By: Evan J. Cutts
Recognized for the local and international impact of her work on Boston’s Dominican community, Massiel Torres Ulloa was listed as one El Mundo Boston’s 2017 Latino 30 Under 30.
The 23-year-old educator, communicator, organizer, and blogger describes herself as more of a “supporter of causes” than an “activist.” But her passion for social impact and love of her community has definitely made its mark.
Massiel’s efforts garnered much attention through her blog Yo Soy Bau, the platform she used to address women’s rights, kickstart community initiatives, such as the Dictionary Drive for sending books and dictionaries to the Dominican Republic, and other political concerns within the Dominican Republic.
Community projects like the Dictionary Drive have resulted in Massiel receiving acknowledgments from the City of Boston, including the 2016 Boston City Council Award for Dedication to the Dominican Community.
In recent years, Massiel has stepped away from her blog to refocus her mission and pursue other projects. “For some time, I struggled with the blog’s identity,” explains Massiel. “Since I’ve stepped away, I’ve asked myself: ‘How do I better communicate the balance between critical thinking and action?’ Ultimately, I don’t want to promote extreme views, nor apathy, to my audience. Nor do I want to oversimplify complex issues.”
Massiel’s struggles are evidence of the greater question facing many professionals in today’s global economy: ‘How can I be an effective communicator?’
It is often said that no matter what business we’re in, we are, first and foremost, in the people business. When dealing with people, we must be able to communicate clearly, effectively, and engagingly.
“When I was about sixteen, I realized that I wasn’t going to be happy if I wasn’t writing, talking to people, and getting to understand them,” she explained.
Massiel is, at her core, a writer and an artist. Communication is both her trade and her passion.
Another area of her work is her position as the AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Academic Enrichment Fellow at Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain.
“An important part of my work is providing tools to young students to build bridges to their goals, such as learning how to be independent learners and successful in school [and beyond]. Being an impactful communicator, in this space especially, is about listening and being genuine.”
Responsible for helping the youth reach their goals inside and outside of the classroom, Massiel trains new tutors, organizes workshops and interactive art events, and coordinates with public school teachers to help them better serve their students.
“[The bottom line is,] effective leadership is about relationships. When you’re leading people, rather than machines, you need to be a coach and a mentor and understand the capabilities of your team. If you understand that, you can create opportunities for considerable growth.”