Latinx Spotlight Series: Michelle Martinez
We are so proud to be able to spotlight Latinx professionals and all the work they do! Today’s spotlight is about Michelle Martinez, Founder and CEO of Room.
Can you give us a brief background and introduction about yourself?
MM: My name is Michelle Martinez and I am the CEO and Founder of Room.
At Room, we help organizations create authentic space for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion while also working with our membership of political professionals of color to develop the careers they deserve. I’m originally from Puerto Rico and raised in Orlando, Florida. I graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Political Science and Minor in French. I’m a super passionate person. I love people, I believe in people, and I like finding ways to make things work better.
What made you get involved in politics?
MM: In 2003, the US invaded Iraq. I was living abroad at the time and when I would fly back and forth I became really worried about the rhetoric and atmosphere I was seeing in the USA. So, I decided to work for John Kerry in 2004 in much the same way someone would choose to do Teach For America. I had no idea it would become a lifelong career!
Why did you choose this line of work?
MM: Initially, it was out of a sense of duty, however, I’ve continued to choose this work because creating positive change is how I want to spend my time.
What has been the best part/best memory of your career so far?
MM: Probably starting my own business and seeing how it’s helped people. If you have an idea and people keep telling you that you should open your own shop – do it!
What had you wished you had known about getting involved in politics as a Latina?
MM: That racism and sexism exist even in progressive circles.
What advice do you have for young Latinxs looking to get into politics?
MM: Creating your network is your #1 job regardless of what your title actually is.
Believe in yourself. Believe in your voice. Believe in your ideas. Believe in your point of view. And then go find people who believe in you, too.
Lastly, for fun, what’s your favorite Latin American food dish?
MM: My mom’s arroz con habichuelas, amarillos, y alitas!
Make sure to catch up on all our interviews!