Maria Pesqueira has over two decades of leadership experience in the human service arena, bringing expert perspective to areas including strategic planning and management, program development, communications, fundraising and public health. She also is a sought-after speaker, addressing national and local audiences on issues ranging from private/nonprofit partnerships, women’s issues, health disparities and to the future of philanthropy.
In 2000, Pesqueira was named President and CEO to Mujeres Latinas en Accion, one of the longest standing Latina human service organizations in the nation. Under her leadership Mujeres received the prestigious ORBA Award for Nonprofit Financial Management Excellence; moved Mujeres’ main office to a newly renovated 14,000 square foot facility and opened two additional satellite offices. Previous to Mujeres, Maria was the Director of Development for the National Museum of Mexican Art where she started and grew the Museum’s resource development office, and completed its $7.5 million capital and endowment campaign.
Pesqueira’s awards include being honored with the 2012 Making A Difference Award by the Chicago Women and Philanthropy, being named by Chicago Magazine as one of six Chicagoans of the Year 2006; the 2005 National Organization for Women’s (NOW) Women Who Dared Award; The 2003 Thomas Jefferson Award; Accento Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” for 2002; and the Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40” for the year 2000. She was selected as a member to The Chicago Network, a premier organization of diverse, professional women in the Chicago area who have reached the highest echelons of business, the arts, government, the professions and academia.
Her record of civic and community involvement spans two decades. She serves as the Board Chair of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, is the immediate past Chair of the Illinois Partners for Human Services and has served as Executive Committee Board member for the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization. Pesqueira has served as Executive Committee Member of the Community Memorial Foundation, a private independent foundation whose initiatives target community health improvement including 27 communities of western Cook and southeastern DuPage Counties of Illinois. In 2005, Pesqueira served on the Aetna Medical Advisory Board that helped guide the implementation of Medicare Health Support, a voluntary program piloted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to apply the benefits of care management to certain fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with chronic health conditions. She currently serves as a National Advisory Council member of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Ms. Pesqueira has a BA from DePaul University. She is also a graduate of the Harvard University JFK School of Government Executive Program, the Center for Creative Leadership and St. Thomas University MiniMBA program in Nonprofit Management.
Maria and her husband David are the proud parents of son David Ollin.
Maria was appointed to the Commission by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.