Take a look at our featured Woman of the Week!
Alyssa Hernandez is a proud, queer, Latina from Detroit, Michigan.
She works as a Database Manager at Brilliant Detroit and it brings her joy everyday to be a part of something that connects Detroit families to literacy and family support resources.
She is a two-time alumnae from Michigan State University (MSU) where she received both her Bachelor’s in Family Community Services and her Master’s in Business Administration.
She finds the most passion and sense of purpose when her work leads to young people, and ultimately their families and communities, having access to opportunities they need.
Growing up in Detroit, she took advantage of every opportunity to meet new people and have adventures. Her experiences with summer camps at MSU led to her falling in love with college-life and having a desire for a fulfilling work-life from an early age.
During college, she spent most of the summers managing the summer camp staff for many of the programs that she had been a part of, and she was even a Lego Robotics Coach!
Her parents get all of the credit for driving her back and forth from Lansing every summer and supporting her every step of the way.
She also credits her favorite teachers and her early mentors through Southwest Detroit Girl Scouts, Detroit’s MANA Mentoring Program at Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, and Detroit’s Young Engineers and Scientists Program for engaging her with all of the right attention and programming throughout her childhood experience. These experiences led to really positive things for her attitude towards her identity, education and self-esteem.
These experiences led to really positive things for her attitude towards her identity, education and self-esteem.
Alyssa’s post-graduate career journey began in 2010 as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Volusia/Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless in Daytona Beach, Florida, where she helped create intentional space for folks experiencing homelessness to speak safely on their own experiences, barriers and needs with all forms of community stakeholders.
She also helped manage events that gave hundreds of people the ability to access all of their personal identification documents for no charge through the IDignity program. She learned a lot about how people could not get housing, food, jobs, healthcare or daycare without an ID card.
Upon returning to Detroit, she pursued experiences that would give her solid experience in localized community building. Her recent work has played out in many forms including:
grassroots people organizing for campaigns (about respecting human rights of people who are undocumented and raising the minimum wage),
managing a Fellowship program for new organizers, engaging union members (shout out to the workers with SEIU Healthcare),
and supporting local campaigns for elected officials in Detroit and Macomb County.
One of the most rewarding experiences was working with SER Metro-Detroit as a career coach where she helped hundreds of young Detroiters finish high school/GED and find stable employment.
Alyssa credits her sister and brother for giving her a lot of special encouragement and support along the way throughout her career-life.
She has lived positive results from having a steady drive for success and a supportive community. Though her method of impact may vary, her goal is always to stay focused on being more helpful than harmful in her community impact.
The skills that she credits the most in her success are her ability to act out of genuine care and concern for other people and her ability to walk into any room and find people to talk to.
Relationship building is definitely a solid strength for her and she wants to always use her powers for good.
She recently became reengaged in her college sorority, Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc., particularly on the expansion team. (Shout out to Albion College’s Spring ‘22 line!)
Having a strong community of women who she can support and be actively supported by makes all of the difference in her happiness and wellness.
It also serves as a reminder of the generations of women who are following our lead, and the work that we need to do on balancing ourselves to make it a better, thriving future for all of us.