Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute


13th Annual Gala & Leadership Awards 

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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was the first Hispanic woman ever elected to Congress.

Having been born in Havana, Cuba, Ileana fled the oppressive Castro regime at the age of eight, with her family. The family settled in Miami, Florida and years later Ileana earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade College, a Bachelor and a Master’s Degree in Education from Florida International University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Miami.

Ileana began her career as a Florida certified teacher and was inspired to enter public service by many of the parents and students she met, to fight on their behalf for a stronger educational system and a brighter economic future.

In 1982, she was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. 

In 1989 Ileana was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives-- becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress-- and she has been overwhelmingly re-elected to Congress ever since.

On April 11, 2018, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute will honor Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at our 14th Annual Leadership Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. 

Please mark your calendar. Details of that special evening will follow. 

To join us as a sponsor, please contact Mary Ann Gomez Orta at