Los Angeles native and Sun Prairie High School alumna Mayra Medrano works as a business community services manager at MG&E, and last year took the helm at the Latino Chamber of Commerce.
Rank your top five MCs. Dang! Only Five? In no particular order: Kid Frost, Method Man (Wu-Tan Clan) , 2Pac, Snow Tha Product, LSOB (Lighter Shade of Brown), and I added one more, Ivy Queen.
Which motivates you more: doubters or supporters? Who has time for doubters? I’m motivated by the people who support my journey and hold me accountable. I would rather not disappoint my supporters than attempting to prove the doubters. Doubters will ALWAYS be doubters.
What does it mean to be a Latina in Madison? To be Latina in Madison is to constantly having to prove that you can kick it with Madison culture norms like Bratfest and Concerts on the Square, but not forgetting about quinceañeras and carne asada in the park. As a Latina professional it means being at the table around conversations that impact our local Latino families in the areas of quality of life.
What three leaders in Madison under 50 have impressed you the most? I have been impressed by the emerging leadership from our communities of color. Their passion for social change and social justice impresses me on a whole new level. There is a collaborative effort to ensure that everyone has a voice or speak for those that can’t have a voice. I have been impacted by the high school students who marched to the capitol for the “Day Without Immigrants” and the UW students who shared their stores with #TheRealUW to respond the various incidents of racism and discrimination. This young leadership is making sure that our next generation doesn’t have to think twice about attending UW-Madison or considering Madison to be the place to call home. They are making systemic changes.
What’s the biggest stumbling block in Madison to turning the corner on our racial disparities? The biggest stumbling block is not having uncomfortable conversations about racism or even about race. We are all quick about throwing blame but none of us are willing to be vulnerable in our conversations. Once we are open and honest about what Madison looks like today and what we want Madison to look like in 10 – 20 years from now, then and only then we will be able to close the racial disparities that exist.
What are your top three priorities at this point in your life? My Parents: They are their point of their lives in which they are considering retirement. I’m making it a priority to assist them as they navigate all the moving parts when it comes to retirement.
Traveling: There are so many different worlds outside of Wisconsin ….outside the USA. I want to be able to take-in all the food, music, traditions, and landscapes. I want to live a life with little to no regrets.
Being Mindful: It is so easy to put myself on auto-pilot as I work through my career and my relationships. I’m such a linear type of person that I gravitate towards working on solely checking off my to-do list that I don’t take time to reflect on the today.
How do you find time to balance your job at MGE as the Business Community Service Manager and the President of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County? It’s making the time! That’s easy right? It’s not about balancing two distinct responsibilities. In fact both my roles are about building rapport with local area businesses and ensuring that I help to provide an environment that is beneficial to starting and growing a business both in the areas of energy and in the areas of business development. It’s about connecting people to the abundance of business resources that we having in Madison like Madison Gas and Electric.
Why was going to Brazil one of your things to accomplish on your bucket list? I’ve never been to South America and I wanted to leave the February blues of winter Wisconsin to check out the historical beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the sub-tropical climate of Iguassu Falls and to enjoy the European-style architecture of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s my life goal to visit as many countries as I can. While in Iguassu Falls I was able to be standing in Argentina soil while looking at Paraguay and Brazil. It was truly an exceptional experience.
Name the top three things you want the Latino Chamber to accomplish this year. I want the Latino Chamber of Commerce to hire its first Executive Director, kick-off its first business incubator program, and increase its value-added services to the membership. We are currently partnering with the City of Madison in the Healthy Retail Access Food Program to connect areas of Madison that do not have access to healthy produce to local area grocery stores like Mercado Marimar on Park Street. Building a buyer’s club between communities and grocer.
What do you miss most about your childhood? What I miss the most about my childhood is spending weekends at the Santa Monica pier in California and hanging out at various family members’ homes dancing to Mexican music while the men played dominoes and the women chatted about the latest in the telenovelas. My dad taking us to a Dodger game to watch Fernando Valenzuela strike out players from the opposing team. I miss that even though you have a winter birthday you can still kick butt in breaking the piñata at a local park because it doesn’t snow in southern California.
If you were granted three wishes to have anything you wanted, what would they be and why? Immigration Reform– So that Latino immigrants don’t have to be threatened by the words “illegal alien” and “undocumented.” For students to feel welcomed to a college campus and have the normal college stresses of selecting a major and whose house party to attend and not about someone realizing that you don’t have the proper documentation for higher education. For immigrants to be able to apply for a driver’s license to prove their identity as law-abiding citizens who are worried about providing for their families.
Time Travel- I would like to experience first-hand all of mankind’s milestones and the various empires. To be able to witness the Roman Empire as it developed and grew its influence throughout Europe and to see how the Aztecs dominated Central America and how it fell to the Europeans. Seeing history is much more impactful than reading it in a textbook.
Multi-lingual – To be fluent in all the languages on this planet would be great! Imagine all the possibilities of accomplishments if language barriers were removed?!
What would be your theme song for this year of your life? Definitely, Gangsta by Kat Dahlia!