Meet the 2023 PREMIER Firm of the Year Award Winners
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The 2023 Game Changers Summit was for Crisp Coach members only, and the event was largely crafted around celebrating the accomplishments of those firm owners.
Throughout the two-day Summit, Michael and Jessica Mogill took the stage to recognize the most committed members for their incredible transformations and contributions this year.
Winners of these brand-new, highly prestigious Crisp Game Changer Awards at each level (ELITE, PREMIER, and CrispX) were determined based on the factors that impact a successful business, an influential leader, and a true Firm of the Year: Leadership, Firm Culture, Client Experience, and Community Impact.
It is with great pleasure that we announce Diego Bustillos and Adriana Bello of BBA Immigration as winners of the PREMIER Firm of the Year Award!
Meet Diego Bustillos
Diego Bustillos was born into “a landscape of remarkable beauty and perilous uncertainty” — Caracas, Venezuela. He relocated to the United States a decade ago to pursue a Master’s degree.
“Given Venezuela’s volatile and often lawless conditions, where I had already survived a kidnapping, my decision to settle in the U.S. was underscored by the pursuit of safety, opportunity, and professional accomplishment,” explains Diego.
Raised in a family of accomplished lawyers (his father held a managing partner position in a global law firm’s Caracas office) Diego initially planned to pursue a Big Law trajectory with his legal career. However, he found his true calling in immigration law, which he describes as “an area so fulfilling that I cannot envisage doing anything else.”
“I was born to do this,” he says.
Diego feels that launching his firm has not just been a business venture but a fulfillment of his life’s work, a passion reinforced by his own immigration story and the struggles he’s overcome.
“It’s like everything I had done led me here, even though I did not envision this for myself growing up,” he elaborates. “Everything I learned throughout life has been specially carved out for this.”
Diego’s career focus has been to create value for the U.S. economy by facilitating the immigration of highly skilled individuals and investors that push key sectors like energy, technology, and healthcare, “further fortifying this great nation.”
“In every challenge I’ve faced — from life-threatening moments in Venezuela to the hurdles of settling in a new country — I have always adhered to one immutable principle: to do my absolute best in every endeavor,” Diego asserts. “This ethic is not just a personal mantra but the cornerstone of my firm’s culture and a guidepost for my devoted team.”
Meet Adriana Bello
Adriana Bello also hails originally from Venezuela. She describes her homeland as “a beautiful country with a rich culture and history, but during the 2010s, it faced significant economic and security challenges.”
Like her grandparents, who were forced to leave Europe in search of better opportunities due to wars, driven by the desire for a safer, more stable environment and better economic prospects, Adriana made the life-changing decision to move to the United States a decade ago to pursue law,
“My journey is also marked by personal loss,” Adriana shares. “I lost my mother when I was just 11 years old. Through this difficult time, my father became my unwavering pillar of support. He always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and never settle. Being the youngest of three siblings, I learned early on the value of independence and self-reliance.”
The challenging decision to leave a comfortable job in Venezuela, despite the economic and safety issues plaguing her home country, led Adriana to specialize in immigration law.
“As an immigrant myself, I could relate to the journeys and challenges faced by those seeking a better life in the United States,” she explains. “It became clear to me that my experiences could be channeled into offering empathetic, effective, and comprehensive legal services to my clients.”
At BBA Immigration, Adriana’s mission is to be a dedicated advocate for her clients, helping them navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system with compassion and determination.
“In essence, my motivation to start my own law firm stems from a deep-seated desire to pay forward the support and opportunities I’ve received, and to be a beacon of hope for those on their journey to a better life in this great country,” she shares. “I’m committed to making a meaningful difference, one client at a time, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so.”
BBA Immigration: A Year in Review
Diego and Adriana leveraged their Crisp Coach membership in every area of their firm in 2023, generating unprecedented results along the way. Let’s look back at the highlights that earned them PREMIER Firm of the Year:
Community Impact at BBA Immigration
Thanks to the emphasis on service promoted by Crisp and fellow PREMIER members, Diego and Adriana have become more proactive in sharing free advice on immigration strategies. They now regularly speak at conferences, helping intending immigrants understand the best steps for entering the United States.
“We’ve committed to speaking at various forums and conferences to combat the widespread misinformation about immigration,” they elaborate. “We believe that by sharing accurate information, we can help people make informed decisions on how to navigate the immigration process.”
The BBA Immigration team, many of whom are immigrants or law students themselves, constitutes a crucial part of their community. The firm has financially supported university initiatives and has offered assistance to staff and their families in achieving their personal goals.
“By financially supporting student initiatives at the University of Houston, we aim to enhance the educational opportunities for immigrant students,” Diego and Adriana explain. “We know the value of education and want to give others the chances we had when we came to the United States.”
Lastly, Diego and Adriana strive for greater transparency in their work, freely sharing their unique case-building strategies and even offering pro bono services and free consultations to some community members.
As Venezuelan immigrants, Diego and Adriana have been active advocators for democracy, human rights, and the welfare of the Venezuelan people. Through their collective efforts and unwavering commitment, these game changers were instrumental in the establishment of the Venezuelan Democracy Caucus in the U.S. Congress, which serves as a vital platform for raising awareness about the challenges facing Venezuela and advancing policies that support the restoration of democracy and the protection of human rights in Diego and Adriana’s home country.
“While we’re proud of our efforts, we acknowledge that there’s still much more we can do to deepen our impact on the community,” they say.
Firm Culture at BBA Immigration
Diego and Adriana assert that investing in their firm’s culture has been the most significant undertaking of the past year.
One of the highlights was coordinating an all-staff gathering, flying in team members from diverse locations like Oregon, Florida, and Argentina to unite at BBA headquarters. Through vulnerable, insightful exercises and team discussions, the group deepened their collective understanding of the firm’s ethos and integrated team member perspectives into it.
They’ve also instituted weekly meetings, individual check-ins, and fostered an environment focused on client service, collaboration, and curiosity.
“Through the Crisp program, we’ve acquired invaluable tools that have helped us shift from merely being a pair of attorneys solving immigration issues to building a firm with a clearly defined, compelling culture,” the duo says.
The reason for this investment in culture is clear to the BBA Immigration leaders: a strong culture fosters loyalty, which in turn elevates the client experience and ultimately furthers our mission of transforming lives and contributing to the American economy.
“Over the past year, our primary objective has been to fortify a culture grounded in curiosity, growth mindset, and client-centric focus, positioning each challenge as an opportunity for growth,” Diego and Adriana explain.
“The transformation within the firm has been profound,” they continue. “By consciously fostering a culture of accountability, ownership, growth mindset, and curiosity, we have elevated our service delivery to new heights.”
BBA’s foreign associates, domestic associates, and paralegals have become increasingly adept at empathizing with our clients, which allows them to deliver “not only compassionate but also assertive service.”
“Moreover, our team members now feel empowered to challenge conventional thinking and propose innovative solutions,” Diego and Adriana share. “This creative freedom has instilled a sense of ownership among them, making them integral contributors to the firm’s mission and success. This significant cultural shift has essentially changed how we operate, enriching both our internal dynamics and our client interactions.”
Client Experience at BBA Immigration
Since engaging with Crisp, BBA Immigration’s commitment to delivering excellent client experience has become deeply ingrained in their operational ethos.
“Among the many invaluable insights we’ve gained, the mantra ‘service trumps outcome’ has resonated most,” Diego and Adriana share. “As a service-oriented firm, we understand that while achieving positive results is important, it’s equally crucial to make the process itself smooth, transparent, and respectful for our clients.”
To put this ethos into action, the team has implemented regular reporting mechanisms to keep clients informed every step of the way, thereby eliminating guesswork and anxiety from the equation. They’ve also streamlined procedures through automation, reducing friction and expediting the immigration process.
“Although we are still on a quest for continual improvement and occasionally grapple with imposter syndrome, our consistent engagement with Crisp has equipped us with the tools to enhance both our internal processes and client interactions,” say Diego and Adriana. “This has allowed us to fulfill our mission of facilitating a seamless immigration experience for those aspiring to build a life in the United States.”
Leadership at BBA Immigration
Since joining the Crisp PREMIER program, Diego and Adriana have focused heavily on their leadership capabilities.
“We’ve transitioned from merely managing to empowering our team, encouraging them to not just identify problems but to actively contribute to solutions,” they say.
One area where they feel they’ve made considerable improvement is in the clarification of roles and responsibilities, making a conscious effort to clearly define their leadership roles, saying, “Delegation has always been a challenging aspect for us, but we are learning to trust our team more, thereby allowing them to assume greater responsibilities.”
One of the biggest lessons Diego and Adriana have learned: “A law firm can’t scale or achieve its maximum potential if it is bottlenecked by leadership that can’t delegate or empower its employees effectively.”
The major impact of investing in their leadership has been a unified alignment with the firm’s mission and vision. This clarity has been instrumental in elevating BBA Immigration’s daily operations and driving home the importance of each incremental step toward realizing their clients’ aspirations in the United States.
As Diego and Adriana conclude, “Our engagement with Crisp has been invaluable in sharpening our focus on what it takes to be effective leaders.”