Leading by building Community
Title: National Schools Account Manager
Organization: American Massage Therapy Association
Belem G. Paramo Vela is a passionate, energetic, warm-hearted, and extroverted queer Latina. She was born in Mexico, and her family moved to Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood when she was 1. In 2012, she received DACA status, and she became a U.S. citizen in 2021.
Paramo graduated with an associate’s degree from Richard J. Daley College in 2012 and completed a medical assistant certificate program from the Illinois School of Health Careers in 2008.
Paramo worked at McDonald’s as the First Assistant Manager for six years where she managed and coached a team of over 70 team members. She completed an Advanced Management Certificate from Hamburger University in 2010. Part of her certificate program was to design a profitability model.
Paramo is currently the national schools account manager at the American Massage Therapy Association, the largest nonprofit association serving massage therapists, massage students, and massage schools across the country for over 80 years. There she serves as a liaison to over 575 massage schools in the United States and Puerto Rico. She leads a team of two who oversee student engagement and relationships with schools.
Paramo is one of two Latinas in leadership at AMTA. In 2015, she identified an opportunity to expand AMTA into Puerto Rico. In eight years, AMTA built a market of over 20 massage schools, over 700 massage therapy students, and over 500 massage therapists in that market.
Paramo strongly believes in giving back to the community through community service and volunteerism. In 2012, she joined the Cook County Court Appointed Special Advocate program for foster children, where she was paired with families and was responsible for advocating on behalf of the children for all personal needs. She regularly met with school personnel, counselors, and adults in the children’s lives to ensure basic needs such as housing, safe living conditions, and meals.
In 2020, Paramo became a Club Council member of the True Value Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Little Village. Paramo is also the creator of BLemfitcamp, a small summer program that provides an intimate space for women.
Words of wisdom: Success is different for everyone. Don’t restrict or sell yourself short because it doesn’t look like someone else’s success story. Be true to yourself and make it your own.