Rachel Campos – Duffy (pictured above) is someone you might recognize from the MTV reality show The Real World. Others might recognize her as the wife of Congressman Sean Duffy. She is much more than either of those titles. Rachel is a national spokesperson for the LIBRE Initiative on the topic of education, and an advocate for economic empowerment of Hispanics through entrepreneurship, limited government and self-reliance. She also writes for Fox News Latino and NBCLatino.com and regularly appears as a commentator on Fox News, CNN and EWTN — all while raising seven children.
Ramón Ortiz is Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor of Multicultural Affairs and Student Success at UW-Whitewater. He is a lifelong Madisonian who has dedicated his career to helping students of color prepare for college and succeed once there. He worked at the University of Wisconsin as the Assistant Director of the PEOPLE Program, where he supervised 18 permanent staff and 150 instructional staff. In his current role, he oversees the Academic Excellence Program, the Upward Bound Program, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction pre-college summer programs at UW-Whitewater. He is responsible for managing a $1.1 million budget. In his limited down time, Ramon is working his on getting his PhD at UW-Madison.
Lupe Martínez might be the most influential Latino in the state of Wisconsin. He became President of United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) in 1974. Over 40 years, Lupe has led UMOS to grow into one of the largest Hispanic non-profits in Wisconsin. UMOS focuses on three major initiatives: child development, social services and workforce development. Lupe oversees more than 40 statewide programs. In their job centers, they serve more than 20,000 individuals monthly and help more than 5,500 children. UMOS assisted 7,000 households with home energy assistance and distributed over 550,000 pounds of food to families in need.
Kathy Flores is a name that comes up every time the topic of diversity and inclusion is raised in the Fox Valley. If this were a list on the LGBTQ community in Wisconsin, Kathy would probably also make that list. In her full-time work, she has been in charge of the City of Appleton’s Diversity and Inclusion for the past 6 years. Kathy works on a variety of issues with the City of Appleton to promote inclusion. Her responsibilities are wide, including combating racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and religious intolerance. In addition, she works on issues for those with disabilities, mental health needs, homelessness and addiction.
Griselda Alrete is the President & CEO of Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM). Previously, she served as the Executive Director at the Cream City Foundation, where she still serves on the board of directors. She’s been a corporate events director, a criminal justice instructor, and an investigative reporter. Griselda serves on the board of directors for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, and on the advisory boards for Visit Milwaukee Multicultural Committee, Notre Dame Middle School, United Way Emerging Leaders and United Way Latina Taskforce. In 2013, Aldrete received Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award, and in 2014 the United Way of Greater Milwaukee’s Philanthropic 5 award. In 2015, Marquette University recognized her as the College of Art and Sciences Young Alumna of the Year and the Biz Times named her the winner of the Regional Spirit Award.
Juan José “The Notorious” López is a true champion for Latinos statewide. On his tour of community service he was the past Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and for Briarpatch. He was also a founding member of the Latino Professional Association of Greater Madison and board chair for United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS). Lopez was the first Latino to be elected to the Madison school board. He now is a Bureau Director in the Department of Workforce and Development. Mr. Lopez is a true legend.
Raquel Filmanowicz, a Chicago native who now calls Milwaukee home, has a passion for the healthy lifestyle. She runs five miles or takes a long walk every day and enjoys cooking healthy meals. That type of discipline helps her in job as Director, U.S. Community Affairs for BMO Harris Bank overseeing Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kansas City, MO and Rockford, IL. In her role, Racquel leads BMO’s strategic philanthropic outreach. She is currently on the Board of Directors of Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Initiatives and Advocacy Committee.
José Araujo is a market analyst for Latin America for Kohler Company, the multifaceted global family of brands that is one of Wisconsin’s most iconic companies. The Sheboygan area, known as the land of bratwurst and Germans, is also home to an exploding Latino population. Araujo is not just a local leader of his community, but a statewide one as well. This dynamic professional has vast experience in project management, public relations, and customer services. He put those skills to good use as he senior director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin where he cultivates and manages relationships with government officials, private sector executives, and funding sources throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Jorge Franco is the Chairman, President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. He served as the past chairman of the United States Chamber of Commerce on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Franco is first-generation American – his family is from Michoacán, Mexico. Jorge has a passion for helping Latino business entrepreneurs and a vision for increased workforce training, lending and public policy involvement. Franco provides a vision for the future of the HCCW in a manner that represents the interests of the state’s more than 10,000 Hispanic Business Enterprise entities and the more than 600,000 Hispanics who make up the state’s youthful, underserved and under-utilized Hispanic American workforce.
Jocelyne Pruna, Nayeli Santoyo and Cristina Navarette, of Milwaukee’s CBS affiliate, WDJT, are talented multimedia specialists and bilingual journalists. They work for Telemundo Wisconsin, headquartered in Milwaukee. They have all dedicated their professional careers to media and making sure the Latino perspective is heard. We at Madison365 appreciate their work to make all voices matter.
Manny Vásquez has the unique background of having worked for both Democratic Senator Russ Feingold as a caseworker, and Republican Senator Ron Johnson as regional director, overseeing a 13-county region. Manny is currently the vice president of the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, an organization focused on public and private partnerships to help businesses locate in the Fox Valley. In this role he manages public and investor relations, leads on business attraction, and is the main contact for the Fox Cities Regional Partnership. He serves on the boards of Oshkosh Alumni Association and YMCA Fox Cities.
Glorily López, a Murphy Desmond attorney originally from Puerto Rico, has earned a reputation as one of the top immigration attorneys in the state of Wisconsin. López is an ardent advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and maintains ongoing contact with members of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation regarding issues such as comprehensive immigration reform, H-1B visas and employment-based immigration relief. She was twice named “Madison Immigration Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America.
Guadalupe “Wally” Rendón has his hands in everything in Racine that deals with the Latino community. He is a retired Racine police officer and former school board member. Rendón currently serves as the President of the Racine Hispanic Business and Professional Association, where one of his duties has been to organize the popular Racine Fiesta Mexicana, a summer music festival that originated in the police department more than 30 years ago.
David Cagigal serves as the chief information officer for the State of Wisconsin, where he helps lead the data consolidation of the state’s data centers. He assisted in designing a new security program for state data — more important now than ever. In 2010, David was highlighted as one of the premier 100 IT leaders in the country according to Computerworld. He also sits on the board of directors of the Urban League of Greater Madison.
Ernesto Villarreal is the CEO & President of Milwaukee-based El Rey Foods. With revenue over $74 million and more than 400 employees, it’s one of the largest Hispanic-owned corporations in Wisconsin. Ernesto came to Milwaukee in the early stages of a wave of Mexican immigrants in the 1960s. He and his brother Beto grew El Rey from a small family-owned grocery store to a Hispanic food wholesaler and popular destination for groups of students and adults to learn about Hispanic culture.
JoCasta Zamarripa represents Milwaukee’s downtown and south side as a Democrat in the State Assembly. The UW-Milwaukee alumna become the first Latina in the State Legislature in 2010, and was re-elected three times, never gaining less than 83 percent of the vote. She is one of four members of the legislature to identify as LGBT. Formerly an outreach coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, she was also active in the 9 to 5 National Association of Working Women, served as board secretary for 9 to 5 Milwaukee, and was a board member for Equality Wisconsin (formerly Center Advocates). She also serves on the Governor’s Council on Migrant Labor and is a member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO).
Lucio Fuentez founded Comunidad de Amigos in 1975 primarily to serve migrant farm workers in Sheboygan County. He remains executive director of the organization, which is now known as Partners for Community Development and which now provides a wide array of community services in six counties across East Central Wisconsin. He serves as a trustee on the Lakeshore Technical College District Board, chairman of the Sheboygan Civil Service Commission and treasurer of the Amigos Scholarship Fund.
Luis and Lupita Montoto provide the 411 on pretty much everything in Madison on La Movida 1480 AM, a Spanish-language radio station that continues to be a vital resource for the local Latino community. The energy of the husband-and-wife duo, who have innumerable connections in Dane County’s Latino community, are what keep La Movida thriving. La Movida’s goals are not only to entertain and inform but to make the community stronger. Originally starting out on just weekends 15 years ago, La Movida went 24/7 in 2002 and never looked back. The mark that they leave on the community goes well beyond radio; they host numerous events around town, including their very own annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon.
Gerardo H (Jerry) Gonzalez of Waukesha is the co-founder of the largest minority-owned law firms in the nation, and one of the largest minority-owned businesses of any kind in Wisconsin. The firm, Gonzalez, Saggio & Harlan, books annual revenue of more than $30 million and employs nearly 200 people. He also co-founded the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF). At the recommendation of the White House, Gonzalez served on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Board of Directors. Gonzalez was appointed to high-level committees by two different governors: the Committee on Judicial Elections under Tommy Thompson and Scott Walker’s Judicial Selection Committee. He also helped design a think tank to work on increasing racial and ethnic diversity among Wisconsin judges.
Teresa Tellez-Giron has been a bilingual bicultural social services specialist for Dane County Human Services for almost 25 years. She has also played important roles in the Latino Support Network of Dane County (LaSup) and the Latino Children and Families Council, of which she is the co-founder. Through these organizations, Latino health and human service professionals come together to collaborate on events and projects designed to uplift the health and social well-being of the Latino community. Tellez-Giron is also a frequent speaker and facilitator for local and state-wide racial justice training programs.
Rebeca Lopez was named to the prestigious 40 Under 40 list from the Business Journal of Milwaukee for 2015. A humble woman, she describes herself as a “working wife and mother.” However, her Rolodex is a “Who’s Who” of the Latino community statewide. She previously worked as Senator Russ Feingold’s regional coordinator, and later graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University Law School, where she served as business editor of the Marquette Law Review. She is now an attorney with Godfrey & Kahn focusing on immigration and employment law.
Jessie Rodriguez serves in the state legislature representing the 21st Assembly District, which includes Franklin and portions of other suburbs to the south of Milwaukee. She came to Milwaukee from war-torn El Salvador by way of Massachusetts, graduating from Hamilton High School and Marquette University. She joined the Assembly in a special election in 2013 and has become a leading voice on education issues as Outreach Coordinator for Hispanics for School Choice.
Dr. Enrique Figueroa serves as director of UW-Milwaukee’s Roberto Hernandez Center, which provides services for Latino students at UWM as well as the wider Latino population of southeastern Wisconsin. He is also assistant to the provost for Latino affairs. With a bachelor’s degree from Fresno State, two master’s degrees and a PhD from UC-Davis — all in horticulture, agricultural education or agricultural economics — he served President Bill Clinton as undersecretary in the Department of Agriculture and was responsible for a workforce of 15,000 and a $2 billion budget.
Gloria Reyes, hailing from the east side of Madison, is deputy mayor for Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Community Services. The former Madison police detective is also the board president for the Dane County Chapter of the Latino Peace Officers Association. She volunteers for many organizations including the Wisconsin Association of Women Police and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Reyes recently served as the president of the board of directors at Centro Hispano of Dane County where she oversaw the hiring of current Executive Director Karen Menendez Coller and the deepening of Centro’s commitment to youth programs..
Pablo Sanchez is nearing his 10th anniversary as vice president of Park Bank, one of the few banks that remains truly local to Madison. A leading voice on consumer credit, he’s served on the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy for many years. He also serves on the boards of directors of UW Hospital and Clinics Authority, Overture Center Foundation and Downtown Madison Incorporated.
Judge Juan Colas came to America from Colombia with his family at the age of five and grew up speaking both Spanish and English. His language skills landed him a job as a court interpreter, which led to a career first as a public defender, then assistant attorney general prosecuting sexual predators, and ultimately to the bench when Governor Jim Doyle appointed him as the state’s first Hispanic judge in 2008. He’s been re-elected twice.
Ernesto González, Jr founded Casa Hispana, a service agency for the Latino community of the Fox Cities, in 2006. Gonzalez got his start in community service with United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS), helping agricultural migrants relocate, in the early 1970s. Through the 1980s, he became deeply involved in the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay’s ministry to Latinos bringing students and others to Spanish-language masses. He still serves as president of the Casa Hispana board, and was ordained in 2014 as a deacon of St. Therese Parish.
David Villa is the Chief Investment Officer for the State of Wisconsin Investment board (SWIB) with more than $98 billion in assets under management. Villa joined SWIB in June 2006 after serving for two and a half years in a similar position in Florida and 12 years with UBS Global Asset Management. He is a board member and the treasurer of the Marguerite Casey Foundation and a member of the board of Madison College Foundation and the advisory board of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center. He earned his bachelor’s or arts degree from Princeton, master’s degree from Stanford and MBA from Northwestern. In 2013, Villa was the highest paid state employee with total compensation of over $1.3 million.
Óscar Tovar is the staff assistant to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the state’s largest city. For Mayor Barrett, he handles all public relations, community outreach and constituent services. The Milwaukee native was deputy director of Governor Jim Doyle’s Milwaukee office, overseeing the governor’s priorities and constituent services in the entire southeastern quarter of the state. Tovar serves on the boards of directors of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Community Services, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology & Trades High School Commission.
Nancy Hernández, a lifelong Milwaukee resident, is the founder and president of the multicultural marketing and communication firm ABRAZO, with offices in Milwaukee and El Paso, Texas. In 2013, Governor Scott Walker appointed her to the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and a year later she was elected to the Marquette University board of directors. She is the past president and founding member of the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee. Nancy has earned numerous awards and recognitions including Hispanic Business of the Year, Business Journal Women of Influence and the Biz Times Innovator Award.
Jim Gallegos is one of the handful of Latinos or African Americans in Dane County’s private sector with the title Senior Vice President. He holds that title for Alliant Energy, where he is General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, overseeing 17 attorneys. Gallegos has earned numerous awards; in 2007 he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine. In 2009, Hispanic Business also recognized him among their 25 corporate executive elite. Jim currently serves on boards of the Urban League of Greater Madison and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
Sandy Morales, the new CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Dane County, believes that building solid relationships not only transform young people’s lives, but the whole community. Morales is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from college, earning her degree from Marquette. She is the former president of the Latino Professional Association of Greater Madison, a group that she founded two years ago in Madison to recognize and enhance the lives of Latino professionals through community engagement and professional development. Morales is also a former board member of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County, and the Edgewood College Advisory Board.
Dr. Victor Miranda is the Chief Medical Officer-Neurology at GE Healthcare in Waukesha, where he previously served as vice president of Medical Operations. His long career in the medical device industry includes stints at Bio-Rad Laboratories, Biosense Webster, LifeScan and Johnson & Johnson. In addition to a medical degree from the World University Medical School, he holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from Pepperdine. He serves on the board of directors for AIDS Resources Center of Wisconsin and the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee.
Lucía Núñez recently became be the new vice president for Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement at Madison College. Nuñez’s responsibilities focus on diversity and inclusion efforts throughout Madison College’s 12-county district. Prior to this recent appointment, Núñez, as the director of the City of Madison’s Department of Civil Rights, led a team that worked as a catalyst for change to improve the quality of life for all people in Madison. Born in Cuba, Núñez also served as the executive director of Centro Hispano of Dane County and the deputy secretary at the Department of Workforce Development.
Pastor Marcio Sierra puts his faith into action at Lighthouse Church in Madison. He works to help those in the most need and to address one of Wisconsin’s most glaring issues, our education gap for kids of color. The mission at Lighthouse Christian School is to provide education for low-income families of color, and the stats show they are doing just that: 77 percent of their students qualify for free or reduced cost school lunches.
Oscar Mireles is the principal and executive director of Omega School, an alternative school on Madison’s south side that has assisted over 1,500 young adults in preparing for and completing their GEDs in the past decade. He was named Wisconsin Hispanic Man of the Year by UMOS and earned the prestigious Madison City/County Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in 2009. Mireles recently became the first Latino Poet Laureate for the City of Madison. Mireles has published over 100 poems and has put together an anthology that brings to life the unique Latino voices of Wisconsin entitled I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: Three Decades of Writing.
Dr. Karen Menendez Coller was a relative unknown when Centro Hispano of Dane County’s board of directors chose her as its new executive director in 2013. The El Salvador native has made a name for herself at the county’s largest Latino agency, whose mission is to empower Latinos through quality social, cultural and educational programs. Menendez Coller’s ambitious approach to Centro’s fundraising has enabled the agency to expand and develop more programming, serve more people and become a force in the overall Madison community.
Ricardo Diaz has led Milwaukee’s United Community Center, one of the largest Hispanic-focused non-profits in the country, since 2003. The UCC has education at the core of its mission, and has about 1,200 students enrolled at its Bruce-Guadalupe School. Diaz has been recognized as Waukesha Volunteer of the Year and Hispanic Man of the Year by both the United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Jorge Hidalgo owns one of the top five dealerships for Honda new car sales in Wisconsin, and his dealership currently ranks in the top 10 in the Midwest zone for Certified Honda sales. The 52,000-square-foot facility on Madison’s east side features a 5,000-square-foot live green roof over the service reception drive. Jorge is a West Point graduate and Army veteran who worked for many years as a Harley Davidson executive at plants in New York, where he grew up, and Milwaukee.
Dr. Tony Báez is the executive director of the Council for the Spanish Speaking, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit that serves 15,000 low-income people each year through programs in health care, education, housing and workforce development. He joined the Council in 2006 following a long career in higher education. He served 12 years in several position at Milwaukee Area Technical College, including Provost and Chief Academic Officer. He has also been a leader in Latino civil rights for more than 40 years, often serving as an expert consultant in desegregation litigation. In addition to winning many awards over the years, Dr. Báez has an award named after him: the Tony Báez Leadership and Advocacy Award is given each year to a person who has excelled in advocacy for bilingual education and people of color.
Jose Olivieri is one of the leading immigration attorneys in the region. He co-founded and chairs the Immigration Practice Group at Michael Best & Friedrich in Milwaukee. He is also former chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Relations Practice Group, and helps lead the Higher Education Special Practice Group. He serves the community as board president of United Community Center, board vice president of Carroll University, and board member of Mount Mary University. He earned the NFL Hispanic Heritage Award in 2013 and received the prestigious Leaders in the Law Award in 2015.
Ana Hooker is senior vice president for Exact Sciences, one of the top executives in Madison’s burgeoning biotech sector. She brought more than 20 years of lab experience when she accepted the position overseeing all laboratory operations. With an undergrad degree from Kansas State and an MBA from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, she spent 15 years in a variety of positions with ARUP Laboratories in Utah.
Dan Guerra, Jr. is founder and CEO of the Healthcare IT startup AltusMedical Group, which provides online continuing medical education courses for healthcare professionals through his AltusCampus, a cloud-based, “Netflix” style online platform. In a short period of time, Guerra has raised $800,000 and oversees 20 employees. Guerra also founded Argus, a website and web application development agency that serviced small- and medium-sized businesses, when he was still a teenager.
Mayra Medrano is, by day, the community services manager for Madison Gas and Electric. Outside of her day job, Medrano works towards building a strong Madison Latino community as the president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County and a member of the Latino Professionals of Greater Madison. She was named to In Business Magazine’s “40 under 40” Class of 2015. Medrano is also a Business Forum 2015 Athena Young Professional Award nominee, a special award for women in Madison who have built their leadership skills and attain professional excellence.
Austin Ramirez is the president and CEO of HUSCO International, where he oversees over 1,400 employees and revenue of more than $375 million. Ramirez sits on numerous boards in the Milwaukee area including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, and the YMCA. He is also part of the investment group that recently purchased the Milwaukee Bucks and negotiated with the City of Milwaukee to build a new arena.