Lynn’s Frances Martinez honored as Commonwealth Heroine

Frances Martinez, executive director of NSLBA, speaks during the flag raising ceremony to commemorate 176 years of independence for the Dominican Republic. (Spenser Hasak)

Each year the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women partners with state legislators to honor women who make outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities through its “Commonwealth Heroines” awards. 

The commission’s rallying cry is, “They may not always make the news, but they most assuredly make a difference.”

The women are described as those who use their time, talent, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities, and towns. They are mentors, volunteers, and innovators who do what needs to be done, without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community has them.”  

This is the 17th year of the commission’s Commonwealth Heroines program. Due to the pandemic, plans for a live awards ceremony were scrapped in favor of a virtual ceremony.

Among the women honored is Lynn’s Frances Martinez, president and CEO of the North Shore Latino Business Association. 

“Frances is a leader in the business community in the city of Lynn,” said Rep. Daniel Cahill of Lynn, who nominated her. “She is someone I’ve known to be a fierce advocate for Latino women and men-owned businesses. She rarely seeks the limelight or the credit for improvements in the business climate in Greater Lynn, but she’s someone who we in government work well with, and we greatly respect her opinions, and look to her as a partner in improving the economics of our city.”

Martinez was born in New York to Dominican parents. Since the early 1990s, she has worked with the immigrant community, specifically Latino  families.

She is a co-founder of La Vida Scholars — the first Latino college prep program designed for honors students in the city of Lynn.

The NSLBA is among the most active associations on the basis of active membership and overall to its membership. It serves as the voice for Latin businesses and professionals, advocates for opportunities that set them at a higher level, and provides quality workshops, high top events, innovative programs and services and useful and tangible resources that enhance business growth.

“I am very honored and happy,” said Martinez. “Any recognition always means my parents and my family will be feeling proud of the effort to help  my community grow, and continue to be united. 

“For me, this means a lot,” she said. “The pandemic has been overwhelming. This impacts my members very much. What I did, and continue to do, is to be as proactive as I can and find resources to help them assistance. I’m doing everything I can to keep them in business, and informed, and safe. It’s been non-stop.

Martinez is married to Felix Martinez. They have three children.


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