Wisconsin’s 46 most influential Latino leaders, part two | Madison365

This is the second in a five-part series. Part One is here.

Maria Lara is a corporate trainer and adjunct business school faculty at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. She joined the college after nearly 20 years as a transportation and logistics leader at shipping company Schneider National. She is cofounder of Latino Professionals Association of Northeast Wisconsin. She also volunteers as a citizenship tutor at Literacy Green Bay, advisor at CollegeReady and community volunteer at Casa ALBA. She earned a degree in political science in 1994 at UCLA and an MBA in 2005 from Wayne State University.

David de Leon is President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company and Senior Vice President of Operations. He joined the company in 1987 as a thermal performance engineer and has held multiple roles, each with increasing levels of leadership and responsibility. In his role as Director of Construction, David spearheaded a team of employees responsible for executing large strategic projects on budget and on time. The team successfully delivered on projects, totaling over $1 billion, that improved customer costs and air quality. Today, Alliant Energy continues to use many of the construction and operations processes and procedures developed under David’s leadership. Outside of work, David volunteers for various activities to help strengthen the communities Alliant Energy customers and employees live and work in. He is on the board of directors for Madison Region Economic Partnership, working to help retain and attract businesses to the area. David is also a board member at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and proudly embraces their efforts to help build an understanding of the connection between access to food, obtaining a job that pays sustainable wages and securing permanent housing. David holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and MBA from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. David is a Wisconsin Registered Professional Engineer and a member of the Leadership Greater Madison Alumni Association.

Juan Corpus is senior culture and engagement professional at Humana in Green Bay, a role he’s held since May 2021 after a career at the company including many roles over the past 23 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Green Bay in 2003.



Margarita Avila is the Director of Workforce Development at the Latino Academy of Workforce Development, Inc. in Madison, where she is responsible for developing and steering the agency’s strategy for engaging people, communities, and entities across Dane County in the Latino Academy’s important work. She is an innovative trailblazer, connector, and compassionate leader with a particular strength that exemplifies the mission of the Latino Academy of Workforce Development, Inc. to positively impact the American workplace by cultivating the pipeline of Latinx/a/os talent and providing insight, access and support to their careers. A native of Durango, Mexico, she understands the barriers and anxiety related to being an immigrant and navigating complex systems. Avila moved to Madison at the tender age of fourteen. Many of the resources the Latino Academy offers to the community are the same resources that assisted Margarita with assimilating to American culture. Margarita volunteers her time at the Dane County Employment and Training Network-Steering Committee as a Networking Coordinator. She currently serves as the Membership Officer for Prospanica Milwaukee Chapter and serves as a board member for the Fair Opportunity Project. Margarita is currently part of Mujeres de Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) Women’s Leadership program. Prior to joining the Latino Academy of Workforce Development, Margarita served as the Director for Multicultural Initiatives for the American Heart Association and actively participated in leadership roles across the business and education sectors for the last fifteen years. Ms. Avila’s leadership experiences range from marketing and public relations with Mark Thatcher Real Estate, LCC., MiVoz.com, and ESPN Milwaukee; to curriculum design & evaluation for Pathways to College Program, and University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point; to global advocacy and workforce development with the United Nations and Prospanica. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing from Wisconsin Lutheran College. As a Latina and immigrant, Ms. Avila continues to make positive contributions to the Latino community through her professional career and service to the community. Margarita’s passion has been to empower the Latinx/a/os community and to ensure everyone has a dignified seat at the decision making table.

Yannette Figueroa Cole represents Madison’s near west side on the Common Council. She grew up in Puerto Rico and has lived in Madison for almost 30 years. She has served as Treasurer and President of Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association and served people experiencing homelessness through the Beacon and Friends of the State Street Families as Outreach Specialist and more recently as a board member. After Hurricane Maria, she worked to establish the Puerto Rico Relief Fund of South Central WI, successfully raising over $90,000 in the Madison area to support grassroots relief organizations on the island. Professionally, she has over two decades in the healthcare & medical devices manufacturing field as a system administrator, data analyst, business process mapping analyst, integration lead, and financial reporting.

Alex Ysquierdo is Diversity Business Development Manager at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a role he assumed in April 2021 after a seven-year career in banking. He grew up in a migrant working family that traveled between Texas and Wisconsin, settling in Nekoosa for high school where he was a three-sport athlete in football, track and weightlifting. He earned a degree in Latin American Cultural Studies from UW-Stevens Point in 1999 and a master’s degree in organizational management and change from Edgewood College in 2021. He serves on the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland Council and Downtown Madison, Inc.

Temo Xopin is founder of NeuroRepublica, a bilingual digital marketing and branding agency with offices in Madison and Milwaukee that specializes in helping businesses reach the Latino market. Clients have included Catholic Knights, St. Thomas More High School, We Energies and more. He volunteers as an instructor of Digital Marketing, e-mail marketing, Social Media Marketing, Entrepreneurship and personal development with Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.

Cristina Villanueva is cofounder of negozee, a social learning platform for Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs across the country. The app offers access to education, resources, networking, classes and more to help enable entrepreneurs to succeed and grow. She is also the owner of Ambas Financial Services LLC, a bilingual tax preparation and accounting business serving the south side of Milwaukee. She serves as a volunteer mentor with the nonprofit SecureFutures. She earned a degree in business administration from UW-Milwaukee.

Eugene Manzanet is the first executive director of Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee, a nonprofit organization launched last year to form strategic partnerships between local service providers addressing generational trauma in the state’s largest city. Manzanet served eight years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve before launching a 25-year career in the banking industry, serving the Milwaukee area as a resource for financial education and community and economic development. He recently left his role as vice president of community lending for U.S. Bank Home Mortgage Wisconsin, where he led a team of mortgage lending bankers dedicated to providing affordable residential lending options to low-to-moderate income earners in the Milwaukee area. Manzanet is completing research in pursuit of his doctoral degree at Cardinal Stritch University in leadership in the advancement of learning and service. The focus of his research is nonprofit sustainability and advancement of organizational leadership. His research and commitment to the advancement of organizational leadership is demonstrated in his role as the chairman of the board of advisors for Mission Fuel. Mission Fuel is the area’s first nonprofit accelerator hosted in the hub of innovation and community engagement at Cardinal Stritch University.

Source: Wisconsin’s 46 Most Influential Latino Leaders, Part 2 | Madison365

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