Empowering Women: Stacy DeMaria Speaks at Association of Women in Ministry International Conference in Peabody

When the Rev. Mimi Daniel of the North Shore Evangelical Missionary Church needed a guest speaker for an international conference about empowering and uplifting women, the well-known spiritual leader called upon Stacy DeMaria for the honor.

DeMaria, wife of Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, rose to the occasion and delivered a powerful and inspiring address at the Association of Women In Ministry Conference held at the Peabody Marriott Hotel.

Stacy DeMaria.

DeMaria has been a loyal and supportive partner to the mayor in her role as First Lady of Everett. She has been a highly visible presence at citywide events, most recently at last Saturday’s Walk For Ersilia 5K in which members of Ersilia Cataldo Matarazzo’s family thanked the DeMarias for their tremendous support of the fundraising event.

 In an interview this week, Stacy DeMaria reflected on a few of the accomplishments of the mayoral administration and her role as an adviser to her husband in his leadership of the city.

“A lot of my goals were focused on improving the community aesthetics,” said DeMaria. “I feel when you improve your surroundings, people feel better and get uplifted a bit. I’m also very proud of the health and wellness center because exercise is so good for mental health, the psychological part of feeling good and being healthy.”

Everett now has one of the best parks systems in the region, with new and refurbished recreational spaces situated throughout the city. Everett’s traffic islands are beautifully landscaped and well-maintained.

“It’s been an amazing transformation to see, and I credit an awesome team led by the mayor – the DPW, the Facilities Maintenance – everyone is on the same page, and we’ve really been able to get a lot done,” said DeMaria, adding that because she often walks around the city, she’s able to monitor what aesthetic improvements need to be made in Everett.

DeMaria said she considers herself a partner in the administration, ready to assist her husband in local causes and as an emissary to various organizations.

“I would say we’re a good team,” said DeMaria. “He is the definitely the visionary. I want to support him because he has such a deep love for the city and he’s a visionary, so that combination has produced amazing results for Everett.”

DeMaria first met her future husband, Carlo, at his 21st birthday celebration at Prime Time, Revere. “It was a great night. It happened to be Ash Wednesday and I still had the ashes on my forehead, which he thought was pretty cool,” recalled Stacy. “He was 21 and I was 20, and I feel like we’ve grown a lot since then. We were married when he was 24 and I was 23, and we’ll celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this March.”

The DeMarias have three children, Carlo, 22, a senior at Stonehill College, Caroline, 20, a junior at Suffolk University, and Alexandria, 12, a seventh-grade student at the Lafayette School.

Stacy has been very busy on the campaign trail, assisting her husband in his bid for re-election to the position of mayor. “It’s healthy to have competition, and we’ve never taken this seat for granted,” she said. “I’ve always felt this seat belongs to the people, and the people judge the job you’re doing, whether they want you to stay or not. And I’ve always felt happy to be here.”

Following is the text of Stacy DeMaria’s remarks at the AWMI Conference:

Good evening. Thank you for the warm introduction.

It is a privilege to be here this evening with all of you to celebrate the Association of Women in Ministry International 2021 Conference. Thank you to Reverend Myreille Daniels of the North Shore Evangelical Missionary Church for your invitation to attend and participate in tonight’s program. What an honor.

For years, women have been suppressed, their voices quieted, their ideas overlooked. Thankfully, the times have changed. It is time to stand up and empower all women.

When we empower women, we use our voice to implement change, to speak our piece, and to stand up for what’s right. By doing this, we make a difference.

As women, we use our voices to spread positivity, an essential attribute in today’s world. It is our jobs, as women, to be unified, and I commend any woman who has risen above the status quo and made a positive impact on their community and those around them.

Female leaders in ministry play an integral role as positive and bold leaders in a community. They not only spread the Word of God, but they demonstrate how to be a part of God’s family. Look around the room, look at all these powerful, smart, beautiful women. They are role models. They are mothers, sisters, daughters, but most importantly, they are children of God.

In the past, young women were not encouraged to dream of a bold and fascinating career. A career in science, a career in politics, or even a career in business. In today’s world, women do not have to choose between being a mother and a professional. That is progress.

Today I stand before you as a woman, a woman with a career, and woman with a family. I often encourage my daughters to never settle, dream big, and always surpass expectations because as former First Lady Michelle Obama once stated, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”

As many of you know, my husband serves as the Mayor of the City of Everett, and as his wife, I walk beside him, not behind him. We are truly equals.

I firmly believe in the saying “women helping women.” It is imperative that we support one another, respect one another, and uplift one another. I challenge all of you to encourage the women in your lives each and every day. We need to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and offer support during difficult times. This is empowering women.

On behalf of the City of Everett, I would like to thank you, again, for inviting me to speak this evening. I am truly humbled and honored to be here. As demonstrated this evening, when women of all backgrounds unite, they can transform the world for today, for tomorrow, and for the future.

I will conclude with a quote from former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”

Thank you, and God Bless!

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