Iliana G. Perez, Ph.D.

Position: Executive Director


Photo of Iliana G. Perez, Ph.D.

An esteemed leader in the field of immigrant entrepreneurship, Dr. Perez (she/her) brings over a decade of experience as a researcher and advocate for immigrant rights to her role at Immigrants Rising. She has pioneered initiatives to empower and support undocumented entrepreneurs through resource development, training, and ecosystem building across the U.S.

Dr. Perez holds a B.A. in mathematics from Fresno State, as well as an M.A. in economics and a Ph.D. in education policy from Claremont Graduate University. Her academic research, which has focused on immigrant entrepreneurs, the occupational and educational attainment of immigrant students, and the economics of immigration, has been widely cited in academic journals, technical reports, and online publications. She has also served as a lecturer in the Labor Studies Department at UCLA and in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Perez immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico with her family at the age of eight. She grew up in the California Central Valley and was undocumented for 27 years before adjusting her status.