LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2024) — Melissa Perez is a media and account service coordinator at Red7e, an advertising agency in downtown Louisville.

Perez credits her academic success and professional journey to her parents. Without the ability to speak English, her parents immigrated from Mexico to Shelbyville, Ky. decades ago.

“Unfortunately they were only able to get a seventh grade education because that’s what was being offered there at the time,” Perez said. “They didn’t want their kids to live that life, in poverty and not really having an education.”

Perez, the oldest of six children, learned from her parents work ethic and dedication to their family.

“What I’ve learned from my parents is everything they’ve done, they’ve done for a reason and a purpose,” Perez said. “That’s inspired me to go for my education. They really value education because it is something they didn’t have growing up.”

 

She put a high-priority on her education, and decided to attend Spalding University to study business administration after graduating high school.

“It’s known as the school of compassion, that was one of the things that stood out to me,” Perez said of Spalding University. “There were things that felt at home to me.”

After receiving her undergraduate degree, Perez then pursued her Master’s Degree in Business Communications at Spalding, focusing on organizational leadership.

Perez is now a part of YPAL’s Emerging Leaders Program as a member of the 2024 Spring cohort. She wants to make a difference in her community in hopes of giving more Latino people opportunities in the future.

“Louisville is upcoming, I have been to cities like Chicago, Nashville and Atlanta, and I can see there is representation in those communities, I don’t get to see as many who look like me, that’s one the reasons I have pushed myself to be that face,” Perez said. “I want to be in the first steps for the future so other people can see that ‘she’s doing it, well I can do it too.’ That’s more important to me.”

She encourages people to be open-minded, optimistic, willing to learn and ready to embrace their journey.

Perez has enjoyed her time at Red7e. She said it feels like home to her after working in customer service, retail and office management. The world of media and advertising gives Perez the chance to use her creative talents.

“No idea is wrong, which is really crazy because I feel like I’ve been other places where my ideas were shut down or pushed to the side,” Perez said. “It’s a creative outlet where everyone can express their opinions and have a voice at the table.”

As her parents are for her, Perez wants to be a mentor for people in Louisville to help it capitalize on its potential.

“When I know there is a reason for doing it and I’m representing the Latino community, it gives me pride in that,” Perez said. “So I want to keep doing that.”