Maria Guerra (JD ’03, MBA ’03), a Chicago native, discovered a greater passion for the city after moving away for college and a career in television news production. She shares why being in the area for law school—and now a job in city government—was so important to her. Guerra is currently first deputy director, Office of Legislative Affairs, City of Chicago.
I’m definitely from Chicago. I was raised in the Humboldt Park community. My family is mostly all here. The reason I consider that I “came back” is that after high school, I left and went to college in Pennsylvania, then worked in D.C. and Northern California. I didn’t come back for about seven years—and then I came back specifically to go to law school at DePaul. In TV news, they bounce you around to work in whatever market you’re able to get a job. Especially early on in your career, you really can’t be choosy if you’re going to work. And that’s what I did—in essence bounced around a bit. I thought I’d come to Chicago for law school and go back to Washington, D.C., to start my career in law there. But after I came back, I just never left. I had so much fun doing what I was doing and reconnecting with friends and getting reacquainted with the city that I never left again.
I love all of Chicago! The lakefront, the neighborhoods, the food, the experience—I love all of it. I have friends that I still see with frequency who are from kindergarten. It very much is home, and that’s part of why I wasn’t really able to leave.