51. Be Fearless with Meralis Hood, CEO, EforAll

podcast May 4, 2023

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How can we move from imposter syndrome to being fearless as a CEO?


For this Women of Color Rise episode, Analiza talks with Meralis Hood, CEO of EforAll, a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate economic and social impact through inclusive entrepreneurship. Before EforAll, Meralis was the market president for City Year. Meralis was born and raised in Milwaukee after her mother was recruited from Puerto Rico to serve as a bilingual educator in the city. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and an Education Specialist degree in educational leadership and administration from National Louis University.


Meralis shares how her darkest moments struggling with mental health, self-harm, and losing her home were pivotal to how she shows up today as a CEO and mom. Meralis shares her path to being fearless:

  • Know that these dark moments are a gift. As bad as they were, she survived and will survive anything else that comes her way. So whatever is in her path today, go for it. As a CEO for EforAll, she is leading her team to go from serving 500 entrepreneurs to 50,000. Instead of fearing this goal, Meralis is inspiring her team to be fearless. She shares with them, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

  • Invest in therapy, mindfulness, and meditation. These weekly and daily practices have helped Meralis notice her thoughts and to release those that don’t serve her, such as not believing in herself. Meralis and her husband also invest in weekly therapy for their daughter.

  • Unlearn myths taught to her by her mom such as needing to be perfect. Struggling with perfectionism led Meralis to not be vulnerable, which prevented her from connecting with others and developing relationships. Now, Meralis has learned to share and to do so with boundaries (knowing who to share with, when, and how much). This has helped Meralis to connect with people at work and in her life, ask for help, and build a strong community.

  • Believe that she belongs. If she truly believes in social justice and belonging, she needs to model what it means to feel included. As a CEO, she has learned to overcome imposter syndrome, own her strengths, and believe that she deserves to be here.


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