Latinos in the Madison community are doing tremendous things without even realizing how large of an impact they’re making on others.
Extending a hand to those who need it most is what Centro Hispano has been doing for quite some time and Sujhey Beisser has been helping to lead the way as the president of the Centro Hispano’s board of directors. Centro works to improve the quality of life for Latinos and others living in Dane County by empowering youth, strengthening families, and engaging the community.
Centro Hispano’s story is rooted in the simplicity of genuine care and awareness for those that are not as fortunate. Over the years the Latino community in Dane County has grown and along with it, Centro Hispano’s programs and services have expanded. Today, Centro Hispano’s largest programs are those that serve Latino youth in Dane County schools.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Beisser has been in Madison since 2001. I chatted with her about a variety of topics including Centro Hispano. It was immediately evident the level of sincerity she and her Centro counterparts have towards helping adults and the youth to excel and for providing a safe haven for expression and comfort for the Latino community here in Dane County.
Madison365: What specifically do you do?
Sujhey Beisser: I have been with Park Bank for 14 years. I am currently a branch manager at the Sun Prairie location. I started as a customer service banker at the Old Sauk branch and held the personal banker and assistant manager roles before being promoted into my current position in 2013. That’s my day job.
I also serve on the board of directors of Centro Hispano, where I am currently the president. I’ve been working with Centro since 2008 because I believe in its mission, the community it serves, its potential, and the staff that works tirelessly to keep the agency moving forward. In my spare time, I do what I enjoy the most: cooking, photographing, and sharing recipes and other food adventures in my food blog Five Senses Palate. That is a project that started as a place to use some of my inner creativity, as well as keep all my favorite recipes in one place to share with friends and family. I like where this project has taken me, pushing me in many ways to be better at different things, but most of all at finding a balance between family, work, community and my passion for cooking.
Madison365: Where do you get most of your ideas/inspiration?
Sujhey Beisser: It depends on what I am working on. My family is a great inspiration in all areas of my life. When it comes to business and community-related matters, I always turn to my peers for advice, and guidance. I want to do what works, so if something is already working for someone else, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. I love to brainstorm with colleagues and bounce ideas off of each other. When it comes to cooking, I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from cookbooks, magazines, and food from restaurants I like. I develop serious crushes on chefs around the globe and their food. I get obsessed with trying to make their food in my own kitchen.
Madison365: What is your favorite place for thinking?
Sujhey Beisser: Anywhere around natural beauty. It could be by the water, a nice clear starry sky, trees covered in snow, sunsets or sunrises, the moon, or the mountains. I feel most inspired when I am around nature. Realistically, I just go down stairs to my little home office to do my writing and lots of thinking. I do meditation in that room, too. This happens most often very early in the morning while my husband and kids are still asleep.
Madison365: Who/what inspires you?
Sujhey Beisser: People that are passionate about what they do inspire me. People that give without expecting to receive anything in return inspire me. People that want to motivate other people, and try to make the world a better place, even if it’s just a little bit at a time, inspire me. I don’t want to be like anyone else when I grow up, I just want to learn as much as I can from all those people and be myself. If along the way I could inspire others, then I would be living a meaningful life. I am very thankful to the great mentors that have inspired me and helped me grow over the years; many of them are members of this community. I’d love to pass that knowledge on to others and pay it forward.
Madison365: As an important Latino personality in Madison, how do you hope to help the Latino community in Wisconsin?
Sujhey Beisser: I don’t know about important, I am just another member of this community trying to make a difference. There are many of us trying to push for the same changes to happen. The truth is that the Latino population has only been increasing in Wisconsin for the past two decades. Latinos are here to stay and we need to focus on providing them with the right tools for success. The growth of the Latino community is tremendously important for the economy in Wisconsin; it would be a mistake for our government not to realize this.
I couldn’t possibly take credit for the amazing work that the Centro staff and volunteers do to provide support to our Latino community. What I hope is that my guidance and leadership, along with the rest of our incredible board members, would help to create a stronger community with thriving families and healthy neighborhoods. We hope that Centro can be that place where everyone feels welcome, where they feel like family, where they belong, and where there will always be a hand to count on. I feel extremely lucky to be able to work alongside [Centro Executive Director] Dr. Karen Menendez-Coller, pushing to get the agency to the next level. She is an amazing leader that inspires me and many others in this community. The hope is that we can engage the community, supporters, advocates, and volunteers and continue to push to have a lasting positive impact.