Mayor Tishaura O. Jones Appoints Gilberto Pinela to Lead City’s First Office of New Americans

In her 2023 State of the City address, Mayor Jones highlighted her priority to create this new office.

October 8, 2023 | 2 min reading time
Pinela Headshot

Today, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones announced her appointment of Gilberto Pinela as the Director for the Office of New Americans. In her 2023 State of the City address, Mayor Jones highlighted her priority to create this new office to streamline resources to welcome immigrants and refugees making their way into the city. Since 2021, St. Louis has welcomed more than a thousand new residents from Ukraine, Afghanistan, and more through partner organizations like the International Institute.

“Immigrants and refugees have always played a pivotal role in St. Louis, and our city wouldn’t be what it is today without them,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “Gilberto’s experience and deep roots in the community will strengthen our partnerships so we can welcome more families who want to make St. Louis their home.”

Pinela joins City government after serving as Communications Manager for Cortex Innovation Community since 2017. A native of Puerto Rico and fierce advocate for the rights of foreign-born people, Pinela is the first non-Missouri native Latino to host a Spanish language community affairs television show in Missouri, “Ahora San Luis” for STLTV. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force, holds a Master’s Degree in Media & Communications from Webster University, and has served on numerous boards and commissions throughout his career including PROMO Missouri, Mayor Jones’ LGBTQIA+ Advisory Board, the Zoo-Museum District and Industrial Development Authority, as well as President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in the late 1990’s.

“It is an honor to be appointed by Mayor Jones in this new role to serve new and existing foreign-born residents of St. Louis City,” said Pinela. “Immigrants have always been essential to the success of St. Louis, and I am eager to chart a new course in this role to rebuild our population in the city.”

The International Institute praised Mayor Jones for the creation of the Office of New Americans to help make St. Louis a more welcoming city for immigrant and refugee families.

“For more than 100 years, the International Institute has worked with immigrants and refugees as they arrive to the St. Louis community,” said Arrey Obenson, President & CEO, International Institute of St. Louis. “What we know is that this work cannot successfully be done alone. It can be extremely difficult for an immigrant to navigate a new city and a new country, and it takes an entire community to be truly welcoming. St. Louis has the opportunity to set our community apart as a leader in welcoming immigrants and refugees, and the creation of the Office of New Americans and the hiring of Gilberto Pinela as Director are important steps in that direction.”

Pinela’s start date is Monday, November 6, 2023.


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