In The Loop Guest Bios


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Sylvia Perez is an Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, news and health reporter, and major market anchor.  Her expertise in revealing the personal side of headline stories and drawing their impact into “news you can use” viewership is now the foundation of Sylvia Perez Productions, a multi-faceted company offering Perez as talent, video producer, media coach and speaker.

Perez is one of the most recognized talents in the Chicago broadcast community, the third largest US television market. Her 24-year tenure at ABC included the popular Healthbeat franchise, as well as covering daily health and medical investigative stories for dual daily newscasts.  She is also known for her expertise and interest in topics involving veterans and multiple features on veteran’s journey’s once they return from service and acclimate back into civilian life.

Perez attended the University of Oklahoma, majoring in Radio/TV/Film. In a bold, early move she chose an internship with a public TV station versus the more typical big network station because she knew they were short staffed and she would more likely get real working experience and “air time.”  She was right. She was able to cover State Capitol politics with stories appearing on the nightly news before she even graduated.

She parlayed that experience into positions as a broadcast journalist in a variety of markets across the country, reporting on major stories involving politics, education, medical, and the military. Soon, she began to specialize in stories that would have a direct, practical and positive impact on the viewer, a move that boosted viewership as television news began losing viewers because of content. 

At the award-winning Healthbeat, Perez became known for coupling news on medical breakthroughs with information on common health issues people deal with but don’t always know where to turn for help.

Similarly, her veteran’s features have been inspirational, taking the focus off tragedy and putting it on the will to survive and the comradeship that allows them to heal, whether that be accompanying an Illinois veteran to Pearl Harbor to honor his brother, buried at sea; or the Wounded Warriors at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. “I try to honor those I cover and am able to create a trusting connection that allows those I feature to dig deep and share things they have kept close in the interest of helping others.”

Throughout her career, Perez has received multiple awards including two Emmys! Most recently she was recognized by the office of the Illinois Secretary of State for Excellence in Broadcasting as part of Hispanic Heritage month.  She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and American Federation for Television and Radio Artist/Screen Actors Guild also known as AFTRA/SAG.


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Michael Lev is a member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board. Previously, he was the Tribune’s Associate Managing Editor for Business, responsible for the Tribune's coverage of business news in its print and digital editions. Before that, he was the Tribune’s business editor, the deputy head of the department.

From 1996-2005, Lev was a Tribune foreign correspondent, based first in Tokyo and then Beijing. As one of several correspondents in Asia for the Tribune, he wrote from more than 20 countries in the region, from Vietnam to North Korea. In the wake of Sept. 11, he covered the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the fighting and search for Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora.

Before joining the foreign staff, Lev was a metro reporter for the Tribune in Chicago. Previously, he contributed to The New York Times as a full-time freelance reporter in the newspaper's Los Angeles bureau. He has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.  He is married, has three daughters and lives in Highland Park, IL.

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In executive capacities for the organization, Harold is responsible for all operations, budget and financial management development, marketing, building community support, liaises with federal, state, and local government, directing fundraising and compliance efforts, developing staff and volunteers and leading organizational direction and strategy.

Harold came to CEDA with a 25-year senior management background in both corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Previous to CEDA, Harold served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer for Albany Park Community Center. Harold also served as the Chief Development Officer for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago responsible for increasing the previous year budget from $70 million to $75 million. Before transitioning to the Not-For-Profit segment, Harold served on the Board of Directors and C.O.O. of Tharos Laboratories, Inc., which was a start-up phytochemical/pharmaceutical ingredient and retail supplements company, whereby he guided and executed strategic and tactical action plans focused on improving financial performance, establishing long-term business growth, and re-aligning overall business direction.

In addition to dedication and achievements in the business sector, Harold is committed to his family and community.  His business tenure has been dedicated to a variety of boards of various non-profit organizations in and around the Chicagoland area, such as telethon Chairman for United Negro College Fund, Sunshine Rotary Club, and Ronald McDonald House Charities, local chambers of commerce and American Cancer Society.  Additional credits include a number of radio and TV commercials along with public speaking engagements.

Harold is an executive who believes in empowering others to succeed. He hires talented and capable people as well as developing current employees, then provides the environment and motivation to help them excel. He is unquestionably a people-person, driven for excellence forming strong bonds and relationships in every area of commitment. Finally, a quote which he employs in his relationships, from John Maxwell is, "I want to make a difference, with people who want to make a difference, doing something that makes a difference, at a time that it makes a difference"