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Latino Chamber of Commerce Announces New Board of Directors


The Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County has announced its new board of directors and leadership team. The executive committee of board of directors establishes priorities for the statewide business organization on key economic issues that affect job creation and business success for emergent Latinos communities in Wisconsin.

Sarita Mannigel, director for the Food Fight Group, will serve as the new board chair, replacing Juan Jose Lopez, Chief Deputy for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Eugenia Podesta, will also join the executive team as vice-chair, bringing a wealth of experience, serving as the Senior Director of Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship, for Vital Voices, a DC-based global agency. She is also the founder and co-owner of Synergy Coworking in Madison.

Raj Gunaratnam, the Global Commodity Manager for Oshkosh Corporation, has been elected the new treasurer. He will take over the job from Alejandro Arango-Escalante, Senior Financial Analyst at American Family Insurance, who will be ending his six-year tenure.  Stoughton-based proprietor Patricia Woolridge, co-owner of Mariposa Learning Center, will serve as the secretary, and Attorney Ray Feliz, a partner at Octavia Legal Associates, was appointed member at large.

“We are grateful for the time and dedication all of our board members give to help make LCC a stronger organization,” said Jessica Cavazos, president and CEO of the Latino Chamber, in a statement. “Each new board member underwent a rigorous selection process and embody the spirit, expertise, integrity and energy needed to be at the table.”

The chamber served over 1,270 individuals in 2019, held over 57 workshops and events and has a growing membership of 420 member businesses in more than six Counties from Rock to Adams. “As chair of the board, I hope to continue to expand collaborative partnerships, and find a strategic approach to regional economic development —that focuses on business retention and expansion, workforce development, innovation, and advocacy for underserved communities,” said Sarita Mannigel in a press release. “I am excited to see what this group of leaders can do in moving our mission forward.”

The board is comprised of the following members elected in 2019:

◉ Attorney Jair Alvarez, Jair Alvarez Attorney at Law

◉ Juan Garcia, Catholic Financial Life

◉ Dr. Jara Rios Rodriguez, University of Wisconsin-Madison

◉ Dr. Ramon Ortiz, Madison College

◉ Attorney Anthony J. Gray, Austringer Capital Group, LLC

◉ Mariam Maldonado, Lunas Groceries

◉ Daniel Rodriguez, Sysco Corporation

◉ Brandie De La Rosa, Exact Sciences

◉ Pastor Marcio Sierra, Light House School & Church

◉ LeMar Welch, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.

The LCC board, made up of 15 members serving staggered two-year terms, is responsible for establishing a policy to ensure that the Chamber’s mission and vision are aligned to serve the association’s members’ best interest. The LCC works with the goal of providing quality programming through partnerships, resources, training and tools, that advance the development, prosperity and success of Latinos in Wisconsin.