Lorraine A. Cortés-Vázquez. Photo courtesy

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that Lorraine A. Cortés-Vázquez will serve as Commissioner of the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA). As Commissioner, Cortés-Vázquez will work to advance DFTA’s mission to eliminate ageism, ensure the dignity and quality of life of older adults, and support caregivers.

Cortés-Vázquez has extensive experience in government, private, and non-profit sectors. She is currently Senior Advisor to Mayor de Blasio and was previously New York’s 65th Secretary of State. Prior to serving in this role, she was the Executive Vice President for the American Association of Retired People (AARP). She also previously served the City as Bureau Chief for Bureau of Program and Resource Development for DFTA for 14 years. In this role, she administered a $10 million budget, managed a staff of 108 people over 13 divisions, and managed the Fund for Aging Services, Inc., a public-private venture of DFTA.

«Lorraine is an experienced and dedicated public servant, and I know she will do an incredible job as DFTA’s new Commissioner, where she will serve the diverse needs of approximately 1.64 million older New Yorkers,» said Mayor de Blasio. «I look forward to supporting her in this new role as she works to make New York the most age-friendly city in America.»

«I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for this opportunity to serve older New Yorkers and make New York an even more age-friendly city. I am excited to return to DFTA and join with our community partners in ensuring older New Yorkers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,» said Commissioner Cortés-Vázquez.

As Senior Advisor to Mayor de Blasio, Cortés-Vázquez worked with Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson on strategic policy initiatives and worked within the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to advise the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs and Public Engagement Units.

Before joining the Administration, Cortés-Vázquez served as the Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations & Government Affairs for EmblemHealth. Cortés-Vázquez was also Executive Vice President for Multicultural Markets & Engagement at AARP where she ensured that the interests of multicultural audiences age 50-plus were integrated into everything AARP does, with the goal to increase multicultural presence among AARP membership and increase AARP’s presence and involvement in multicultural communities. Prior to joining AARP, Cortés-Vázquez was Secretary of State in New York from 2007 to 2010 – the first Latina to serve in that role.

Cortés-Vázquez also served as President of the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit network of 92 Latino health and human service agencies in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and as Executive Director of ASPIRA of New York, the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit Latino youth leadership development and education advocacy agency.

Cortés-Vázquez obtained her undergraduate of Hunter College and earned a master’s degree from New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Toll Fellow, having completed the national leadership program for elected and appointed officials. She earned certificates from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and from Columbia University’s School of Non-Profit Management.

Her first day as Commissioner of the NYC Department for the Aging will be April 15.