Alice Perez

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This Sacramento State alumna and manager for SMUD volunteers her time to groups that change people’s lives.

 
In her 45 years, Alice Perez has rubbed elbows with President George W. Bush, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She has raised five children, launched a successful multicultural banking group for U.S. Bank and worked her way up the ladder at Sacramento Municipal Utility District where she was recently promoted to manager of customer strategy.
She also has served on the boards of numerous professional and community service organizations, including the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the California Student Aid Commission and the Center for Fathers and Families.

Recently, Perez received Sacramento State’s Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes alumni who’ve made notable contributions to the campus and the community. She was one of nine individuals selected for the honor this year. For me, [receiving the award] was very humbling, because I do what I do for the community, not for any recognition, says Perez, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and insurance from the university in 1999.

 

Perez says she’s passionate about a lot of causes, but the organizations that grab her attention&emdash;and benefit from her limited time&emdash;have to demonstrate a commitment to making real change happen. For me, the proof is in the pudding, she says. When an organization can show they are changing lives and making an impact by touching people, that means they’re action-oriented.

Several years ago, Perez formed a friendship with a young woman who had heard her speak at a conference for women entering or re-entering the work force. Perez offered to role-play and practice interviewing with her and gave her some business suits. After the woman got the job she was seeking, the two lost contact. Then, in February, a friend called to tell Perez she had met this woman. She told my friend that I had been an inspiration to her to not continue to be a victim of her surroundings. She left an abusive relationship and moved to San Francisco, where she now has the confidence and strength to do all the great things in life she was meant to do, including volunteering regularly at a women’s shelter, Perez says. You never know how or when you will touch someone’s life.