March 21, 2024

"My job became so much easier when I allowed myself to show up as me." - Hermese Velasquez. 

Celebrating Women's History... today, this month, and every day!

Women's History Month is a time to reflect, celebrate, and acknowledge the contributions of women throughout history, as well as shine the light on those making an impact now and for future generations.

This year, we're honored to share an authentic and engaging conversation between two of our leaders at Summer Search: Hermese Velasquez, Boston Executive Director and Alumna, and Ursulina Ramirez, CEO.

Recorded in early March, against the backdrop of a drizzly New York morning and the calm of Boston, this candid discussion featured a mix of love, support, admiration, reflection, skepticism, and celebration. We invite you to view the full conversation below.

Conversation Highlights

[0:00 - 2:35] Question 1: What does Women's History Month Mean to You?

Hermese: "Because the rest of the world might need [Women’s History Month], I am here for it. I’m here to celebrate it...but I do have to hold the balance that for me personally, it is more than a month."

Ursulina: "I aspire for a time in the world where we don’t need to carve out specific months to celebrate cultures, races, people... meaning that we’re celebrating them all the time. But, if where we’re at right now as a society is that we need to spend a month to celebrate the women who have added major contributions to this world, let’s do it...I always learn more in these affinity months."

Read Ursulina's personal Women's History Month reflection from 2023 >>

[2:35 - 11:53] Question 2: What Women Inspire You?

Hermese: "Maya Angelou comes to mind every single time. I think she has just contributed so much to me personally, to who I am. The poem 'Still I Rise' is in my living room. It will stay there forever."

Ursulina: "I've just been really blessed to work with a lot of amazing women in leadership roles... mostly people who are incredibly authentic... People in New York City that I love like Kathryn Garcia (Director of State Operations for the state of New York)... and Angelica Infante-Green (State Education Commissioner of Rhode Island)... Women who are in hard jobs, making hard decisions, showing up at themselves."

Hermese: "My job became so much easier when I allowed myself to show up as me." [mic drop!]

"All of the women leaders [that] I partner with every single day [at Summer Search Boston] have a component of self-awareness, of thoughtful leadership, and they're all in it to serve the young people and to serve the team."

Kathryn Garcia
Angelica Infante-Green
Summer Search Boston Women Leaders

[11:55 - 15:12] Question 3: What Advice Would You Give to Young Women Leaders?

Hermese: "Keep at it. There are so many moments where we leave the office... And we're going to ponder whether or not this leadership thing is is right for me... And I want the answer to always be 'yes'!"

Ursulina: "Continue to make yourself uncomfortable... take that next step when someone is offering you a new challenge. We grow in the discomfort."

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