The United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) created the Metropolitan Leadership Institute (MLI) to build public leadership within the Hispanic population of metropolitan Chicago. The organization has built a legacy of close to 400 leaders that today serve as public officials, educators, entrepreneurs, and that sit in the corporate boardrooms of some of the largest corporations in Chicago. But our work is not done!

Latinos are the largest minority group in the state, yet Latinos comprise 4% of state government. We see a leadership gap, yet we know that our community is filled with untapped leadership potential and talent.

The Metropolitan Leadership Institute (MLI) promotes civic leadership within the Hispanic community and proactively taps into the leadership potential and talent in the community. Combining discussions, readings and analysis, this year-long program provides an appreciation for the nuances of public life and the dynamics of the power arena. Far from an academic exercise, MLI challenges its members:

To take the plunge into public leadership and realize their visions for change.
To gain a greater appreciation for the ambiguities and nuances of the public arena.
To think critically and master the challenges that come with being leaders in the public sector.

Established in 2001, MLI has quickly become a who’s who of emerging Hispanic leaders in the metropolitan Chicago and every year it actively recruits for the next class of Latino leaders. UNO has always created new avenues of public leadership and engaged Latinos toward civic action. More than ever, we have a responsibility to train new leaders – to develop them to be more than just activists, satisfied with rhetorician symbolism. Our job is to help new leaders generate results rather than frustration; to keep them from becoming disillusioned by the public decision-making process, or worse, disengaged from it altogether.

The new leadership at UNO seeks to continue to create a legacy of leaders for today and for future generations to come. Leadership is a key strategic pillar of our vision for UNO. We will enable the economic self-sufficiency of Latinos through education, entrepreneurship, leadership and civic engagement.

As you read through the following pages of UNO’s newest MLI Directory, keep in mind that this impressive group represents only a small sample of the potential of metropolitan Chicago’s Latino community. We invite you to apply for the MLI program.