The Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County (LCCDC) has announced the appointment of Tania Ibarra as president of the Latino Professionals Association(LPA) of Greater Madison. “I’m very excited because this is the best team someone could ask for,” Ibarra tells Madison365. “We are looking to continue to grow our network and to expand what we do. Our vision is to create a community that empowers Latinos to pursue and attain success. I believe Latino professionals deserve to have a supportive network that elevates them to meet their full potential. We have unique perspectives and challenges, and the greater the resources and support, the more successful we will become.”
Ibarra is currently the internal audit and compliance manager for Summit Credit Union of Dane County. Her experience as a community leader through her service with Centro Hispano of Dane County and the LCCDC Board of Directors, coupled with her knowledge and experience in the financial service industry, uniquely position her to continue the development of the Latino Professionals Association.
Latino professionals all too often find themselves isolated in Madison and it takes them a long time to get integrated into the community – both the Latino professional community and the larger community. That was the case for Ibarra herself. “We want to shrink that time. For me, personally, it took three years to get integrated and maybe another six years to feel a part of the community,” Ibarra said. “I think that’s an experience that many of us Latinos share. We want to change that so we don’t have so many young professionals leaving Madison because they don’t have that sense of community here.”
Ibarra was recently recognized as a 40 under 40 Outstanding Professional by InBusiness Magazine and as one of the 35 M-Listers for social innovation from Madison Magazine for her collaboration with Step UP: Equity Matters. Ibarra sees this appointment as an opportunity to expand upon her passion for advancement of Latinos. “Ultimately, I would like to see Latino representation at every level within every organization in the greater Madison area, from entry-level positions to the seats in the boardroom,” she says. “Our community has great talent and we can add value to any organization that is genuinely willing to include us.”
Born out of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County, the Latino Professionals Association (LPA) of Greater Madison has been established since the fall of 2013, and embodies a mission to recognize and enhance the lives of Latino professionals through community engagement and professional development.
“We want to extend our gratitude to Sandy Morales for her two-year commitment as the president of the LPA. Ms. Morales’ collaborative leadership was vital in recruiting the LPA executive team,” said Mayra Medrano, president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce. “We wish Ms. Morales great success as the new CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Dane County and look forward to her continued role as an LPA active member.”
LPA will continue to host their leadership forums and their talent connections career coaching program, which seeks to assist LPA members in making informed decisions about their respective career development and trajectory and provide members with training and one-on-one coaching to maximize career success. “Next year, we’re going to launch a new program called Conexiones (Connections) which will bring people in the community together and having dinner which we will cater for Latino businesses. It’s all about getting to know each other better,” Ibarra says. “We’re also going to do La Hora Feliz (Happy Hour) at various places because demographics have changed and we feel there is a need for that as well.”
Latinos are the largest minority in the state of Wisconsin. Dane County’s Latino population doubled between the years of 2000 and 2010. As this growth continues, the LPA is encouraging members of the community to join its ranks in supporting a thriving membership of Latino professionals. Ibarra says that one of her goals is to increase the membership, that’s a little over 100 right now, to above 200. “That is one of big goals,” Ibarra says, “We want to keep growing.”