Carmen Sonia Martinez was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States in 1972, settling in the South Bronx, New York City. She later moved to Herkimer County, attended Herkimer County Community College, and graduated with an A.A.S degree in Travel & Tourism. Her 27 year career was in healthcare, working at Excellus BCBS until 2013, worked for the Utica City Schools District, as a Spanish Academic Coach until March 2019, and recently accepted the appointment as the first, Executive Director for the Mohawk Valley Latino Association. This has been a goal of Ms. Martinez since she has been in this role for the past 15 years as a volunteer President/Chairman/Executive Director. Ms. Martinez has two children, Cristina and Michael, and three grandchildren, Cristian, Gabriel and Ezequiel, all living in Utica also.
To address the issues of the lack of educational and cultural support services for area Latino residents, she co-founded the Mohawk Valley Latino Association (MVLA) along with three other Latino colleagues. MVLA unites the Latino community and provides coordinated assistance in navigating education, housing, immigration, healthcare, social services, immigration, legal, translation/interpretation, judicial and/or employment basic and emergency needs.
Ms. Martinez is a member of many community boards, such as; Central NY Arts Council, MVCC CSTEP Advisory Board, CABVI, NAACP Oneida County Utica Branch, Black Leadership Coalition, Upstate Family Health Center, SCORE Utica, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, YWCA MV, Herkimer College Foundation Board, Utica Industrial Development Corporation, On Point for College Advisory Board, SOMOS NY, and the Upstate Latino Alliance. She was named a member of the Utica’s Mayoral Transition Team of the City of Utica by Mayor Robert Palmieri, is a Oneida County History Center Living Legend 2017 award and received a proclamation from NYS Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli and NYS Assemblyman, Marco Crespo, Chair, Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force. In the fall of 2017, Ms. Martinez received the Oneida County History Center Living Legends Award. She has also been recognized by the Maranatha Church in Rome as a Latina leader for the 2018 Hispanic Heritage Month, in October 2018, the Genesis Group “Joseph R. Carucci” Legacy award for her dedication to her community, received a NYS Senate Commendation award by Senator Joseph A. Griffo on February 6, 2019. She recently has been selected to appear on the WCNY PBS Show “Behind A Woman” to be interviewed about her leadership role in creating the MV Latino Association in Utica.