For Immediate Release
November 6, 2013
Januari Smith (217) 558-1544
Veteran Public Servant to Oversee Human Service Programs
CHICAGO, Illinois - The Illinois State Senate voted unanimously to confirm the nomination of Nelida Smyser-De León as Assistant Secretary for Programs at the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). Ms. Smyser-De León has been serving as Acting Assistant Secretary of Programs since January 2013. She will oversee the programmatic efforts of the Divisions of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Developmental Disabilities, Family and Community Services, Mental Health, and Rehabilitation Services.
"I am thrilled at Nelida's confirmation and look forward to working with her to further improve IDHS programs and services," said IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler. "Her positive energy, experience and shared vision of collaboration and integration of services will benefit the department and help us achieve our goals of independence and self-sufficiency for the people we serve."
Ms. Smyser De León has been with IDHS since July of 2007 and has served in several positions, most recently as Acting Co-Chief of Staff. She is also the Director of the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OHLA), a position she has held since May 2010.
Smyser-De León was Acting Director of the Office of Contract Management (OCM) from November 2011 to July 2012. She was also Assistant State Purchasing Officer from July 2007 to May 2010. Prior to joining IDHS, Smyser-De León worked in the private sector for more than 20 years.
After graduating from DePaul University, she began her sales career with Unisys Corporation becoming one of the top Latina sales representatives. She moved into telecommunications, working for MCI selling to fortune 500 companies and independently owned businesses. Shortly after, she was recruited to work for Polaroid Corporation in their business technical division where she left a significant footprint as a leading business development manager. She also worked at River North Distributors (Anheuser Busch) developing their Latino marketing campaign for independent businesses.
Smyser-De León is active in the Latino community and serves on the boards of a number of community organizations in Chicago, including the Illinois Association of Agencies and Community Organizations for Migrant Advocacy (IAACOMA).
Spanish Version of News Release