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Mariangely Solis Cervera ‘12 leading Boston’s Equity Cabinet

Boston mayor appoints her as the city’s chief of equity and inclusion

March 31, 2022

As a shy and quiet person growing up, Mariangely Solis Cervera ‘12 recalls the nerves that would ensue at the thought of doing something out of her comfort zone, such as public speaking.

Today, Cervera leads as the chief of equity and inclusion for the city of Boston’s Equity and Inclusion Cabinet, which aims to advance racial justice and social, economic and health equity citywide.

A vital shift in her development as a leader happened while a student at Mount Saint Mary’s University. Mount faculty believed in her and consistently encouraged her to believe in her own potential, Cervera said.

“I was very shy. I would shake and cry whenever I had to do public speaking,” she said. “But I remember Faraah Mullings (Chalon’s former director of student programming and commuter services), for example, asking me about doing a job that was all about doing fun, external programming.

Mariangeley Solis Cervera '12 overcame her shyness and fear of public speaking and is now Boston's chief of equity and inclusion
Mariangeley Solis Cervera '12 overcame her shyness and fear of public speaking and is now Boston's chief of equity and inclusion

“It was completely opposite of the person I was. I said no, but she wouldn’t let up. There was something about her  seeing the potential in me that — I firmly believe it in my heart — changed the trajectory of my life. I could have gotten a job that didn’t push me outside of my comfort zone.”

In that same spirit, meeting people where they are and helping pave the way for positive change is what Cervera said she is carrying into her role as chief of equity and inclusion.

“I think it’s important to ask what we are doing in positions of leadership to make sure that young girls who might come off as really shy then feel like they can do anything,” said Cervera. “What do I need to do to make sure that I am inviting others to really realize their own power?”

The Mount alumna began her role in January after being appointed by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. “She brings a passion for meeting people where they are and getting to the heart of systemic change,” said Wu. “As we continue to build our team and get City Hall out of City Hall into our neighborhoods, we must urgently center equity in all of our city’s services.”

Cervera leads her cabinet in ensuring all city departments are doing work that is equitable and represents the diverse voices that make up Boston’s communities. The cabinet has secured a $200,00 grant for professional development and will soon announce the city’s inaugural Office of LGBTQ Affairs. The board is also working on a report that will offer recommendations on which areas Boston can improve to be a more equitable city.

Cervera, who said is a first-generation, queer Latina, holds an MEd in Education Policy and Management from Harvard, an MEd in Teacher Leadership from the University of St. Thomas and a BA in Sociology and Spanish from the Mount.