Destined to become a homemaker in a traditional Orthodox home, Laya Martinez changed the trajectory of her life by choosing her own path…


…to become a successful entrepreneur and thought leader. After initially studying at Yeshiva University to become a Hebrew School teacher, she used her experience working as a part-time administrative aide at a software company to climb the industry’s ranks and become MasterCharge’s only female programmer at that time. Laya went on to found two successful data processing companies serving Fortune 500 clients and was identified by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of Philadelphia’s Top 25 Women Business Owners. She is credited with founding the first female club (and business club table) at the Union League of Philadelphia.

Laya has three grown children and works in the Philadelphia suburbs where she resides with her husband. As two-time president of her local Rotary Club and a Paul Harris fellow, she regularly engages in international community service projects. When not writing, fulfilling speaking engagements or spending time with her grandchildren, she travels extensively throughout the world.

Laya has an indefatigable passion to move the world forward and instill warmth in the lives of others. Through her journey, she has come to value life and joy above sacrifice. Now, after 25 years of being urged to write this book, she is giving hope, solace and insight to others whose families have said “no.”


Life should not be an escape from suffering, but rather a quest for joy.

- Laya Martinez


Letter From Laya…

I have lived three different lives, each clearly demarcated by my original, nuclear family’s acceptance or rejection of me based on my marital choices. In many ways, my story is a real-life, modern day variation of Fiddler on the Roof. For those who "stray," if you're not accepted by your family, for whatever reason, or if your family says no, life does go on. You can create your own extended family, as I did. It took years, with long stretches of heartache and loneliness. It was worth it for the loving extended family I now have. Most of all, my children know that whomever they choose as a partner or friend, and whichever path they turn down in life, our extended family will always be there for them.

The essence of life and of When Your Family Says No is that choices abound. Even if all appears hopeless, choices are available. No matter how long it's been, you still have possibilities. The strong friendships, alliances, and connections that you didn't have in one setting, you can create in the next setting. As long as you're alive and positive, chances come your way.
You can create a family who says yes.