Perla Martinez is Championing Diversity and Shaping Communities

Perla Martinez
Perla Martinez

Photo courtesy of Perla Martinez

Name: Perla Martinez
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Age: 36
Profession: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program Administrator at Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Neighborhood: Powell
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in English Language with a minor in Translation & Interpretation; Master’s Degree in Education
Favorite local spots in Columbus: I really enjoy the “hole in the wall” ethnic restaurants in Central Ohio. Those hidden gems that you only find through word of mouth or if you go out and explore the region. Some that come to mind are: El Jaliciense, Bangkok, Yemeni Restaurant, and Riziki Swahili Grill.
Community Involvement: New American Leadership Academy 2023 Cohort for the City of Columbus
Quote: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we’ve lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
Connect: LinkedIn

At 36, Perla Martinez, the Program Administrator at the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, is a trailblazer in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Born and raised in Mexico, her journey spans teaching English in rural Mexico to becoming the Language Interpreter Coordinator for the Domestic and Juvenile Court of Franklin County, showcasing her commitment to New American and Disabled communities.

Currently spearheading the County Futures initiative, Perla focuses on diversity recruitment, training, and retention. Family, including her wife, kids, and dogs, fuel her mornings while adding warmth to her unpredictable role. Unwinding involves walks with her dogs and quality time with friends, often accompanied by visits to hidden gem eateries like El Jaliciense and Riziki Swahili Grill, reflecting her love for Central Ohio’s diverse culinary scene.

Perla draws inspiration from her mother, receives mentorship from Damika Withers, her supervisor, and finds unwavering support from her wife. Engaging with books like “White Rage” and “Just Mercy” and tuning into podcasts like “The Daily” and “Everything Happens with Kate Bowler” keeps her intellectually stimulated.

Being chosen for the Next Up Columbus award, Perla sees this recognition as an opportunity to represent immigrants and New Americans, emphasizing their vital role in shaping the community. For her, the “pulse” of Columbus is embodied by its residents who contribute daily to the city’s greatness, reflecting the diverse and vibrant spirit of the community. Perla’s dedication to diversity and community development makes her a driving force in Columbus.

The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2023 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Quantum Health for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2023” »


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