Six Badgers Recognized in Wisconsin’s Most Influential Latino Leaders for 2021 – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – UW-Madison


Six UW-Madison alumni were recognized by Madison365 last week as part of the List of “most influential Latino leaders” for 2021.

A nonprofit online news publication, Madison365 has published annual power lists recognizing Wisconsin leaders of different racial and ethnic groups since 2015. The purpose of these lists is to “showcase the beauty of diversity across our state ”and to raise role models for young Wisconsin people, according to Henry Sanders, Jr., co-founder, publisher and CEO of Madison365.

“This list could not include all Latinos who do a good job in the community. However, it introduces you to people you’ve never heard of doing great things in other parts of the state or just working behind the scenes, doing the job without the praise. Sanders said.

Congratulations to the Badgers below who received this well-deserved recognition. You can read the full article at Sí Se Puede 2021: Wisconsin’s 36 Most Influential Latino Leaders.

  • Areli Estrada (MS ’21) is Executive Director of Affordable dental care, a Madison-based non-profit organization that provides dental services to underserved and underinsured people. Previously, she worked as the Green Bay Regional Director for the Hispanic Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, was the Student Support Coordinator at Madison College, and mentored UW undergraduate students through the Posse Scholarship Program. . A first generation college graduate, she received her BA in Human Development from UW-Green Bay and her Masters in Community Development from UW-Madison.
  • Mario Garcia Sierra is the Senior Manager of Customer Engagement and Community Development at Madison Gas and Electric. Originally from Guatemala, García Sierra was chairman of the board of directors of Centro Hispano of Dane County from 2017 to 2019 and worked at Centro from 2008 to 2012 as Director of Programs. He studied Agriculture and Applied Economics at UW-Madison.
  • Cristhabel Martinez (’21, MSW x22) is a graduate student of the School of Social Work and Executive Director of Wisconsin dreamers, an organization founded to support undocumented students living in the United States, which recently expanded its reach statewide. Martinez received her Bachelor of Social Work with certificates in Criminal Justice, Educational Policy and Global Health in 2021. She has served as an AVID tutor with the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and has volunteered as a children’s advocate with DAIS, Dodge County Jail Intake Volunteer and Circle of Support volunteer with JustDane.
  • Aïssa Olivarez (JD ’16) is the Advocate General of the Community Immigration Law Center in Madison, which strives to ensure dignity and access to justice for people – especially those facing deportation – by providing legal representation and consultation. While earning his law degree from law school, Olivarez participated in the Immigrant Justice Clinic and the Defenders Project. She received the Belle Case La Follette Award from the Wisconsin Law Foundation in 2018 for her work with underserved communities.
  • Justin rivas (’05, MIPA ’09) leads community health initiatives for the Milwaukee Healthcare Partnership, aimed at improving health outcomes and advancing health equity. He oversees the planning of the community health needs assessment and Milwaukee Health Compass, supports the company’s Racial and Health Equity Council and acts as program director for the Milwaukee Registration Network. He previously worked for County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration of the UW Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Rivas received his bachelor’s degree from UW in 2005 and his master’s degree in international public affairs in 2009 from La Follette School at UW-Madison.
  • Victor Villacrez (’87) has been with Hovde Properties since 2010, most recently as Director of Business Development and Business. In November 2021, he was appointed the new chairman of the board of directors of the Latin Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. Villacrez has been heavily involved in Madison’s Latino community for decades and previously served as the board chairman of Centro Hispano in Dane County. He started on Madison Cusco’s sister city project and formed Mundo Esperanza, a non-profit organization whose mission is to honor the spiritual principles, practices and beliefs of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Villacrez received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UW in 1987.


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