2023 Power 50: Ivette Olmeda
May 1, 2023 : Worcester Business Journal
While eyes were on Worcester’s Canal District and Polar Park, from 2019 to 2022 Ivette Olmeda was busy in the city’s Main South neighborhood where she served as a TDI fellow for MassDevelopment, directing funding and helping to provide services to local small businesses. She founded the Main South Business Association and handed it off to the group’s leadership. The TDI program helps with economic development in disenfranchised commercial districts in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities.
Title: Senior fellow, Transformative Development Initiative (TDI)
Colleges: InterAmerican University in Puerto Rico, Clark University in Worcester
After the Main South TDI district graduated from the program, Olmeda was appointed to help another Worcester neighborhood along Pleasant Street in the vicinity of Piedmont Street. She is bringing the neighborhood together and providing funding for businesses. She will oversee grants of $2,000-$5,000 to minority- and woman-owned businesses to support operating expenses, new signage, and fresh paint.
Olmeda migrated to Worcester from Puerto Rico 35 years ago and uses her experience, empathy, and knowledge to help others in Worcester neighborhoods that are too often overlooked.
How should professionals best use the power they wield? “We have the opportunity to break barriers and be connectors for the community. Businesses are uniquely positioned to use their power as a community resource to build relationships, create trust, and engage vulnerable populations. We can restore community connections, uplift leaders, and build pathways through relationship building and resource sharing.”
Dancing queen: “I love to dance and secretly hoped one day to participate in a local 'Dancing with the Stars'-type event. Dancing really helps me to reduce stress and takes me to another world where I’m so relaxed I feel like I’m among the clouds.”