Sí Se Puede 2019: Wisconsin’s 34 Most Powerful Latinos, Part 5


    This is the fifth of a five-part series. Part one is available herepart two is available here, part three is available here, and part four is available here.

    Silvia Gomez de Soriano is a Bilingual Resource Specialist at Madison East who has dedicated her life to advancing the dreams of Latino students in Madison. She is the recipient of the prestigious Roberto G. Sanchez Award from Centro Hispano, which honors an individual that has demonstrated leadership in advancing educational and career opportunities for Latinos in Dane County. An alum of East herself, she guided the formation of the school’s Latino Student Union and helped the group raise $10,000 in its first year, much of which funded scholarships for Latino students. Many students say Gomez goes above and beyond her job descriptions — even though she is often not paid for the additional work she does. Aside from bringing the Latinx community and the school together, Gomez has become a second mother to many of her students.

    Brenda Gomez Solis is the first-ever Hispanic Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. A native of Sylvania, Georgia and alumna of Loras College in Dubuque, she was most recently the Pre-college Coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at UW-Platteville and is now fully transitioning into her new role. The university’s new Hispanic Outreach Program builds on current pre-college services and enhances outreach activities to build a trusted relationship and on-going community dialogue between UW-Platteville and the Southwest Wisconsin Hispanic communities. 

    Angel Lopez, originally from the inner city streets of Chicago, works for Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee as the Sports Coordinator where he has worked for the last three years. Prior to joining the Boys and Girls Club, Lopez coached in the NFL for teams like the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears. He also serves as the first Latino Community liaison for the NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter. Lopez was also featured in the 2017 documentary “A Legacy of Hope” produced by Emmy Award Winners Mike Leonard and Mary Kay Wall following Pro Sports Experience and their partnership with Chicago’s Parents for Peace and Justice as they serve inner-city, at-risk children and seek to change and save lives through sports.

    Leana Nakielski just joined American Family Insurance in their Milwaukee office as strategic partnerships director in January. She joins American Family after establishing herself as a successful nonprofit executive, including stints as development director for the Greater Milwaukee Committee, director of operations for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, and director of development for Highland Community School. She still serves as Board Chair of Highland Community School as well as a board member of co-chair of the Menomonee Valley UEC Advisory Committee for the Urban Ecology Center. She earned both an undergraduate degree and MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Justice Castañeda has been the executive director of Common Wealth Development in Madison since 2017 and prior to that, worked in multiple roles in government, nonprofit and educational settings. Castaneda oversees and manages Common Wealth Development, which is involved in housing development, youth and adult job training and community engagement. He has a masters in policy organization and leadership studies, and city planning. He is also getting a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning at UW-Madison.

    Dr. Marla Delgado-Guerrero is a mental health counselor at Marquette University, and has been a positive force in the Marquette community on both a campus level and individual level. In addition to working one on one with college students, she serves on various university committees that focus on policies to help underrepresented students. She helped create the Undocumented Student Task Force that supported undocumented/DACA students at Marquette. She was also a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Women of Color Awards at UW-Madison, and received a second-place honor from the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education 2018 Outstanding Dissertation Award, where she explored mentoring relationships for Latinx college students.

    Arlette Rodriguez Miller is the Executive Director of the Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council. Her goal as Executive Director has been to motivate the people of La Crosse to become a welcoming community where inclusion and diversity are celebrated. Prior to taking on this role earlier this year, she was Diversity Advocate at New Horizons in La Crosse, having begun her career as a Hispanic Community Liaison dealing in public relations.  She has worked with a broad range of individuals, and enjoys organizational development, particularly focusing on social justice, activism, human rights, communication, marketing, community education and training. Arlette has over 15 years of experience in family therapy, community development, teaching, marketing, communications, and English/Spanish interpretation. Trained and skilled in non-profit as well as private administration and supervision on intervention in social justice, change in times of global crisis, and immediate response

    Who did we miss? Nominate the people who respect for next year’s Sí Se Puede List by emailing news@madison365.org.