RISE 2019 Conference

Transforming University Engagement In Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico

Vilda Vera Mayuga

Deputy Secretary for Economic Opportunity

New York Department of State


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Vilda Vera Mayuga joined the NY Department of State in July 2018 as Deputy Secretary for Economic Opportunity. In that capacity, she oversees the Office for New Americans, the Division of Consumer Protection, the Division of Community Services, and most recently the Address Confidentiality Program.

From 2014 until June 2018, she served as Chair of the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, which is an independent review and appeals board that provides an impartial review of rules, regulations and orders issued by the Commissioner of Labor. She was the first Latina to hold the position.

Prior, Vilda was Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection at the New York State Department of Labor, overseeing the divisions of Labor Standards, Safety and Health and Immigrant Policies and Affairs. She had started at the Department of Labor in February 2011 as Executive Director of the Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs, when she implemented the agency’s first U-visa certification protocol and expanded the agency’s role and presence in the fight against human trafficking. Under her direction, the Agriculture Labor Program was started to provide services to both agricultural employers and workers. Vilda also played a critical role in ensuring the agency’s compliance with language access requirements and worked heavily on the drafting of the statewide policy resulting in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 26.

Vilda also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. There, she managed a diverse caseload of civil rights cases and handled every stage of litigation. Vilda tried and settled numerous immigration services fraud cases that resulted in multimillion-dollar judgments. As a result, she received the 2009 Special Award from NYS Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo for achievement in the Immigration Fraud Initiative.

Prior to her appointment as Assistant Attorney General, Vilda served as an Agency Attorney and investigated Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints within the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). She also conducted on-site inspections of FDNY premises, such as firehouses and EMS stations, to ensure compliance with the FDNY EEO Policy. Vilda also worked at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, where she analyzed, processed and monitored requests for evidence from foreign countries.

Vilda graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor in Arts in International Relations from Boston University in Boston, MA. She completed her law degree at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Vilda is a member of the New York Bar, and she speaks English and Spanish.