Our Mentors


Ms.Amanda & Ms. Paula @” Cool Women Hot Jobs” Event at TYWLS BRONX

Ms.Amanda & Ms. Paula @” Cool Women Hot Jobs” Event at TYWLS BRONX

You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.
— Brené Brown

Amanda S. Perez
Founder & Executive Program director

Hi! I am a Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised Latina. I am currently a Business student at Bronx Community College and a member of the Community Outreach Leadership team at my church, “The Gathering Harlem”. When I could no longer ignore the rapid, systematic, economical, and cultural change The Bronx was facing, as a result of gentrification, I became a Real Estate Agent. I can easily say I’ve spent most of my career in R.E serving families, living in the NYC Shelter system, in seeking permanent housing.

I founded LadiesintheLead in 2015, when it was just a hashtag and an idea. I absolutely love to empower urban women and their desires to monetize their passions, but after many successful pop-up events, I decided to put LITL on hold. God put a bigger vision in my heart. Coming from what would easily be labeled a “broken home”, (Prison, Domestic violence, Substance abuse,) and a very low income family, I was able to break through many of the obstacles I faced because of what I like to call “God’s strategically placed mentors”. I was given opportunities and chances when I didn’t believe I was worthy or deserving of them. It was those genuine relationships that I built, with different women during my youth, that helped mold me into the woman I am today.

The vision that God has placed on my heart with Ladiesinthelead Inc. is a community of women, from all walks of life - no matter age, belief, or color - coming together to raise each other and reestablish that “Village” foundation. I believe major changes need to happen, in and outside of our education system, to fully nourish and equip our girls to become powerful women. With the help of my partner, Ms. Vanessa Paula, we have curated a program that I believe will do just that.

Vanessa Paula
Co Executive Program Director

South Bronx bred and NYCHA raised, I am a Latina rose that sprung through the crevices of the concrete jungle. I started out as yet another "negative statistic" from the Bronx.  As a teenage mom, I refused to accept my circumstances so I hustled hard and made my heart strong to survive a hood that was plagued by poverty, drugs, gang activity, and the elephant no one wanted to address: the mental health of our community.  

With my little girl in tow, I graduated from Baruch College/CUNY with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (2008) and followed that up with Master’s of Science in Childhood Education (2010) from Lehman College/CUNY, and a Master’s of Science in School Counseling (2015). In 2008, I started my career with the New York City Department of Education as a 6th Grade Literacy teacher in a high need area of the Bronx. In 2012, I became a founding teacher at The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx. I was awarded the Blue Ribbon Award:Teacher Excellence for Advancement of All Girls’ Public Education and had the privilege of sharing my words of wisdom as a Keynote Speaker for Graduating Class of 2013 at a Bronx middle school. My passion to nurture the social emotional development of my students led me to begin a new career as a School Counselor. My daughter and I were featured in the Student Leadership Network 2015 (Em) Power Breakfast Film:The Voice Inside. “Never forget where you come from” is why my entire career has been dedicated to serving the children and families of the Bronx.

I believe that my story is a testimony that no matter what you have been through, you can change your narrative and break the cycle. With the combination of that “Bronx Girl Hustle and Heart” and the love and support of the strong women around me that helped me and still continue to lift me up. That is why I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of Ladies in the Lead Inc. and the importance of mentorship. It's time to look that elephant in the eyes and bring the healing our community deserve! Alongside my partner Ms. Amanda Perez, I am confident we will equip our girls with the tools to make their “Bronx Girl Hustle and Heart” strong and support them in changing their own narratives, so that they may be able to #LoveitForward and make the world a better place. 

“Every woman who heals herself, helps heal all women who came before her, and all those who come after her.” -Christiane Northrup