35, IN A RELATIONSHIP, NORTON
SENIOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS DIRECTOR, AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
This South Shore native gets pulses pounding in the hallways and meeting rooms of Beacon Hill as a lobbyist with her heart in the right place: as an advocate for cardiac health.
Perron was turned on to public policy while studying at UConn and interning at both the Connecticut and Massachusetts State Houses. After working on policy to curb domestic violence, she became the rarest of breeds: an advocate who actually wanted to become a lobbyist.
"Women at the State House sit in awe of Allyson when Go Red for Women day comes around . . . she has the best coordinated outfits and best accessories, hands down," says our panel.
Perron's tip to bypass ordinary fashion: "The right shoes can always take an outfit from good to fabulous."
Job title: Senior government relations director
Held since: December 2005
Marital/relationship status; children; pets: Long-term boyfriend; 1 cat
Originally from: Bridgewater
What you do: I manage, plan, direct, and implement the advocacy programs to influence local and state public policy issues, related to the American Heart/Stroke Association's mission, by mobilizing volunteer, staff, and partners. I meet with staff, legislators, or the administration on the issues we are trying to move. At times I also work with partner organizations on bills, and may meet to talk strategy.
One experience that made you glad to do this work: I am so lucky to be able to have many experiences that can have the possible outcome of saving lives. One of my first experiences was while I was working on a bill that would require all health clubs to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs), filed after 22-year-old Kayla Richards died while working out at a gym that had no AED. I was able to call Judy, her mother, after it was signed into law. It is always a great day when a tragedy can be turned into a triumph.
Other activities: 2012 American Heart/Stroke Association Campaign Manager/Lobbyist of the Year; 2011 American Heart Association Founders Affiliate Passion Award; 2009-2010 Cass Wheeler Integration Team Award for the American Heart/Stroke Association; 2008 American Heart Association Rhome Betts Award for Excellence. Playworks Metro Boston Board, Chair 2012
Path to Beacon Hill: I was a political-science major at the University of Connecticut, and really loved the policy-specific classes. I was able to intern for state representatives in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and for a domestic violence/sexual assault crisis service, and I was hooked.
I always knew I wanted to be a lobbyist, it just took a few years (six-plus) to get there.
Personal style: Classically chic. Shoes can make or break an outfit!
Favorite thing about working in the State House: That it is different every day, and that sharing a powerful story can change the direction of a piece of legislation.
One thing you would change to make State House work more "beautiful": Sometimes it should be less about the politics, and more about the difference an issue could make in the lives of the residents of the Commonwealth. And I wish that lobbyist wasn't a dirty word.