Meet the NAHJ Chicago Chapter eBoard
Natalie joined NBC Chicago as a general assignment reporter in January 2001. With nearly two decades of reporting and anchoring, she came to NBC Chicago from WXXA-TV, the Fox station in Albany, N.Y. Natalie is very active and recognized in the Latino community and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, for which she was elected Chicago Chapter Vice President in 2015; Hispanic leadership association; and the National Association for Female Executives.
She also does charitable work for Bright Pink, CAWC (Chicago Abused Women Coalition), Center on Halsted and the Salvation Army among many others, and frequently services as Mistress of Ceremonies for groups all over the Chicagoland area. In March 2011, Martinez was named one of Chicago’s Most Influential Women by the I’m Every Woman Expo.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Martinez is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and University of North London on scholarship.
In 2012, she was among the journalists honored with a Chicago Headline Club Peter Lisagor Award for her role in covering the verdict in the trial against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. She was honored with an Emmy Award for her reporting of the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago and another for her spot news coverage on deadly tornadoes in Washington, Ill. She won an AP award for Best Reporter in 2013 for her composite reel of breaking, hard and feature news stories.
Natalie grew up with a Ukrainian mother and Dominican father. She embraces and appreciates all the diversity that Chicago has to offer, and is a proud supporter of the Ukrainian community as well.
Carly is an Emmy Award winning assignment editor for CBS 2 Chicago. She joined the station in September 2003 from WLS-TV where she worked as a desk assistant and field producer since 2000.
Carly is fluent in Spanish, was born in Venezuela and studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain. Carly grew up in the south suburbs and attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School. She graduated with a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Carly first got involved with NAHJ in 2015 when the chapter was relaunched by Blanca Rios, a current NAHJ Regional Director. During that time, she was instrumental in organizing and executing WBBM-TV’s involvement with the NAHJ Job Fair. During her term as Vice President of NAHJ Chicago last year, she chaired both the Job Fair and Scholarship Committees. During the 2016-2017 year, the chapter raised enough money to give three students $2,000 Journalism Scholarships and one student a $500 Multimedia Scholarship. Carly’s focus is to gain more chapter members and continue to organize events to keep Latinos connected with current and future journalists.
Laura Rodríguez is a multimedia bilingual journalist for Hoy/Chicago Tribune. For almost 3 years, Laura has focused on exposing untold and compelling stories of the Latino community in the area, focusing on bilingual Millennials and their multiculturalism. Her work ranges from human interest, entertainment, investigative pieces, to breaking stories. All completely produced, written and video edited by herself, often written in English and Spanish. If not all, most of her stories are curated to fit print and digital platforms.
In 2016, Laura traveled to Guanajuato, Mexico to follow up on the story of the family murdered in Gage Park. She also traveled to Israel for a journalism fellowship with Fuente Latina to learn of the Latino presence in the Middle East. She also attended the historic Democratic National Convention in 2016. Laura has collaborated with Azteca Nacional in Mexico and Ciudad TV México.
Laura served as a mentor for Global Girl Media Network, an organization that teaches women empowerment through the media for girls from underprivileged communities in the Chicago area. She has participated in a number of talks in journalism high schools and college classes as an example of a young Latina journalist in this fast and drastically changing industry.
Born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, Laura learned English as her second language. She then attended DePaul University and graduated with a B.A in Broadcast Journalism, a Spanish minor and a Concentration in Latino Media. She has been an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Chicago chapter since she graduated college.
Will is currently the Executive Director at Focus on Tomorrow, an education nonprofit that teaches high school student the fundamentals of journalism. Working mostly with at-risk youth in Chicago, Will seeks to expose teens to opportunity and expose their creativity.
Over the years, Will has held various roles in media, including Stagehand, Camera Operator and Lighting Technician. He has worked for television stations/networks such as WMFE in Orlando, WAMI in Miami Beach and Univision in Doral, Florida. Will has also filled various freelance roles in commercials and concerts.
Upon furthering his education, Will moved into the business side of broadcasting at ABC 7 Chicago, where he served as an Accountant for 11 years. He resigned from ABC 7 in June of 2014 to serve as Executive Director of Focus on Tomorrow.