Juana Matias and her family, fueled by hope and in search of the American dream, migrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States in the late 1980’s.
To provide for the family, her parents obtained blue-collar jobs in the Greater Lawrence area. Her father, a chemical engineer, worked as a Machine Operator for 17 years in Malden Mills (Polartec). Her mother, a former accountant worked for Central Metal Finishing as a precision finisher. After years of work, her parents started a small family business. Their teachings and entrepreneurial experience demonstrated to Juana that success could be reached through hard work and the attainment of an education.
From an early age Juana acquired from her parents strong values and work ethic. She internalized a passion and desire to learn, to be tenacious and to contribute to her community. She got her first job at 11-years-old as papergirl for the Eagle Tribune.
In 2009, Juana received a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Boston. During college Juana served as the Undergraduate Student Government President, advocating for student interests and overseeing a $900k student activity budget. She also served as an intern for the Executive Office of Governor Deval Patrick, where she assisted with the preparation of internal/external events and public relation matters. Her college experience included studying abroad at the Hessen International University program in Marburg, Germany and Hochschule Fulda, Germany.
In 2008, Juana was selected as one out of 22 women to be part of the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s Latina’s Learning to Lead Fellowship Program. The National Hispana Leadership Institute was established in 1987 to “develop Latinas as ethical leaders through training, professional development, relationship building and community activism.”
After college Juana worked as a Social Worker serving the Lawrence community. In this position she worked with children who had suffered abuse, neglect and were in the custody of the Department of Children & Families. She provided foster children and foster parents with a wide range of support and social services. This experience further instilled in her that through her work and dedication she had the capacity to make a difference in the lives of others.
In 2014, she received her Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School. While pursuing her law school degree Juana served as a Student Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, where she represented the Commonwealth in a range of criminal matters. Juana also gained experience in the corporate world while working for 5 months during the summer of 2012 for J. Sagar Associates a top Indian Corporate Law firm in Bangalore, India.
After graduating law school, Juana continued her commitment to the public sector by working as a Justice Americorps Legal Advocate for Central West Justice Center and Affiliate of Community Legal Aid. There she served as an immigration advocate seeking humanitarian based immigration relief for unaccompanied children in removal proceedings. The justice AmeriCorps program is a joint initiative of the Department of Justice and AmeriCorps. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Matias Enterprises, LLC. a residential and commercial construction services company.
Juana’s is committed to continue to dedicate her professional career to serving the public and fighting for others.