Paying it Forward: Evelyn Perez
Sometimes the labels of coach or mentor aren’t strong enough when describing individuals who take on these critical roles in our lives. Consider Evelyn Perez, who retired from MIT in 2009 after several decades at the Institute. The impact she had on MIT employees, and on countless Institute initiatives over the years, led colleagues to describe her as an “MIT ambassador.”1
Perez began her career at MIT in 1963 as a secretary in Civil and Environmental Engineering. From there, she held several positions, including personnel officer, administrative officer, and assistant dean in the School of Science. Her final position at MIT was as the special projects director for the Provost’s Office. In each of these roles, Perez had a lasting influence. Maria Clara Venezuela, an MIT retiree who worked as a Coop sales clerk in the 1960s, recalls getting to know Perez as a regular customer who would drop off her film for developing. Perez encouraged Venezuela to apply for a job at MIT and then interviewed her, which ultimately led to Venezuela working at the Institute for more than 20 years.
Others remember Perez for her work on the HR/Payroll SAP project and on feedback and performance. Based on findings from a 1991 retreat for minority administrators, an Institute-wide effort was initiated to openly discuss performance reviews. Perez was integral to this effort. Regardless of her position at MIT, Perez never stopped learning—she attended classes so she could continue to develop her skills and pass on information to others.
Upon retiring, Perez relocated to Florida. Her colleagues remember her for helping so many navigate the complexities of MIT; for paying it forward by nurturing other administrators; and for working to make MIT be the best it could be. She is remembered for being an ambassador.
Presented by Human Resources at MIT
1. MIT Rewards & Recognition Program
2. Association of MIT Retirees, Memoir Collection, January 2014 #6