Port’s first chief legal officer has spent her career breaking barriers

Maria Bocanegra, the inaugural Chief Legal Officer at the Port of Cleveland, oversees all legal affairs for the Port including its ethics, compliance, labor, contracts, business transactions, governance and managing outside counsel, will also providing strategic guidance on legislative & regulatory matters.

As the first Latina in this role, Maria sees it as an opportunity to set an example and increase Latino representation in board and executive positions.

Prior to joining the Port in 2022, she served as the second Latina commissioner with the Illinois Commerce Commission, gaining national recognition for her work in utility regulation. Maria is actively involved in various advisory councils and serves on multiple boards, including the Citizens Utility Board of Ohio, Council of the Great Lakes Region and the Cleveland Water Alliance.

Maria has been recognized as a Crain’s Cleveland Notable Latino Leader and Who’s Who In Hispanic Chicago and by Latino Leaders Magazine.

In her spare time, she enjoys trying new restaurants & cuisines, travel and learning all things real estate investing. New to Ohio City and Cleveland, Maria’s top spots for food are Saucy Brew Works, Johnny’s for a filet or Little Johnny’s for a cheeseburger. When she is not exploring Cleveland, Maria is a frequent NYC and Comedy Cellar visitor.