Neena Speer is the founder and executive director of the Step 1-2-3 Mentor for Life Initiative. The fearless leader graduated with her Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law in May 2017. Her principal areas of interest are working in non-profit management, civic involvement, and criminal defense.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University (B.A. French & B.S. Psychology) in May 2014, she was admitted to the University of Alabama’s School of Law. During her tenure as a student she has served the UA Community as 2nd Vice President of the Black Law Students Association, BLSA Banquet 2016 Chair for the UA Law Chapter, Pre-Law Co-Director for the Southern Region BLSA, and Lieutenant Governor of Membership for the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association for the 10th Circuit.

Professionally, she has interned in various state departments. She served as a Team Captain for the Inaugural Staff Ball for the White House in 2013. In summer 2015 she worked with the Federal Public Defenders Office of The Northern District of Alabama, and the Honorable L. Scott Coogler, of the Northern District of Alabama as a legal intern the following fall. She interned in spring 2016 in Washington, DC at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) as their National Affairs Intern for school credit as a part of UA Law’s Federal Externship Program. Summer 2016 Speer completed the UA Law Summer 2016 Study Abroad program in Australia where she received the honor of Best Paper for her comparative analysis of gender issues between the U.S. and Australia. Currently, she is contributing to an online magazine as an advice columnist and is sitting for the February 2018 bar exam in Alabama.

From an early age, Speer’s mother always told her, “You’re going to be a CEO!” Neena didn’t quite understand until she was invited to be a Pre-Law Diversity Talks™ Speaker at the 2015 National Diversity Pre-Law Conference held in Washington, D.C. While speaking on “The Importance of Diversity in Leadership Development,” the fire was ignited. She met phenomenal pre-law students from across the country that was interested in having a mentor for their developmental process. Recalling a plan she started to develop as an eight-year-old, Speer started planning the Step 1-2-3 Mentor for Life Initiative.

Now she is seeing her young dream realized and her mother’s words taking root. Speer is blessed to receive the encouragement and support of her family. There is a mantra that Neena lives by that was always insisted upon in her household and that she brings to this mentoring program, “Do the right things for the right reasons and you will never fail.” She brings this into her schoolwork, her business, her family, her friendships, and with every new connection. Step 1-2-3 Mentor for Life Initiative is her baby, but more importantly, it is to help others find encouragement in all areas.

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