During unprecedented times, people look to their leaders to provide reassurance and inspiration. As President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN), Gloria Perez seeks to deliver that level of leadership optimism to WFMN employees, stakeholders, grant recipients and those they serve.
Perez, who began this role in February, is a nationally recognized expert in helping women and girls achieve sustainable self-sufficiency and success. Her philosophy around leadership optimism stems from having a deep well of personal and professional experience handling adversity – and helping others achieve the same. “Good leaders inspire optimism in others,” she says.
Perez can readily see the intrinsic good in others, and even during tough times. Case in point: she regularly notes signs of goodness amid the global pandemic. “We have witnessed countless acts of kindness, reminding us that we are all in this together,” she says. “It is those many kindnesses – neighbors helping neighbors, people donating supplies to health care workers, people singing to one another in their neighborhoods – that make me optimistic that we will weather this crisis, together.”
Perez brings that same spirit of vibrant optimism to WFMN’s efforts to increase opportunities for women and girls in Minnesota – despite a world of uncertainty. “Unprecedented times are an ‘opportunity’ to really prioritize the important things, and our belief that working together can solve any problem,” she says.
As the first and largest statewide women’s foundation in the country, WFMN drives innovative solutions through grant-making, research and public policy to create a world of opportunity, safety and leadership for Minnesota women and girls. In 2019, WFMN invested more than $2.54 million in grants to multiple community-based organizations in Minnesota and impacted the lives of 437,000+ Minnesotans.
Bucket of Goodwill
Winner: The entire Breakfast Broadcast Audience
Donation: $5,000 to Feeding America