"The USPTO is truly great at seeing the value of each person’s unique attributes or talents, and I feel like I have found a place in which I can be myself and thrive while doing so.”
Developing a passion for public service
Keyla had lived her entire life in Puerto Rico until 2016, when she began working at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Prior to that, she didn’t know much about the USPTO, but she had a friend who worked with patents for the agency. “She always seemed incredibly happy and proud of working for the USPTO, and had developed a really great career there,” Keyla reflects. “So, I knew that it was a place where you could not only find yourself being happy about your job but could also have opportunities for growth.”
After earning a bachelor's degree in advertising and public relations and a Juris Doctor degree, both from the University of Puerto Rico, Keyla spent time working for the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources. She answered public correspondence about employment law, as well as drafted the department’s official opinion on proposed bills impacting Puerto Rican employment. “That job was definitely a turning point in my professional life because I developed a love for public service and it opened my eyes to how the law impacts the public,” she explains.
Effective communication lead to success
Keyla became interested in trademark examination because it emphasized research and writing, areas where she excels. "Being an effective communicator is key. Everyone has a unique point of view that can open your eyes to more creative and practical ways of examining and resolving issues,” she says. Her background in communications also benefits her when training and mentoring new hires.
“The support you get is truly priceless, especially when most workplaces either don’t invest time on fully training new hires or don’t have the resources to do so. So being able to pay it forward and help train future new examiners is a huge milestone for me,” she says. “The USPTO is truly great at seeing the value of each person’s unique attributes or talents, and I feel like I have found a place in which I can be myself and thrive while doing so.”
Keyla’s dedication in her position was recognized in 2022, when she received a Bronze Medal Award for superior performance with five consecutive outstanding performance ratings. Receiving this award during Hispanic Heritage Month was especially meaningful because she is committed to being an example of the talent the Hispanic community represents in the workforce.
The best part of working at the USPTO
Although the work-life balance is one of her favorite aspects of USPTO employment, it’s not the only benefit that keeps her here. “Hands down, the thing I love most about working for the USPTO is the people. We have an incredible mix of coworkers from different backgrounds, different cultures, and different interests. It keeps the job dynamic,” she says.
In the future, Keyla hopes to assist with agency policy development. Even though she’d be working in a different area, she’ll still be at the USPTO: “The USPTO is my home. I have found my home!”