January 11, 2022

The Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) is pleased to announce that Samilys Rodriguez has been hired as the Director for the organization's Eastern Massachusetts Women Business Center.

"Samilys will be leading partnership development with community organizations such as career centers and other small business supports, and professionals such as lenders, attorneys and accountants," Vice President of Program Operations Michelle Miller explains. "She will continue the long-standing, trusted work of the Women's Business Centers providing training and technical assistance to aspiring women entrepreneurs and women business owners, as they seek to launch and grow their businesses."

Rodriguez has been working in the greater Boston area for almost 15 years in supplier diversity and the construction space, and brings a robust network of contacts and substantial local knowledge to her position.

"I know firsthand through the interactions I've had in my networking and outreach with small and disadvantaged-owned businesses that women-owned businesses in particular face unique challenges, particularly in underrepresented industries like construction and engineering," says Rodriguez. "I'm hoping that I'm in a good position to really push the needle where it needs to be pushed and drive change forward."

Rodriguez adds that diversity and inclusion will be a major priority in her work. Her own experience in the construction industry as a woman of color, she explains, has driven her commitment to advocacy and understanding of resilience.

"Being the only woman in the room, but then adding to that, the only woman of color, at times can add a different layer and a different kind of barrier," Rodriguez explains. "I feel like going through this experience has really given me a unique lens and perspective of understanding women that are not only trying to enter a non-traditional space but grow and succeed within that place. For me I really get to empathize a lot deeper, there's a deeper connection there, and there's also a stronger passion for advocacy."

As the director of Eastern MA's WBC, Rodriguez hopes to instill confidence and fearlessness in the business owners that she works with. She sees the economic change driven by the pandemic as an opportunity.

"I think that the most exciting part of this is that now we're seeing the market and the business world really open its arms more to women in business," Rodriguez says. "There seems to be a lot more social change happening and with that, women&'s experience in the marketplace hopefully will also change for the better."