Chicago area woman a leader in the community

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, ABC7 Chicago is introducing the public to a woman who has been the force behind some of the state's most powerful leaders during her 17-year career.

Puerto Rican-born Maribel Hopgood is the chief of marketing and communications of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority overseeing Navy pier and McCormick Place complex. She works directly under Juan Ochoa, CEO of MPEA.

"We have an economic impact of $4 billion," Hopgood said.

Hopgood started out in Chicago working as a journalist on Spanish television and was lured to the public sector by Gerry Chico, Mayor Daley's chief of staff as assistant to the mayor and Hispanic press secretary. She went on to work for Gov. Rod Blagojevich as director of community relations. Hopgood also worked on Congressman Luis Gutierrez's campaign.

The 44-year-old is the woman behind a number of successful men.

"I think it comes down to really, really hard work, and that I do admire all the individuals I've worked for. I've been priviledged," said Hopgood.

Hopgood says her public and private sector experience, including in her media background, have all contributed to making her the accomplished woman that she is today.

Hopgood also serves as the liaison between MPEA and the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.

The single mother of 6-year-old Rafael says you can combine a career you love with family life.

"It is really being passionate about what you do. It's really working hard, gaining the trust of individuals and the respect of individuals," Hopgood said.

Hopgood also says never forget who you are, maintain your integrity and respect the individuals you work with and for.

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