Government service leader
Title: Committee Director and Legislative Counsel, Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development
Organization: City of Chicago
Dedicated to purpose-driven collaboration, Ashley Álvarez centers her life’s work on strengthening the relationship between community and government through advocacy that advances equity, opportunity, and accountability to create sustainable change.
Álvarez is a first-generation Cuban and Puerto Rican daughter and granddaughter of immigrants. Born in Maywood, she was raised in many Chicago neighborhoods before moving to the suburbs, but she was shaped by Sunday dinners at El Prado (her abuelos’ Cuban restaurant), and summers in Arecibo eating tembleque made by her abuelita and sitting with her abuelo en el balcón.
At age 11, Álvarez knew she wanted to be an attorney after witnessing her father’s long battle for custody. Within her first month at California Western School of Law, Álvarez applied to be a clinical student at the California Innocence Project. There she united with a team that successfully reversed a wrongful conviction. Later she moved to the Public Defender’s Office where she realized the power of legislation.
After returning to Chicago, she was an attorney and government affairs associate at Tristan & Cervantes, prior to joining the Democratic National Convention Committee as the senior director of allied groups and labor engagement. For the 2020 election, she worked at the Biden Presidential Coordinated Campaign in Arizona as the Maricopa County voter protection director.
Currently, Álvarez is the committee director and legislative counsel for the city of Chicago Committee on Economic, Capital, and Technology Development. She oversees operations, legislation, team management, external affairs, and communications. As part of her work, she helped initiate one of the largest citywide pandemic relief programs in the nation, secured contractual protections at the airport, and held subject matter hearings that often lead to innovative solutions, infrastructure, or updated technology. Álvarez was recently appointed chair of the legislative committee at the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.
Words of wisdom: “Representation is not only seeing those at the tables we want to be a part of, it is also about those leaders making room for us to join. Lead in a way so that others can lead.”