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A political passion to help those with no voice

By NHLI Staff

Integrating herself into Washington’s political scene, Sindy Benavides, director of community outreach and voting for the Democratic National Committee, never forgets her commitment to the Latino community.

For those who know her and have been impacted by her work, much can be said about Sindy Benavides and her accomplishments to date.

A proud Honduran immigrant who came to the United States when she was a mere 1-year-old and didn’t start learning English until third grade, Sindy credits her immigration experience and the struggles her family endured to integrate and become full contributors to this nation with shaping who she is today.

Sindy Benavides

Calling Virginia home these days, this young woman’s desire to serve others began when she was a teen helping to translate for people while at the doctor’s office, or at a local store, or anywhere someone needed assistance.

But she was also inspired by her parents’ hard work to move the family forward. Her mother, who was born in severe poverty in Honduras, became a nurse. Through hard work and determination after arriving in the United States, her mother now owns her own cleaning company.

Sindy set out to emulate her mother.

At Virginia State University in Petersburg, Sindy graduated valedictorian of her class with a political science degree. She went on to pursue a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the School of Service at American University.

Upon graduation, Sindy combined her knowledge and skills with her passion to serve the Latino community. She served as Latino liaison for former Governor Tim Kaine, as well as, Director of Appointments for the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

As Latino Liaison, she worked closely with the community, leaders, diplomats, and organizations serving the Latino community throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

During this time, Sindy was an essential force in helping to defeat nearly 100 anti-immigrant bills introduced in the 2006-07 legislative session, mobilizing the Latino community to take action.

“Giving back to the community through public service is an investment in our future,” believes Sindy, who in 2009 became a Fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s Executive Leadership Program, a highly competitive program for mid-career Latina professionals.

NHLI quickly recognized Sindy’s leadership and potential honoring her with a Rising Star award at its 2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards, an annual gathering of hundreds of Latina leaders which this year will take place in Miami, Nov 4-5.

And others have also taken notice.

An alumna of the Sorenson Political Leadership Program through the University of Virginia and the Virginia Executive Institute and Minority Political Leadership Institute through Virginia Commonwealth University, Sindy was featured as one of the top 20 People to Watch in 2009 by Richmond magazine.

Earlier this year she was named a “Women of Excellence” by Hispanic Business magazine and became 1 of 12 Latina leaders selected to participate in Project Interchange, an exchange training program of the American Jewish Committee.

Today, at 27 she is the highest ranking Latina at the Democratic National Committee where she serves as Director of Community Outreach & Voting.

Her accomplishments are impressive but recognitions aside, what makes Sindy an exceptional leader and role model is her relentless commitment to the Latino community. Also, it’s her unflagging example of the type of work ethic, determination and passion that immigrants, like Sindy, bring to this nation to make it a better place to live for everyone.

About NHLI

The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) is the premier executive leadership organization preparing Latinas for positions of national and international influence, public policy impact and to contribute to the advancement of the Hispanic community. Since 1987, NHLI has trained and empowered more than 10,000 Latina leaders from the public and private sectors who have been appointed to leadership positions in government, corporate America, nonprofits, and foundations or have started their own businesses.

NHLI is currently recruiting for its Executive Leadership Program. To find out more and apply by August 13, visit

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