Q&A with Atyia Martin

Dr. Atyia Martin is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) with a diverse set of experiences in public health, emergency management, intelligence, and homeland security. In 2015, Mayor Martin J. Walsh appointed her as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston as part of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for leading the development and implementation of Boston’s Resilience Strategy. Boston will focus on advancing racial equity as the foundation of the Resilience Strategy process to increase our shared ability to thrive after emergencies.

Illustration by: Tristan Chace

Q.What is your greatest fear?
Not leaving a legacy for my children to build upon, so they do not have to start from scratch.

Q.Which living person do you most admire?
My husband Roy Martin.

Q.What is your greatest extravagance?
My photography.

Q.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Acceptance (I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept).

Q.What is the quality you most like in a person?
The ability to see themselves as part of something greater.

Q.Which talent would you most like to have?

Q.What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My family and our culture.

Q.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Q.What is your most treasured possession?
My family.

Q.What is your favorite occupation?

Q.What is your most marked characteristic?
Connecting with other people.

Q.What do you most value in your friends?
Mutual support to accomplish personal and professional goals.

Q.Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Harriet Tubman.

Q.Who are your heroes in real life?
My husband and my great-grandmother (she had 13 children and was a nurse and evangelist).

Q.What is it that you most dislike?
Passive aggressiveness.

Q.What is your motto?
Most people do not recognize opportunity because it comes disguised as hard work.