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Maria Leandra Imperial

Maria L. Imperial served as Commissioner for the NYS Division of Human Rights from October 2021 through March 2024, having been appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul.


Prior to her appointment, Ms. Imperial served as the CEO of the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester, whose mission is eliminating racism and empowering women. Under Ms. Imperial’s leadership, the YWCA completed a $26 million green renovation of its Residence, a $4 million bond refinancing of its North St. Activity Center, re-aligned the organization’s programs to better reflect its mission, including the creation of the Westchester Center for Racial Equity opening April 2021.


Previous to her tenure at the YWCA, Ms. Imperial was Executive Director of the City Bar Justice Center, and Assistant Director and General Counsel of Safe Horizon. She began her career working as an associate at O’Melveny and Myers law firm.


Ms. Imperial has been recognized by Westchester 914 as a 2018 Women in Business Awardee and received Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice Champion of Justice Award, the Westchester Human Rights Commission Award for promoting human rights in the County and also the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WESTCOP) Community Service Award.


She is a graduate of Harvard University, the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Harvard Law School.