LULAC Selects First Generation Immigrant as Next CEO
Phoenix, AZ - Sindy Marisol Benavides, a Honduran immigrant who came to the United States at the age of one and grew up to become a life-long champion of social justice and civil rights has been named Chief Executive Officer of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the first Latina woman to hold that position in the organization’s 89-year history.
“I feel humbled and honored to serve in a capacity for which I have prepared my entire life,” said Benavides. “Everything I’ve had the opportunity to live, learn, see and do enables me to now take on this responsibility with a sense of urgency, strong personal commitment and determined resolve that we must fight and prevail against the enormous challenges Latinos are facing in our country,” she adds. "We're carefully watching to see if there are any obstructions made to our community and we will take action," said LULAC CEO Sindy Benavides.
Among her notable career achievements, Benavides served on the Democratic National Committee as Director of National Community Outreach, a role she performed as the only Latina senior staff member at the DNC. She also held key positions for Virginia Governor Tim Kaine who was later selected as the Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate in 2016. Her grassroots experience began by leading community organizing, voter registration, civic engagement and advocating for social justice and civil rights in Virginia and then carrying her experience to neighborhoods throughout the nation.
“What I saw and learned during those long days traveling and working in all kinds of conditions as an organizer is that people who are empowered create a vigor and energy that cannot be stopped. The power of America lies in its people,” says Benavides. “These experiences taught me that the changes we seek and the transformations we aspire to see realized through LULAC will happen as we work together on vital issues, grow our membership to be stronger and harness this power into a single voice, a single purpose, a single goal—justice,” she adds.
“We made the right decision in choosing her for this role, “said LULAC National President Roger Rocha. “Sindy is a fearless champion for our community and will fight for the most vulnerable. She will take the organization to new heights.”
LULAC Vice-President for the Elderly and Member of the National Search Committee Alicia Rios said “Benavides was chosen following an extensive national search. Sindy was the most qualified candidate, both because of her prior work as well as the extraordinary job she has been doing as Chief Operating Officer of LULAC and Interim CEO,” said Rios. “Also, she has developed an immeasurable wealth of contacts and goodwill in Washington, DC over the years because of her collaborative spirit and untiring dedication to public service which is why we are confident she is the right choice for CEO,” she added.
Benavides is not a stranger to LULAC. She was the Founder and President of LULAC Council 4611 (Richmond). Benavides’ academic background includes a BA from Virginia State University graduating as Valedictorian with a focus on Political Science. Additional studies include Executive Management and Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Center for Creative Leadership. Benavides is an alumna of the Sorenson Political Leadership Program through the University of Virginia; the Virginia Executive Institute and Minority Political Leadership Institute through Virginia Commonwealth University; and alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. She resides in Virginia with her husband and two children, three-year old Victor Hughes and one-year old America Westfield.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.