Sheila Marcella Romero Rodriguez – Phoenix Tower International
Communication towers can be anywhere from a diminutive six feet to a sky piercing 200. While their antennas and other digital equipment allow cell phones, telephones and radios to function, legal management allows them to remain compliant with all local regulations.
That’s where Sheila Marcella Romero Rodriguez comes in, managing all Phoenix Tower International legal matters for Central America and Panama. PTI is a telecom real estate provider that provides leasing services related to telecommunication equipment.
As the senior attorney for the company’s Central American and Panamanian operations since March 2020, Romero covers regulatory and real estate matters, supports in dealing with landlords and provides input on mergers and acquisitions. She also assists other departments, such as sales, asset management, operations, finance and taxes.
Offering her legal acumen and experience, she recently helped with an acquisition in Panama.
“I spoke to the local counsels; together, we were able to deliver legal opinions and closing documents in time for closing,” says Romero.
She adds that PTI’s focus is on globally expanding its portfolio, so new assets are essential.
“In prior roles I’ve handled M&A deals in a variety of industries—some regulated—so I always look at legal matters through a business lens to see what minimizes risk for us while helping us grow,” Romero says.
PTI helping to develop communications in El Salvador
Around the end of September 2022, PTI became part of the stakeholders attached to the development of new telecommunications projects in El Salvador.
“PTI’s projects in El Salvador are exciting not just because we are becoming pioneers but because we are helping to improve communications,” Romero says. “PTI is a leader in these types of projects.”
Since joining PTI in 2020, she has been ensuring that the company and all its projects are compliant with every local and government regulation—and PTI’s Global Compliance Policy. She’ll continue doing so long after the projects are completed.
She ensures that all municipality matters are compliant with applicable regulations, too. Coordinating the team of external counsels also falls under her purview; together, they challenge legal issues related to permits.
While the work can be chaotic, Romero says supporting colleagues is always a priority.
“When we care for personal value as much as professional, it creates a better work environment,” she says.
As excited as Romero is about new projects, one of her goals is avoiding legal issues and legally safeguarding functioning towers.
“This is just another step in my efforts to introduce a high level of internal structure,” she says. “I still believe one of my greatest achievements here—one that is ongoing—has been tidying up the house and assuring PTI companies keep organized and remain in compliance with all applicable regulations across Central America and Panama.”
Knowledge leads to personal and professional success
Romera says it’s helped to have worked in other industries, not just telecommunications. Her first position was the head of records for a construction company in 2005.
For nearly three years after that, she worked as a legal collaborator for the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, where she supported the working community. After that, she worked in a Central American law firm in El Salvador, before moving abroad to Madrid to work at a Spanish data protection agency and then in the Global Resources Department at Telefonica.
While working, she obtained a degree in English law from the University of Saint Louis Missouri in 2007. She then graduated from Universidad Centroamericana UCA in 2009 with a master’s in business, financial, commercial and tax law. She also earned a master’s degree in telecommunications and the intersection between new technology and the law from Carlos III of Madrid.
“A true leader continues learning,” says Romero, who also did postgraduate work in fintech, digital banking and international taxation. She’s also taken intensive business law, e-commerce and General Data Protection Regulation courses.
Currently, she’s specializing in compliance studies and working towards a diploma of digital law and new technologies at an Argentinian university—all while completing her certification to become a legal project manager.
She’s not sharing her knowledge with just PTI either. Since February 2014, Romera has been a professor on telecommunications matters and, in 2020, added teaching e-commerce to her repertoire. She’s also a member of the Technologies Chamber in El Salvador, which allowed her to participate in discussions about drafting the Legislative Assembly of Electronic Signature Law in 2015 and 2016. She was also involved with conversations regarding modifying the Consumer Protection Law to introduce e-commerce provisions.
Recognizing her efforts, Derecho y Negocios—Law and Business Magazine—honored her in July 2022 with a place on its list of the top 45 lawyers under 45 out of almost 300,000 lawyers.
“I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since high school, as I felt that lawyers could provide legal services to those who need it,” Romero says. “With PTI, I’m also helping improve communications and bringing people closer to one another.”
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