Monica Berry Headshots ©Jerry McClure-0068

Monica Berry ’94 has been an attorney since 2001. After leaving Albuquerque Academy, she earned a degree in English and Spanish from University of Michigan, and then attended law school at University of Wisconsin.

After completing school, Monica served as a staff attorney for the District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. She then moved to Dallas where she clerked for the chief judge of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas and then went on to a law firm where she practiced bankruptcy and real estate law for about six years. Monica later moved to corporate law, serving as in-house counsel for Hostess Brands before settling at her current position at NTR Metals, one of the world’s largest precious metals companies, in Dallas.

While she enjoys her career as a lawyer, Monica has a secret passion: she loves to write. She was a writer at the Academy, working on student publications including the Advocate. “I always enjoyed writing, but I really started to blossom in Ms. Ireland’s class,” says Monica. “I also enjoyed writing stories for Mr. Barney and always appreciated the time and feedback Mr. Dunbar gave me when I found him in his office to talk about writing.”

So, in 2008, shortly after her father died, Monica decided to start writing again. “I took a creative writing course at Southern Methodist University,” she says. That class, which focused on fiction, helped her figure out that what she really wanted to do was to write about her family.

“My father was Hindu and my mother was Jewish. They met at grad school,” she explains. Monica’s mother was diagnosed with leukemia when she was seven years old and her sister Sheila ’97 was four years old. Their mother died three years later.

“My dad promised my mom that he would raise us Jewish,” says Monica. A Hindu father, raising two young Jewish girls, has given Monica a great deal of memories, as well as some wonderful material for writing.

Monica has been writing steadily since 2008. From 2010 to 2011, she wrote Love Convection, a weekly column for the Dallas Observer, a food blog, and a daily blog called 365 Days of 35 chronicling her days as a 35-year old.

She’s also earned prizes in various writing contests, including the 2010 Houston Writers Guild Fall Writers Contest; the 2011 Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest; and the 2013 San Antonio Writers’ Guild Annual contest. Monica was a finalist in the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference’s 2012 Book Manuscript Workshop and the Texas Bar Journal’s 2010 Short Story Fiction Writing Contest.

It was through the Houston Writer’s Guild that Monica discovered Listen to Your Mother, a touring production that features live readings by local writers on motherhood, in celebration of Mother’s Day.

“I decided to submit a piece to Listen to Your Mother in honor of my paternal grandmother,” says Monica. Her grandmother, who lives in Delhi, India traveled to New Mexico to help the family when Monica’s mother was sick.

Monica’s tribute to her grandmother was selected for the Beaumont, Texas LTYM event. You can see Monica read her story here.

Monica says that participating in the LTYM event was an amazing experience. “When you hear people telling their stories aloud – it creates community,” she says. “You don’t realize how many people are touched by your story until you do it live. It’s a really powerful program.”
Monica continues to work as a lawyer and a writer. She is currently writing a humorous memoir about her childhood.