1. Yissel Guerrero: What is this America? What is this American Dream? Patrick Huey 43:33

She was In the Room Where it Happened

In 2020, not long after graduating from Emory University, with her Poly Sci degree in hand, and after studying at the School for International Training in Geneva, Switzerland, Yissel Guerrero found herself not only with a courtside side seat to history, but she became a significant player in the epic drama that was unfolding on her home turf in Boston, MA. The city, one of America’s oldest, like all the other American cities faced the greatest health crisis of a century with Covid-19 and then the staggering social unrest that gripped the country following the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders. Serving in Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration she covered from Beacon Hill and Back Bay to Mission Hill and Fenway and would later serve as the administration’s Liaison to the State Government of Massachusetts at the height of the pandemic. As she says, she was there when the realization came to the State of Massachusetts of just how bad Covid-19 would be, “Hold on! Everything has shifted.” And she was there every day showing up to work as a virulent pandemic gripped the city and claimed the lives of thousands of Bostonians. Not sure if she would contract the virus, she bore the risk of infection because she felt a calling to serve. She was there until the end, when Mayor Marty Walsh was tapped by President-Elect Joe Biden to serve in his administration as the Secretary of Labor.

When I ask her about the unusual perspective she has had on history and the historic turns her life has taken and continues to do so today before she is even 30 years old, her response is humble, yet clear and pointed, “We exist in excellence, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see our level of achievement.” That “we” she is referring to are the other first-generation immigrants who make up a significant portion of the population of Boston. Kids whose parents came to America for a dream of opportunity and a belief in a better way of life, and then passed those ideals on to their children. And now those same kids are running with the baton to build a city, indeed a world, of inclusion that makes space for all their dreams, and all the dreams their parents couldn’t dream.

Yissel describes her entry into the political world as Jesus bamboozling her. She credits her church, her faith, and her mom with opening the doors that led to her unusual life. It was her pastor who told her that she was born for a time such as this. And she took him at his word. What will she do next? You mean after her MBA in Social Impact is complete this year? Like many of her generation (and Drake) will tell you – We’ll see what’s about to happen next.

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Patrick Huey Global Hospitality Executive, Creator & Host At the Podium Podcast

With over 20 years of experience in the global luxury hospitality and wellness industries, Patrick has built a dynamic career as an international leader within this elite field, running multimillion-dollar operations successfully by delivering the highest levels of performance and guest satisfaction.

Patrick has worked for such iconic brands as Four Seasons Hotels, Montage Resorts, Equinox and Sandals Resorts.Patrick serves as Chairman of the Board for the International Spa Association – the premier spa association with a presence in over 70 countries that fosters the development and professionalism of the global spa and wellness industries.

Patrick holds a Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama in Acting and a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University in Creative/Nonfiction Writing, English Literature and Theatre.

He is also the Creator and Host of the podcast and video podcast “At the Podium with Patrick Huey” which has reached over 600,000 people since its inception in 2021. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube, the show and its weekly newsletter focus on sharing the stories of people from a diverse background of lives, careers and experiences who have stepped boldly into saying “yes” to the unexpected and transformational detours of their lives.