SAVE THE DATE | WBDC 2024 Midwest Business Conference 9.12.24

Success Stories

Maricela Perez of Santa Maria Health

The story of Santa Maria Health began in 2017 when its passionate founder, Maricela Perez, decided to open her own business in psychiatric mental health services. Armed with 35 years of nursing experience, now a Board Certified Psychiatric Mental-Health nurse practitioner, she has always had an interest in mental health. Her journey into mental wellness commenced when she served as a parish nurse. Her time as a parish nurse allowed her to not just see patients from a medical standpoint but to perceive them as whole beings, encompassing their spiritual and emotional dimensions. This profound insight into the interconnectedness of health would serve as the cornerstone of her future practice. 

What sets Maricela apart is her unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion. While her services are not exclusive to any particular group, her fluency in Spanish has been a magnet for a diverse array of patients. Many clients come to her through referrals from therapists, while others are drawn by her shared cultural background and experiences. Patients often come in with preconceived notions, but she takes pride in providing them with choices and truly listening to their needs. In the realm of mental health, where diagnoses can be complex, she relies on her patients’ narratives, always tries to respond from a place of compassion. 

Maricela is a 2023 graduate of WBDC’s ScaleHigher program, offered by the WBC Aurora in partnership with Dunham Fund & the Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber. This cohort empowered the practice to address crucial business aspects, including website enhancements, email systems, and employee development. In Maricela’s own words, “ScaleHigher helped Santa Maria Health improve its professional presence. Although we had already worked very hard to provide great clinical and compassionate mental-health services, we needed to improve the business side.” 

Participating in the ScaleHigher program brought not only knowledge but also crucial support. Francisco, a facilitator in ScaleHigher, initially overwhelmed her with discussions about cybersecurity, but he turned out to be precisely what Santa Maria Health needed to ensure its growth and security.  

The $1500 scholarship provided by WBDC allowed Santa Maria Health to revamp its website, creating a more professional online presence. The practice is now poised to embrace the future, with plans to train students who can eventually become invaluable assets as employees, further expanding its reach and impact. 

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