Hispanic Heritage Month LeadBoston Spotlight: Maricely Pérez-Alers
Maricely Pérez-Alers (LeadBoston Class of 2019) spoke with YW Boston about her heritage, accomplishments as an entrepreneur, restauranteur, and physical therapist, and her experience with LeadBoston.
What personal or professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
When it comes to upward economic mobility, I am proud of the contributions I’ve made to my community. As a committed member of the Jamaica Plain community in Boston, I co-own three restaurants with my husband. We pioneered the implementation of a “hospitality fee” to narrow the wage gap between the front and back-of-house workers, a long-standing problem in the restaurant industry.
My community work extends to helping women find their voice again. I serve on the Board of Directors of Rosie’s Place, a highly regarded and influential safe haven for impoverished homeless women searching for new ways to find opportunity and security in their lives. I am the Chief Sustainability Officer of Upham’s Community Care. I have seen the impact a consumer-driven, health-integrated system has on improving patient’s health and quality of life. I am a triathlete and avid martial arts practitioner, with an inquisitive mind; I am an entrepreneur, restauranteur, and physical therapist with a unique perspective on current and local issues.
If you could pick a personal motto or favorite quote, what would it be?
One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
How has your Hispanic or Latinx background shaped you? Has it had any influence in your accomplishments?
My upbringing in Puerto Rico, bilingual skills, educational trajectory, and professional training provide me with a unique lens, and the capacity to weave together cross-sectional solutions to address Boston’s inequities and inequalities.
What were your reasons for joining LeadBoston and what was your biggest takeaway from the program?
At the time, I was eager to begin my next chapter in life. Lead Boston’s mission to equip today’s progressive leaders with the knowledge, skill sets, and vision to make a lasting contribution to society, while addressing racial inequities inspired me. The biggest takeaway is: This is a movement; there is so much to do and learn.
What are you reading, watching, or listening to right now?
I am watching La Reina del Sur (The Queen of the South) and La Ingobernable (The Ungovernable), both with Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, and Spy Ops, a documentary series. I am reading GRIT, the power of passion and perseverance by Angela Duckworth, and Code Name Blue Wren by Jim Popkin. My weekly podcast is Think Fast. Talk Smart: Communication Techniques by Matt Abrahams, Stanford University.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I can hold a headstand for almost 2 minutes. When I was 8-10 years old, I found a pearl inside an oyster. I have it as a pendant
Our signature leadership program, LeadBoston, supports all individual participants as they create and implement a leadership commitment. This leadership commitment is an action plan that confronts some of the systemic inequities they’ve learned about and that are showing up in their organization. This plan, and the collective LeadBoston experience, empowers leaders to create meaningful change in their workplaces, in their communities, and in the city of Boston itself. Staff work alongside alums for a year following the program to ensure participants have what they need to see their plan through.
We are currently accepting applications for the LeadBoston class of 2024! Click here to learn more.