Julissa Perez

Senior Director, Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement

As a child, I always gravitated towards writing and journalism. My family highly discouraged these aspirations because where we come from, there’s no such thing as freedom of the press. I then went to a career and technical education high school with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Pretty quickly I was on my way to become an Industrial Engineer. It wasn’t until I participated in the Model New York State Senate project that I discovered my passion for public policy and building systems that support humanity. After finishing my bachelor’s in Political Science at Baruch College, I had my eyes set on law school. Then I had the opportunity to work in economic development and I quickly realized that building pathways to economic prosperity was my calling. After finishing a master’s degree in Public Administration at New York University, I also became a career coach and an instructional designer, working with young people to build a more equitable and sustainable economy. As for that eight year-old version of me who loved writing and journalism, I’ve channeled that energy into every policy brief, grant proposal, and opinion piece I’ve had the pleasure of producing over the last decade. This non-linear career trajectory is what fuels my passion for experiential learning and stackable credentialing and what makes me really excited about joining the team at NAF.