An intricate mosaic of people and resources made me feel like a daughter once again. Those pieces encompassed teachers, caseworkers, therapists, and even strangers who gave me life-saving resources when my only possessions were often the clothes on my back. However, the most important piece of my mosaic is myself, as gaining autonomy over my voice and my identity is one of the most integral themes in this story.
The conception for the Daughters Mosaic came into fruition almost two decades ago, when I would speak across the country as a law student about my experiences with foster care and chronic poverty. One of my goals in sharing my story was to demonstrate that you can never judge a book by its cover. No one would have ever envisioned my past traumas based on their initial impressions of me as a law student at a prestigious institution. By breaking those assumptions, I was hoping to increase empathy while motivating others to donate to related causes. My additional goal in sharing my story was to debunk the notion that anyone could solely pull themselves up from their bootstraps. I relied on countless resources such as a free college education and assistance to direct services such as food, shelter, and childcare. I began to refer to these resources as "my mosaic" as demonstrated in the following speech from 2017:
While my mosaic forms a beautiful picture of glory, the child welfare system still allows all too many daughters to slip through the cracks. More needs to be done in terms of increasing access to direct services, higher education, and wellness for all of our daughters. It is my firm belief that we are all entitled to limitless pools of joy and prosperity. Through the Daughters Mosaic, LLC I am hoping to play my part in reducing these barriers and raising awareness through workshops, community building, and publications such as books, op-eds, and the Daughters Mosaic Blog. I am eager to continue sharing my journey with you.
-Cary Martin Shelby
Founder of the Daughters Mosaic, LLC
My name is Cary Martin Shelby and I am an educator, speaker, and author. On paper, my professional background appears to embody a glistening road towards success. I am a business law professor who decided to research investment fund regulation after practicing as a hedge fund attorney for close to four years. Yet, my road to academia has been ridden with adversities such as foster care, chronic poverty, and other layers of trauma.
EDUCATOR. As an educator, these adversities have driven me to make the law more accessible to a wider range of students, who may be encountering comparable challenges.
AUTHOR. As a scholar, these experiences have impassioned me to think more critically about the ways in which the law regulates the allocation of capital, which often serves as a mechanism to perpetuate wealth inequality.
INNOVATOR. As a woman who is impassioned with purpose, I intend to teach daughters around the world how to build and strengthen their own mosaics through the Daughters Mosaic, LLC.
In terms of my professional background, I joined Washington and Lee University School of Law (W&L Law”) from DePaul University College of Law in 2019. I specialize in corporate and securities law and teach a variety of courses such as Contracts, Business Associations, Securities Regulation, and Corporate Finance. I received the DePaul College of Law Excellence in Teaching Award in May 2016 and the DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award in September 2018. I also received the Ethan Allen Fellowship from W&L Law for scholarly excellence in June 2020.
My research has been cited by Forbes, The Brookings Institution, and an array of other publications. I have published articles in several prominent journals such as the California Law Review (forthcoming), the Business Lawyer, and Boston College Law Review. I received my B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my J.D. from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and my Master of Laws from the University of Wisconsin Law School. I then practiced law in the Investment Funds, Advisers and Derivatives Group with Sidley Austin LLP for close to four years before joining academia. Click here for copies of my publications.