This is the first of a five-part series.
Since our founding in 2015, we have published lists of the most influential Black and Latino leaders in Wisconsin, and this year, we expanded that to include our Indigenous and Asian American brothers and sisters. It’s been exciting and gratifying every time, and I’m excited to bring you today our 2020 Sí Se Puede list, recognizing the most influential Latino leaders in Wisconsin. We are also proud to bring you the list this year during Hispanic Heritage Month.
I have always intended these lists to highlight the beauty of the diversity in our community. I wanted young people here in Wisconsin to see role models of people who are succeeding, to know that it’s possible for people of color to achieve great things here, and to highlight people of color doing great work in a variety of fields and pursuits.
But it never quite feels like enough to publish these names and short bios; a few words can never quite capture what it is that makes each of these people special. Plus, we feel that the rest of the Wisconsin community deserves the chance to learn from these amazing leaders.
That’s why we convened the Wisconsin Leadership Summit in 2018 and expanded it in both 2019 and 2020. The third annual summit will be a weeklong, online experience, October 5-9, featuring 25 panel discussions on topics in education, business, social justice and more. Even though we can’t be together this year, the people we’re convening virtually will have so much knowledge, experience and expertise to share that it will be the best summit yet. Each of the people you meet this week, along with everyone else on our lists, are invited to attend for free, and you can join in, too: registration is now open.
This list couldn’t possibly include every Latino doing good work in the community. It does, however, introduce you to some people you’ve never heard of who are doing great things in other parts of the state or simply working behind the scenes, doing the work without the accolades.
It was important for us to expand the way we think about influence, and to highlight more of the people doing what it takes to improve their community. That’s one reason this list is entirely new — we considered anyone named on a previous list to be ineligible for this one, even though most of them continue to wield considerable influence.
I pray you learn something you didn’t know about some of the real leaders in communities throughout Wisconsin. It’s critical to recognize and highlight our neighbors whose stories begin elsewhere, or who trace their roots to other parts of the world. Only then will we truly appreciate the contributions we all make to the prosperity of our communities, our state and our nation.
Henry Sanders, CEO and Publisher, 365 Media
Mark Fraire, the Dane County Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs, has worked as an arts administrator for over 20 years and has been involved in supporting theater arts on every level from producer to writer to actor to comic to playwright to manager to director. Fraire has deep connections in the Madison Latino community and spent 17 years as the state’s Grants Officer for the Wisconsin Arts Board. Fraire created the Community Education Department for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater where he was awarded the President’s Coming Up Taller Award for creating TEENworks, an innovative youth and community theater arts training program. Fraire, who earned an MBA in Corporate Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010, has served on the board of directors of Centro Hispano and the Overture Center for the Arts.
Angel Ramos-Ortiz is the CEO of Innovative Dynamic Networks, a managed IT services provider in Racine. As CEO, Ramos-Ortiz provides leadership and strategic plans to advance the company’s mission. For the past 15 years, Ramos-Ortiz and his team have been supporting several industries through custom solutions. His company received several awards and recognitions, including the 2013 Certificate of Congressional Recognition, 2015 Outstanding Business of the Year and 2017 Hispanic Business of the Year. Ramos-Ortiz received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Parkside.
Fabi Maldonado is the Racine County Board Supervisor for District 2, which covers a southeastern portion of the fifth most populous county in the state. He also is one of 40 members of the state’s 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, which creates an outreach strategy to ensure a strong response. He has been the political director of Voces de La Frontera since August 2019.
Jessica Marquez is the vice president general counsel and chief compliance officer of Hy Cite Enterprises, which is based in Madison. Marquez is a University of Wisconsin Law School graduate and has been with the international cookware company since 2014. She leads HCE’s global operations for the legal, compliance and human resources departments. The company has corporate offices in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Argentina. Jessica has a business litigation background and expertise in Enterprise Risk Management, consumer financial regulation and international corporate governance.
Justin Moralez is the Wisconsin State Director of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy organization. Moralez is also an alder for the City of Cudahy and an advisory board member for the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation. Shepherd Express’s annual Best of Milwaukee series nominated Moralez as a rising star in politics three years in a row.
Irissol Arce is Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Northwestern Mutual, where she combines over 20 years of experience in international business, tech, community impact, and workforce culture development to offer strategic direction, thought leadership, and targeted diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. She’s also charged with developing data-driven and DEI approaches to leadership development, advancing women organizationally and shedding light on underestimated talent. She previously led K12 Technology Advancement and Outreach efforts for Northwestern Mutual and served as Program Officer for the Northwestern Mutual Foundation where she led local childhood education efforts aimed at improving outcomes for kids in Milwaukee. Irissol earned her master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) at Alverno College and St. John’s University Rome, Italy; a bachelor’s degree in the areas of International Business, Marketing and Spanish from Marquette University; a Design Thinking certification from Cornell University; a Human Capital Strategist certification from the Human Capital Institute, accredited by Society Human Resource Management; and a Workforce Development certificate from the University of Wisconsin – Parkside. She is also a graduate of Marquette University’s Future Milwaukee program focused on developing leaders who create positive change in Milwaukee. She also serves as a mentor for at-risk youth, is a Mosaic Partnership program alum which focuses on fostering diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and has served as communications liaison for the United Performing Arts Fund and United Way corporate campaigns.
Patrica Tellez-Giron is a family physician with UW Health, as well as a strong advocate for health education and an advocate for healthcare in the Latino community. A health education advocate in Dane County for many years, Téllez-Girón’s practice is at the Wingra Clinic where more than 90% of her patients speak only Spanish. She is also the chair of the Latino Health Council in Madison and the medical director and main presenter, for the past 17 years, for a monthly health education Spanish radio program at La Movida. Time Magazine recently recognized Dr. Tellez-Giron’s efforts to keep Madison’s Latino community informed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She earned her medical degree from the National University of Mexico and completed her residency at the University of Wisconsin Family Practice Residency Program.
Part two is coming tomorrow!