What a rare find we encountered with Ileana. She's stunning, to say the least, but has an ability to appeal to everyone. What you see on camera is what you get from her in person - a grounded, down to earth sweet nature that resonates with the audience. There's nothing pretentious about her, and I believe a lot of that has to do with her family. She hails from LA, one of four kids born from immigrants. Her mother is Salvadorean and her father is Guatemalan. Both, self made – her mother is a dermatologist and her father is an attorney at his own firm. For Ileana it is all about her family, and that self made determination has made her the journalist she is today. She sets her sights high and does whatever she needs to do to reach her goals. From our first conversation, I felt that although she wasn't exactly where she wanted to be, her tenacity and spirit to succeed would help her reach her goals in short order. I loved that she was open and receptive to what others around her shared. She is quite literally a sponge. Her intake is swift and judgment is practical and precise.
In just a few short years, Ileana has worked in some the largest markets in the country. She's currently a reporter in Washington, DC at WUSA. She's covered national stories, crime in the DC Metro and politics on the hill. Prior to joining WUSA, she was a nightside reporter at KYW in Philadelphia and a freelance reporter at WNYW in New York. Over the years she's covered the untimely death of music icon, Whitney Houston, as well as an arrest in the disappearance of Etan Patz, the longest missing child cold case in U.S. history. Ileana also reported on a series of high-profile hate crimes targeting several notable Jewish communities in the New York metropolitan area.
Ileana made her first significant mark in journalism in Tucson covering the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; she was one of the first reporters on scene providing southern Arizona viewers with invaluable insight. During her tenure, Ileana also interviewed national newsmakers, including Senator John McCain, Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne.
Ileana began her on-air broadcast news career as a general assignment reporter at KNDO in Yakima, Washington. She quickly worked her way up there to the lead reporter for the 5p, 6p, and 10p newscasts. In Yakima, she covered everything from grisly murders to major flooding throughout central Washington. Not only did she report, but she also shot and edited her own stories, quickly becoming known as the "fastest reporter" on the team.
Before reporting, Ileana had the unusual opportunity of working for Dateline as an Assistant producer. She worked directly with correspondent Keith Morrison on the Phil Specter murder trial. Ileana was in court everyday for months, covering all aspects of the case, responsible for relaying all pertinent information to the network producers.
Ileana, who speaks fluent Spanish, is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Ileana is also insistent on giving back to the community, actively involved in Junior League and other projects.