work at the National Supreme Court of Justice os Mexico for the Minister Dr. José Ramón Cossío Díaz during the last year of his term, a person I deeply admire. Throughout this period, I worked directly for the judicial clerk in the area of criminal law, and I learned a ton. My greatest achievement during this period, however, was writing a book in collaboration with my grandfather (PhD) and my uncle (Professor of Law). The book was supervised and directed by the minister and published in “La colección de Derecho y…” last year. I feel very proud to have published my first book at age 25 alongside people I admire so much.
What has been the most important project of your career?
Personally, I feel very proud of all the career decisions I’ve made in general. I say that because I believe, although some decisions have been more significant than others, they have all been necessary and each step has led me to where I am now: about to finish my master’s and learning and growing in an incredibly fulfilling way.
Being a lawyer, how did you come up with the idea to develop a network of gyms?
I was influenced by a variety of factors. Initially, after a time in which I was 100% dedicated to criminal law—something extremely demanding that left me no space or time for anything else—I wanted to create a business that would allow me to experience what it was like to “be my own boss.” Apart from that, although it was clear to me that I had found my vocation which will always be law, I wanted to complement it with something that would give me the opportunity to develop another passion. Finally, my twin sister—who is one of the most important person in my life— studied a completely different degree than me, and taking such separate paths distanced us a bit in real life. So, BEATNESS® was also born from the need to create something that would force us to meet more frequently, even if on the basis of working together.
How did you start to develop your own personal brand? How do you combine it with your career?
Practically it was at the same time I was creating the group of gyms. After living in New York for a year, my twin sister and I realized that this new way of working out was a trend we needed take advantage of—not only to create BEATNESS®, but also to introduce a concept that was, at that time, nonexistent in Mexico: From yoga to brunch. We became aware that, in our country and in some parts of the United States, people (particularly women) leave the house with sportswear on, justifying it by saying they’re going to exercise. Deep down, we knew that this style is so popular in reality due to its comfort, so we decided that developing a brand defined by fusing comfort with fashion was sure to be a success.
My sister and I started the project completely alone, so we both had the opportunity to contribute with our knowledge of the different sectors we work in. I was responsible for the establishment and legal registration of the brand—everything concerning intellectual property rights, permits, authorizations, and everything you need to start up. I’ve also dealt with all the legal issues that have come up along the way and sorted contracts with suppliers and stores that sell our garments. My sister, on the other hand, is responsible for the brand’s design and marketing.
Can you tell us more about BEATNESS® and Twinstersize®?
In addition to my career as a lawyer, my two other passions are exercise and fashion. From these two passions I had the idea of starting my own independent businesses in collaboration with my twin sister. The first of these projects was BEATNESS®, a unique fitness concept where we mix music from the best DJs in Mexico with 50-minute exercise classes combining core functions with cardio, burning 600 to 800 calories per session. We currently have 7 studios and I have obtained an IFA fitness instructor qualification.
While we were getting BEATNESS® off the ground, my sister and I also had the idea of developing a creative and innovative clothing concept. With Twinstersize®, the brand we co-founded together, we have designed women’s fashion pieces and sportswear made from PYRATEX®. This material is composed of a range of smart fabrics, primarily (95%) bamboo fibers, which is good for the skin and body. These naturally antibacterial fabrics are functional, fresh, breathable and soft, fitting perfectly with the 100% bacteria-free concept that sets Beatness® apart.
Being a businesswoman and lawyer at the same time, how is the LL.M. in International Business Law supporting you in your career?
When reading about the program and all its classes, one of the things that caught my attention most was the area of business and entrepreneurship. I felt that I badly needed to learn and develop in this area. In many ways, the course has been a surprise. On one hand, I’ve had the opportunity to gain knowledge in fields that I’d never previously thought would be useful, or assumed were outside the scope of my studies. On the other hand, I never thought that I’d end up really enjoying and developing an interest in these areas. In the best way, it has really complemented my professional projects.
Why did you decide to take the LL.M. in International Business Law at IE Law School?
It was for precisely the same reason—I felt it would help me discover new areas that could be of interest to me. I really wanted to broaden my vision, the scope of my career, and my future prospects, moving away from criminal law. I knew that the LL.M in International Business Law could help me do that. And it has—it’s made me realize that I have a lot to contribute in other professional sectors that I hadn’t considered an option before.
What stands out from your experience at IE Law School, both professionally and personally? Are there any stories you’d like to share?
I think the university’s methodology is one thing that has really helped me refine my skill set. Without a doubt, doing the majority of tasks in teams teaches us more than we can imagine. As an experience, it has not only led to meet all kinds of people, but it has also enabled me to get to know myself better. Although teams are assembled randomly, it doesn’t feel that way—I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside the kind of people who help you learn every day. The experience has also shown me where my areas for improvement are, which gives me motivation to work on them so I can contribute more to the group, as well as highlighting my personal strengths. I think that made me realize that each of us have different strengths to offer in life: no one is simply better or worse than someone else. To give you an analogy, we are all important parts in the machinery of a clock, but at the same time, as an individual you’re just one cog that depends on all the others to keep that clock ticking. That’s where the value lies.
What skills and knowledge have you gained throughout the master?
The master has taught me to develop many different skills: time management, running team meetings, getting myself organized, and structuring my work are just a few among many. I’ve also learned how to be more efficient by delivering the best possible results in the shortest possible time. And with regard to how I’ve expanded my knowledge—I don’t even know where to start. Apart from having developed a passion and interest in an area of law I’d previously dismissed as “boring”—whereas now I just want to hurry up and finish the master so I can start working in this area—the international nature of the program also brings great benefit. The diversity of participants in the program has supplemented the course materials with opinions, contributions, and knowledge about the many different jurisdictions to which my peers belong, something that has opened my eyes to an incredible range of fascinating legal topics.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself working in a legal office or an international company in a senior position that, with effort and dedication, I hope to earn over time. I’d like prove that I can offer contributions and achieve results wherever I work. I’d really like to be doing a a job that teaches me every day and keeps me passionate. When I work like that, I find it so enjoyable that I just want to be there to keep learning and growing, striving for the best and raising the bar.