Esther J. Cepeda is a trusted voice that informs, inspires and educates based on her unique American experience as a journalist, nationally syndicated Washington Post and NBC Latino columnist, mother, wife and daughter of immigrants.
- Contact Esther estherjcepeda [at] washpost.com to explore speaking opportunities with her
- Learn about Esther's experience, accolades and speaking history and opportunities below:
Esther J. Cepeda is an opinion journalist and an expert on U.S. Hispanic/Latino issues. Esther is best known as a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, which is nationally syndicated to over 125 media outlets, including The Dallas Morning News, Denver Post, Indianapolis Star, Las Vegas Review-Journal, San Diego Union-Tribune and The Star Tribune. Esther is also a regular contributing columnist to NBC Latino.
Additionally, Esther is a marketing/communications expert, social media strategist and coach, public speaker, actress and trusted voice for TV/radio commercials and audiobooks.
Esther was born and raised on the North side of Chicago. She attended Lane Technical High School and then continued her education at Southern Illinois University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with minors in Music and Psychology.
Following her undergraduate degree, Esther was awarded a full scholarship to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where she studied Integrated Marketing Communications.
In 2002, Esther began bilingual teaching in low-income grammar and high schools in the suburbs of Chicago, while working toward a Master's degree in Special Education from Roosevelt University.
Esther jumpstarted her journalism career by becoming a prolific writer of “Letters to the Editor” to various local and national publications. In 2006, she joined the Chicago Sun-Times as a reporter and later became Chicago’s first Hispanic metro columnist where she covered news, politics and sports.
Following her time with the Chicago Sun-Times, Esther held executive marketing positions with two of Chicago’s most influential non-profit education-focused organizations before going into a private consulting practice alongside her bi-weekly column.
Esther’s journalism and marketing career has earned her praises and recognition.
- Political analyst for CBS Channel-2 Chicago
- Featured contributor, LATINO Magazine
- Named Conexion’s “Top 7 Latino Social Media Influencers of 2015”
- Named 1 of 20 Twitter Champions in 2015 for Working Women by Women Employed
- Key contributor to Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends “Conversation about Identity” project
- Featured in Today’s Chicago Woman magazine for her “Inner Warrior”
- Relied on as an expert source on a variety of online publications, such as NPR, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Latino USA and local news sites
- Selected as a Columbia University 'Next Generation Project' American Assembly Fellow
- Convened with over one hundred nationally selected young leaders at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to strategize on U.S. Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions
Esther is a professional communicator and storyteller; she shares her thoughts and views as a keynote speaker, panelist, analyst and educator.
Since joining the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006, Esther has been an active public speaker and social media trainer for a plethora of organizations and media outlets of all kinds; she has spoken about an array of topics based on her work and life experiences.
Sample appearances and events include:
- Featured CID (inspiring culture, inclusion and diversity) Talk Speaker for Chicago United’s Leadership Conference (Topic: Going Where You’re not Invited)
- Keynote At The 2014 ATE Principal Investigators Conference (Topic: Telling Your Story: Combating College Clichés and Cutting through the Confusion)
- Social Media Educator for Lake County Community Foundation
- CBS 2 Political Analyst (Topic: Chicago elections)
- City Club Of Chicago Speaker (Topic: Chicago's Runoff Election)
- Chicago Headline’s Club’s Panelist (Topic: Race, Ethics And Politics In Chicago Media)
Esther speaks on a multitude of topics spanning across politics, education (K-12 and higher education), Latino issues, immigration, health (diabetes/obesity), parenthood, marketing, social media, and the American experience.
Examples of Future Topics:
- “Going Where You’re Not Invited”-- A talk on self-empowerment as a vehicle for success as a minority in America.
- “The Latino State of the Union” – Hot topics and issues affecting the United States’ fastest growing segment of the population.
- “Path to the Presidency: Hispanic Political Power in the Run-Up to 2016” – An analysis of how Latino politicians, political operatives and voters will impact the upcoming presidential election.
- Custom-tailored speeches to groups or conferences on:
- Education: Urban, bilingual, public school policy
- Health: Obesity epidemic, Type 2 Diabetes, healthy food movement
- Culture: Political polarization, demographic shifts, generational clash Boomers, Gen X, Millennials
- Literature: Hot titles, literacy, importance of literature
- Personal Empowerment: How to go where you’re not invited
- Parenting: topics in poverty, pre-school through college
- Journalism: The present and future of journalism and the media – What it means for you
*Note: Any topic can be geared toward mainstream audiences or with a Hispanic/Latino focus.
For more examples of past topics, please visit Esther’s column archives.
Esther is a professional storyteller, communicator and marketing expert who can effectively deliver your message as a keynote speaker, a panelist, and an expert source.
Contact Esther via email (estherjcepeda [at] washpost.com) to inform, educate or inspire your group and/or organization.