Perez is one of the most recognized talents in the Chicago broadcast community, the third largest US television market. Her 24-year tenure at ABC included the popular Healthbeat franchise, as well as coverage of daily health and medical investigative stories for dual daily newscasts. She is also known for her expertise and interest in topics involving veterans, including multiple features on their journeys once they return from service and acclimate back into civilian life.
Reporting has always been in her blood. She credits her childhood as a military “brat,” following her father around the world, with giving her the skills she needed. “Asking a lot of questions and getting to know people quickly comes with the territory. You move so often you have to acquire these traits in order to make friends and fit in.” She put a name to her skill set at the age of ten. While watching sportscaster Howard Cosell interview athletes during the Summer Olympics, she asked her brother what you had to study to get that job. His answer was “journalism” and from that day forward her career path was sealed.
Perez attended the University of Oklahoma, majoring in Radio/TV/Film. In a bold, early move she chose an internship with a public television station versus the more typical big network because the public ones were short staffed and she would more likely get real working experience and “air time.” She was right. She covered State Capitol politics with stories appearing on the nightly news before she even graduated.
She parlayed that internship experience into positions as a broadcast journalist in a variety of markets across the country, reporting on major stories involving politics, education, medical and the military. Soon, she began to specialize in stories that would have a direct, practical and positive impact on the individual, a move that boosted viewership as television news faced shrinking audiences.
Meet Sylvia (continued)
At the award-winning Healthbeat, Perez became known for coupling news on medical breakthroughs with information on common health issues people deal with but don’t always know where to turn for help. For example, her story on a rare stomach disorder that affected two unconnected teenaged girls resulted in the diagnosis of additional children. One of the mothers even authored a book about her daughter’s illness naming a chapter Sylvia Perez, and crediting her story with helping to save her daughter’s life after years of searching for a diagnosis.
Similarly, her veteran features have been inspirational, taking the focus off tragedy and putting it on the will to survive and the comradeship that allows them to heal, whether that be accompanying an Illinois veteran to Pearl Harbor to honor his brother, buried at sea; or the Wounded Warriors at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. “I try to honor those I cover and am able to create a trusting connection that allows them to dig deep and share things they have kept close in the interest of helping others.”
Sylvia Perez Productions now takes this skill set into three service areas:
As a video producer, Sylvia continues to focus on stories that matter and make a difference in both television broadcast and digital platforms for a variety of general and specific interest audiences and clients – from television stations to hospitals and not-for profits. She is currently working on a series titled “Heroes: Tragedy to Triumph,” featuring stories about military warriors as well as how military life affects family members. She is also producing a series of “webisodes” on topics in the healthcare industry that apply to the general public but don’t always get the attention they deserve. These include bringing illnesses affecting more Americans to the forefront, such as Alzheimer’s, taking care of elderly parents and fighting “incurable” diseases.
Sylvia is an experienced keynote, panel and master of ceremonies speaker with the ability to make a strong audience connection, particularly with groups that identify with her health care and military credentials and her Hispanic heritage. She has addressed a wide range of topics for organizations including Easter Seals, Casa Central, the American Lung Association and the Ronald McDonald Charities.
She is also using her decades of on-camera experience to work as a media coach with professionals of all types to improve their on-camera and general presentation skills to more effectively communicate their messages in media, meetings and professional settings, either individually or as part of tailored media presentation seminars.
Throughout her career, Perez has been recognized for her achievements with multiple awards including two Emmys. Most recently she was recognized by the office of the Illinois Secretary of State for Excellence in Broadcasting as part of Hispanic Heritage month. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and American Federation for Television and Radio Artist/Screen Actors Guild (AFTRA/SAG).
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