We are happy to kick off the 2024 season by continuing our series of articles featuring the incredible people who devote their time and expertise to supporting the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (PMPM), including trustees, donors and others. 

For this edition, we spoke with Elisa Perel, our newest addition to our Board of Trustees. Elisa grew up in North Truro, one of three children from a family who worked in the seafood industry. She has done her share of traveling and notched an impressive career in human resources (HR) along the way. Yet, she has never stayed away from the Outer Cape for too long or forgotten how it continues to shape her life.

A lasting impression

Elisa Perel

Trustee Elisa Perel

Elisa’s parents, aunt and uncle, left New Jersey for Provincetown to pursue an opportunity in the seafood industry. She grew up in Truro with her two siblings, attending Truro Central School and graduating from Nauset Regional High. Ironically, one of her earliest memories came in first grade when her school was closed for repairs. Instead, classes were held in Provincetown’s Annex building, the rooms separated by makeshift dividers, the playground and “gymnasium” – the grounds of PMPM.

“The Monument was actually right next to the school, and so for gym class, we’d sometimes go up High Pole Hill and climb it,” said Elisa. “My mom would also take us to the holiday lighting of the Monument, a local tradition I still try to make every year. Like most kids, I suppose I took the beauty and community here for granted and didn’t recognize the wonderful eccentricities that make this place so special and welcoming.” 

“Still, one thing made a lasting impression early on: This is where the Pilgrims arrived first,” said Elisa. “As I got older and understood all the different types of pilgrims who found acceptance and safety in Provincetown – whether part of our LGBTQ+ or many ethnic communities – it resonated. I realized how lucky I’ve been, and now, as a Trustee, I have an opportunity to protect, preserve and share our evolving history.”

Homegrown talent

After graduating from high school, Elisa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of New Hampshire. From there, she backpacked around the globe for a couple of years, intermittently pausing her exploration to return to her home base in Truro. 

Eventually, Elisa moved to Boston. Fifteen years later, she remains in greater Boston and manages HR consulting operations for One Digital, a provider of insurance, financial services and HR solutions. Before that, she was an HR consultant for Insight Performance, a leader in benefits services and HR solutions acquired by One Digital. Elisa was also on the HR team for ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, developers of medicine for cancer patients, now part of Takeda Oncology.

“I believe my HR, people, compliance skills and insight can help support the organization,” said Elisa. “The Trustees are an accomplished group with diverse backgrounds, all bringing unique experience to the Board. Everyone focuses on what they’re good at and with a collective vision of moving PMPM further, together.”

A motivating factor

Elisa says an initiative she’d like to work on as a Trustee is connecting the Monument more to the community, either physically or through events or other activities. The inclined elevator has done wonders, she said, “but Commercial Street can still feel a distance away—a stronger connection would make the area even more vibrant.” 

What motivated Elisa to accept PMPM’s offer to become a Trustee? First, she feels energized seeing local people working hard to preserve Provincetown’s history, message and community. With her deep area roots— growing up in the shadow of the Monument—she feels a sense of ownership and responsibility. 

“I want to be a part of preserving this history, to continue telling and learning the stories of all pilgrims and to further bring to light the true story of the native Wampanoags,” said Elisa. “As we’ve seen, history needs protecting. Otherwise, it can get lost and its lessons, forgotten.”