Sylvia Puente; she/her; President and CEO, Latino Policy Forum
Sylvia Puente is the President and CEO of the Latino Policy Forum, a nonprofit that works for equity, justice, and economic prosperity on behalf of Latinos in Chicago and Illinois. The Forum conducts public-policy analysis and advocacy on issues including education, housing, and immigration. Over more than a decade at the helm of the Forum, Puente has grown the organization into a central voice on Latino issues and has established herself as a thought leader in the arena.
In 2020, the Forum led the response to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Latinos and communities of color by securing economic assistance for hundreds of affected families; advocating for them in conversations with city and state leaders; and compiling data, information, and resources for its Acuerdo partner network of over 130 local organizations serving the Latino community, which the Forum convenes, among other efforts.
Puente was selected by Governor JB Pritzker to serve on his transition team as part of the Educational Success Committee. She was recently appointed to the Restore, Reinvest, Renew Board and the State Housing Task Force. She was appointed by previous Illinois governors to the Illinois Early Learning Council, on which she still serves, and the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board. She is also a board director of Advance Illinois, a public policy agency working to improve education in the state, and a member of Illinois Unidos, a consortium of local Latino leaders dedicated to addressing the public-health and economic impact of COVID-19 on Latinos statewide.
Puente is frequently cited as an expert on Latino issues and has published numerous reports and articles that articulate the vital role they play in society. She is a recipient of the Ohtli Award, Mexico’s highest recognition of those serving the Mexican community outside of Mexico, and received an honorary PhD for her social justice work from Roosevelt University in 2021. She has been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S.”