Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez currently serves as New York City commissioner to the Department for the Aging. Appointed commissioner by Mayor Bill de Blasio in April 2019, Cortés-Vázquez works to advance the department’s mission to eliminate ageism, ensure the dignity and quality of life of older adults, and support caregivers. Cortés-Vázquez previously worked within the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as senior advisor to Mayor de Blasio.
Prior to serving in the Mayor’s Office, Cortés-Vázquez was senior vice president of Corporate Relations and Government Affairs at EmblemHealth, where she was responsible for EmblemHealth’s relationships with key government, community, and industry stakeholders, better positioning EmblemHealth for new growth opportunities. Cortés-Vázquez was also the executive vice president for Multicultural Markets and Engagement at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), where she developed a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan. At AARP, she ensured that the interests of multicultural age-50-plus audiences were integrated into everything AARP does, with the goal of increasing multicultural presence among AARP membership and increasing AARP’s involvement in those communities.
Before joining AARP, Cortés-Vázquez was New York State's 65th secretary of state, and the first Hispanic appointee to serve in that role. She also served as vice president of government and public affairs at Cablevision Systems Corporation, a leading media, entertainment, and telecommunications company.
Cortés-Vázquez’s distinguished career in the nonprofit, government, and corporate sectors extends more than 30 years. Her nonprofit work has gained her national recognition and numerous awards.
From 1998 to 2004, Cortés-Vázquez served as president of the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit network of Latino health and human service agencies with a footprint throughout the East Coast. She has extensive experience creating community partnerships to leverage civic participation and increasing the visibility of educational initiatives. In the early 1990s, she served 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 degree from Hunter College and earned a master’s degree from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Toll Fellow and has earned certificates from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Columbia University’s School Professional Studies.
She is dedicated to her family, particularly her nieces, nephews, and grandsons.