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Sí Se Puede 2020: The 39 Most Influential Latinos in Wisconsin, Part 5

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

Cesar Pinzon is the vice president of Sales & Service Operations at American Family Insurance in Madison. Pinzon has been with American Family for almost 20 years, starting as an agent in 1999 and advancing in the organization in sales leadership roles. In 2007, he became the Chicago Metro sales director and in 2010, assumed the sales director role for the state of Illinois. In 2010, Cesar became life sales and support director. In 2014, Cesar became the east region sales vice president and was named agency strategy and support vice president later in 2018. Pinzon is involved in the community, focused on philanthropy, economic development and inclusion. He is a member of the Centro Hispano Board of Directors, Henry Vilas Zoo Board of Directors, the Waunakee Economic Development Committee, the United Way Personnel Committee and the Latinos Professional Association.

Cristy Garcia-Thomas is the Chief External Affairs Officer at Advocate Aurora Health, the 10th largest health system in the United States. In this role, she oversees patient experience, diversity and inclusion, community relations, foundation, community health and customer service as well as community programs. Before joining Aurora in 2011, Garcia-Thomas also served as the president and CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). She sits on the board of directors for Delta Dental, Chicago United, Greater Milwaukee Committee, the United Community Center and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha. Garcia-Thomas has received numerous awards and recognition, including The Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award, Women of Influence, 2004 Hispanic Professional of the Year by HPGM and TEMPO Milwaukee’s Mentor Award in 2017.

Cindy Lopez Johnson is a full-time Multicultural Advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Prior to beginning this position in August 2020, she worked as an Academic Advisor for Student Support Services at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh since 2015. Johnson provided individualized support for first-generation, limited-income college students through academic advising, student success and life skills development, career planning, financial literacy, and financial aid & scholarship assistance. She even spent time outside of Wisconsin working as an academic advisor at Pulaski Technical College (now The University of Arkansas-Pulaski Tech) in Little Rock. Johnson received a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay in 2013 and a Master’s in Higher Education (College Student Affairs) from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2015.

Dr. Nestor Rodriguez is a board-certified emergency medicine physician and the Medical Director and Co-Owner of Carbon World Health in Madison. He emigrated from El Salvador to the inner city of South Central Los Angeles at the age of 7. After graduating with honors from Yale, Dr. Rodriguez followed his dream to study medicine, which he did at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, where he found a passion for sports medicine, cosmetic procedures, and emergency medicine. Thereafter, he was part of the inaugural class of the University of Wisconsin emergency medicine residency program. Dr. Rodriguez is currently the Medical Director of Emergency Services at Watertown Regional Medical Center. In addition, Dr. Rodriguez and his significant other, Ashley Greer, created Carbon World Health, a one-stop-shop for fitness, health, and beauty. In 2016, he was awarded the “Impact Award” by the Urban League of Greater Madison for his work in developing young professionals in the Greater Madison Area. In 2018, Dr. Rodriguez was awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County.

Jennifer López was named chief executive officer of Carmen Schools of Science and Technology in Milwaukee in July 2019. She has leadership experience in both public district and charter schools. Most recently, she was chief academic officer of St. Anthony School in Milwaukee. Prior to that role, López was a school leadership coach for Schools That Can Milwaukee. She was raised by immigrant Salvadoran parents in a low-income community and attended under-resourced urban schools that did not adequately prepare her for the rigor of a college-prep high school. López initially struggled academically and socially, however, this experience served as a catalyst for her life-long commitment to education and belief that all students deserve access to excellent schools. López earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Spanish Literary and Cultural Studies from Occidental College in 2008 and her Master of Arts degree in School Administration and Policy from Loyola Marymount University in 2011.

Victor Alatorre is chief technology officer at UW-Oshkosh, one of the university’s top information technology executives. He provides vision, leadership, and coordination for the Infrastructure Layer of Information Technology (IT), including the device support, server automation and network infrastructure teams. He took on that role in 2019 after nearly 20 years as an employee at the university, beginning as assistant director of resident life for technology and budgets. He’s been a Titan even longer than that, though, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university. 

Tony Garcia is Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Edgewood College in Madison. He joined Edgewood as an inclusion coordinator in 2010. Before that, Tony worked for the PEOPLE Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is an active member in the Madison community. When not on campus grounds, Tony can probably be found on one of the many bike paths that the city of Madison has to offer.

Raquel Lopez is an associate professor of psychology at St. Norbert’s College in De Pere. Her research focus is on studying how early adversity influences decision-making processes later in life. She cares deeply about helping students from underrepresented groups navigate the world of higher education. She is a former Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Scholar, which is a program meant to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented groups who have demonstrated strong academic potential.

Who’d we miss? Send nominations for next year’s list to news@madison365.org!