The Task Force is a bipartisan group comprised of nine co chairs and forty-four other thought leaders drawn from the business, civic, religious, advocacy, and educational sectors from across the Midwest. The Midwest is defined as the twelve-state region that comprises the nation’s traditional industrial core (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and the Great Plains region (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). Click on the members’ names below for brief biographies.
Governor Chet Culver has spent his entire adult life teaching, coaching and helping make Iowa a better place to live, work, and raise a family. In 1998, Culver was elected as Iowa’s 29th Secretary of State and the youngest Secretary of State in the nation, and he was re-elected in 2002. In 2006, Chet was elected governor of the state of Iowa. Governor Culver’s signature accomplishments resulted from the creation of the Iowa Office of Energy Independence and the Iowa Power Fund. In addition, Governor Culver has been appointed by President Obama and by the U.S. Senate and currently serves on the board with the Farmer Mac. Most recently he has founded the Chet Culver Group, a renewable energy efficiency and infrastructure consultancy.
The longest-serving mayor in Chicago’s history, Richard M. Daley has earned an international reputation as a leading innovator in urban development, fiscal policy, and government stewardship. During his 22-year tenure as mayor, Chicago became a prominent player in the 21st century global economy, now ranking among the top economic centers and most influential cities worldwide. A former state senator and county prosecutor, Mr. Daley was elected mayor in 1989 and re-elected five times before deciding in May 2011 to retire from government. He now serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and as Of-Counsel to Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, a national law firm based in Chicago.
Joe Loughrey was with Cummins Inc.—the world’s largest independent diesel engine manufacturer—for over 35 years until he retired on April 1, 2009. He was Vice Chairman of Cummins since August 1, 2008, served as President and Chief Operating Officer from May 2005 through July 2008, and was a member of its Board of Directors since 2005 and the Board of The Cummins Foundation since 1992. During Loughrey’s career, Cummins (which is based in Columbus, Indiana) grew into a Fortune 200 company with over 40,000 employees and more than $14.3 billion in sales in 2008.
Doris Meissner, former Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), is a Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), where she directs the Institute’s US immigration policy work. Her responsibilities focus in particular on the role of immigration in America’s future and on administering the nation’s immigration laws, systems, and government agencies. From 1993-2000, she served in the Clinton administration as Commissioner of the INS, then a bureau in the U.S. Department of Justice. Her accomplishments included reforming the nation’s asylum system, creating new strategies for managing US borders, improving naturalization and other services for immigrant, and strengthening cooperation with Mexico, Canada, and other countries.
Clare Muñana is a public sector, not-for-profit and international management consultant operating her own firm. Ms. Muñana previously served as the Executive Director of a public sector financial management consulting group in Chicago, assisting Chicago government agencies in designing and implementing plans for significant financial and management improvements. Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed her a Member of the Chicago Board of Education on July 1, 1999, and re-appointed her in 2002 to a four-year term. The Board Members, at its meeting in July 2004, then elected her Vice President of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago.
M. Michael “Mike” Rounds served five terms in the South Dakota State Senate. In 1995, he was chosen by his peers to serve as Senate Majority Leader, a post he held for six years. Rounds was sworn-in as South Dakota’s 31st governor in 2003, and re-elected in 2006. As Governor, Rounds was committed to growing South Dakota’s economy, improving the daily lives of South Dakota citizens, and providing opportunities for young people to stay in South Dakota. Since completing his second term in office, he has returned to his insurance and real estate business.
John W. Rowe is the chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. Rowe previously held chief executive officer positions at the New England Electric System and Central Maine Power Company, served as general counsel of Consolidated Rail Corporation, and was a partner in the law firm of Isham, Lincoln & Beale. In both 2008 and 2009, Institutional Investor named Rowe the best electric utility CEO in America. Rowe is committed to a wide variety of civic activities, with a focus on education and diversity.
Samuel C. Scott III is the retired Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Corn Products International, Inc. He was appointed Chairman of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2009. Scott serves on the board of Motorola Solutions, Inc., where he is Chairman of the Governance and Nominating Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, where he is Chair of the Human Resources and Compensation Committee, Abbott Laboratories, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Chicago Urban League.
Carole Segal is the co-founder of Crate and Barrel, the founder and former CEO of Foodstuffs, and the president of the Segal Family Foundation. Ms. Segal is a trustee of Rush University Medical Center and chairman of the board of overseers at Rush University. She is a trustee emeritus of Bates College and a life trustee of the Illinois Institute of Technology. A graduate of Northwestern University, Segale chairs and co-chairs multiple university organizations. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of WBEZ-Chicago Public Media.
Tamar Jacoby is president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of small business owners working to advance better immigration law. She is a nationally known journalist and author. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard and Foreign Affairs, among other publications, and she is a regular guest on national television and radio. She is author of Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration, and editor of Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means To Be American, a collection of essays about immigrant integration. From 1989 to 2007, she was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Before that, she was a senior writer and justice editor for Newsweek. From 1981 to 1987, she was the deputy editor of The New York Times op-ed page. She is currently a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Lizabeth Ardisana is the principal owner and chief executive officer of ASG Renaissance. Ardisana began her career at Ford Motor Company as an engineer and held several management positions in vehicle development, product planning and marketing during her 14 years at Ford. Ardisana is an active leader in the Southeast Michigan and Hispanic business communities. She was recently recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of Metro Detroit’s Most Influential Women and by the Detroit News as a “Michiganian of the Year,” and the Hispanic Businesswoman of the Year for the Midwest Region by the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Dave Bender serves the Illinois Green Industry Association as executive director and is joining the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois on December 1, 2012. Since 2000, Bender has been engaged in the ongoing development of a coordinated comprehensive national communication strategy in the immigration reform effort. Previously, Bender served as chief of staff and special assistant to the Illinois lieutenant governor in two different administrations. In 1995, he was appointed assistant director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture by Governor Jim Edgar. He serves as cochair of the Illinois Business Immigration Council and the as chairman of the Logan County Republican Central Committee.
Allert Brown-Gort is Associate Director, Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Fellow of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at Notre Dame. His research interests are immigration policy, and the political opinions and policy priorities of Mexican-American and Mexican immigrant leaders. A citizen of both the United States and Mexico, he has served as an advisor to the Fox administration in Mexico and to the U.S. Senate Hispanic Task Force. Professor Brown-Gort regularly lectures and provides media commentary on issues related to Latinos, immigration, and U.S.-Mexico bilateral relations at the regional, national, and international levels.
Ellen Carmell is the National Project Director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Bridging America Project. Ellen leads a major AJC / Ford Foundation initiative to strengthen Latino-Jewish relations and broaden the base of support for immigration reform. The Bridging America Project is a nationwide effort to fundamentally reframe and influence the public debate by creating unexpected coalitions of diverse leaders to promote substantive immigration reform. Ellen has more than two decades of non-profit leadership experience in arts, education, and Jewish organizations.
Frank Douglas is University Professor in the College of Polymer Science and Engineering at The University of Akron, Professor of Integrated Medical Sciences at Northeast Ohio Medical University, member of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and senior partner emeritus of PureTech Ventures. Douglas currently is the national chairman of the Value-driven Engineering and U.S. Global Competitiveness Initiative. Douglas is the recipient of the 2007 Black History Makers Award and has been honored twice as the Global Pharmaceutical R&D Director of the Year, in recognition of his leadership and success in improving innovation and productivity in pharmaceutical companies.
Governor Jim Edgar has served as a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs where he has been a teacher and lecturer since 1999. His career in government spans thirty years. He worked in the legislative branch of government for ten years, which included his election to the Illinois House of Representatives. Governor Edgar served for twenty years in the executive branch of government including ten years as Secretary of State and eight years as Illinois’ 38th Governor. He was first elected Governor in 1990 and reelected in 1994 by the widest margin in Illinois history.
Ricardo (Ric) Estrada was named President and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, one of Chicago’s first and largest human services agencies, in March 2011. Prior to joining Metropolitan, Estrada served as First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). Most recently he was appointed to Chicago Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel’s Transition Committee for Social Services and Healthcare. Estrada is a member of the board of Trustees at University of Illinois. His awards include being named an American Marshall Memorial Fellow, and one of Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40” in 2002.
José C. Feliciano is a litigation partner in the law firm of Baker & Hostetler in Cleveland, Ohio. He is an active trial lawyer and has more than 36 years’ experience in complex commercial litigation. Mr. Feliciano is the founder and Chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable, a leadership organization which empowers and sets the agenda for the Hispanic community in Northeast Ohio. He is founder and past chairman of the Hispanic Community Forum, and founder and former chairman of the Hispanic Leadership Development Program. Mr. Feliciano is past President of the Cleveland Bar Association (one of the largest local bar associations in the United States).
Katherine Fennelly is Professor of Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School, University of Minnesota. Her research and outreach interests include the human rights of immigrants and refugees in the United States, and the preparedness of individuals, communities, and public institutions to adapt to demographic changes. She has been dean of the University of Minnesota Extension Service, a faculty member and department head at the Pennsylvania State University, and a faculty member at Columbia University School of Public Health. Recent projects and publications focus on attitudes toward immigrants and their integration into American communities. Fennelly has worked and traveled extensively throughout Latin America.
Fernandez leads Cargill’s worldwide corporate affairs activities, including government relations, media, communications, brand management, marketing services, and corporate responsibility, as well as representing Cargill’s business and corporate policy interests. Before joining Cargill, Fernandez worked at State Farm Mutual Insurance as its Vice President of Public Affairs. He has led the public relations function at ConAgra Foods, CIGNA, and US WEST (now Qwest). Fernandez is co-chair of the Institute for Public Relations and serves on the boards of the Arthur W. Page Society, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
Dr. Figueroa is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Roberto Hernandez Center at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he is also the assistant to the Provost for Latino Affairs. He created and leads the Latino Nonprofit Leadership Program. His formal schooling includes an M.S. in Horticulture and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics—all from U.C.-Davis. Twice, he worked for the House Committee on Agriculture in the U.S. Congress. Dr. Figueroa was appointed as Administrator of Agricultural Marketing Service by the Clinton Administration and subsequently was promoted to Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, both at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Paul Fitzgerald was elected Story County Sheriff in November of 1992. Prior to being elected Sheriff, he served as a member of the Waterloo, Iowa Police Department for fifteen years serving in a variety of positions including: patrol officer, detective, field training officer, tactical team member, firearms instructor, patrol supervisor, public relations officer, and public information officer. During his years of service with the Waterloo Police Department he also taught for eleven years in the Police Science Program at Hawkeye Institute of Technology, now known as Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. He is a member of many boards and committees including the First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet).
State Senator Tim Flakoll is a 3rd term Republican from North Dakota’s 44th District. He currently serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and also on the Education Committee. Flakoll is the provost for Tri-College University (TCU), the higher education consortium between North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and Concordia College. Flakoll’s past employment includes serving as general manager of the Fargo Moorhead RedHawks minor league baseball team. Flakoll has served on the North Dakota Senate Education Committee since 1998 and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact since 1999.
Fox founded NewSpace Inc. in 1984, which introduced the residential closet organizing business to the St. Louis region. Today, NewSpace is also a full-service contract furniture dealer and makes fixtures for the retail trade. In 2009, recognizing a great need, Fox founded Casa de Salud, a health and wellness center serving Hispanic immigrants, where he serves as chair of the board. He also serves as chair of the board of InspireSTL, is on the board of trustees of Saint Louis University, and the Saint Louis Zoo Foundation board. He was awarded both the prestigious St. Louis Award and the Jane and Whitney Harris Community Service Award in 2011 for his outstanding contributions to the St. Louis Community. This year he was honored with the Global Ambassador Award from the World Trade Center of St. Louis for his work on forming a regional taskforce on immigration.
Suresh Garimella is Associate Vice President for Engagement and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at Purdue University where he is Director of the National Science Foundation Cooling Technologies Research Center. Dr. Garimella has served as Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State since August 2010, in the International Energy and Commodity Policy office of the Economic Bureau. As a part of this Fellowship, he explored pathways to a clean energy future. Most recently, he was appointed Senior Fellow of the State Department’s Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), a regional partnership announced by President Obama at the April 2009 Summit of the Americas.
Mr. Mark R. Gerstle has been Vice President of Community Relations at Cummins Inc. since 2011. A life-long Indiana resident, Gerstle sits on over nine area Boards, working to improve education through roles with the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, and Columbus Education Coalition. For Gerstle, improving educational systems in Columbus helps “attract people, retain people, and keep the communities healthy.” The Spanish-speaker attended Indiana University for both his B.A. and J.D., bringing his legal expertise to IBM before joining Cummins, Inc. in 1988. Now serving as the VP of Community Relations, Gerstle works with the Cummins Foundation on Indiana-based grant programs.
Susan Gzesh has been Senior Lecturer and Executive Director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago since 2001. She teaches courses on human rights, migration, and related issues, and directs an interdisciplinary center which fosters human rights curriculum and research. In the 1980s, she practiced law in Chicago representing immigrant workers and asylum seekers. In the 1990s, she directed two projects at Heartland Alliance on regional immigration policy: the Chicago-Mexico Leadership Initiative and a coalition of North American and Central American NGOs which advocated for the human rights of migrants and refugees in the North American corridor. She is of counsel to the Chicago law firm Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym.
Lisa was the founding executive director of New York Faith & Justice, an organization at the hub of a new ecumenical movement to end poverty in New York City. She has written extensively on tax reform, creation care and environmental justice, comprehensive immigration reform, health care reform, poverty, racial justice, and transformational civic engagement. Lisa ’s faith-rooted approach to advocacy and organizing has activated people of faith across the U.S. and around the world to address structural and political injustice as an outward demonstration of their personal faith.
After graduating from Concordia University, Larry and his wife left for Papua and New Guinea to serve from 1963-1968 where he served as a teacher with the New Guinea Lutheran Mission. Upon returning to the United States, Larry sought further education alongside a long career of teaching and serving as a junior high principal. Larry was elected to his first full term as Mayor in 1997 and was reelected in 2001, 2005, and 2009. Additionally, he has served as a member of the Education Funding task force of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and currently is chairman of the Diversity task force and chairs the Board of Directors of the Caucus.
Les Heitke has served as the former Mayor of Willmar, Minnesota for 16 years and on the City council of Willmar for six years before his election as Mayor. Les is a licensed psychologist and is currently working fulltime for Project Turnabout in West Central Minnesota, with adults who have alcohol and chemical addiction problems and also individuals with gambling addiction problems. Les was President of the League of Minnesota Cities, where he created and led a state-wide task force on Diversity and Building Inclusive Communities. Les has helped to build, direct and develop three foundations in the West central Minnesota area.
From 2001 until 2005, Bob Holden served as governor of the state of Missouri. He presently serves as Chairman of the Midwest-U.S. China Association (MWCA), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages commerce between 12 states in the Midwestern United States and China. Governor Holden’s interest in international trade and in fostering economic bonds between the Midwest United States and the international business communities is also reflected in his leadership of the Holden Public Policy Forum at Webster University, where he lectures as a visiting professor.
Father Dennis Holtschneider is president of DePaul University, the nation’s largest Catholic university with more than 25,000 students. DePaul University was founded in 1898 to make educational opportunities available to the children of immigrants, and continues to this day its outreach to first-generation, minority and low-income students. A Vincentian priest ordained in 1989, Father Holtschneider holds degrees in mathematics, theology and a doctoral degree in higher education policy from Harvard University. He is a director of the Chicago Economic Club, the Chicago History Museum, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and currently serves as vice chairman of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic health system, and as chairman of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the national association of all Catholic universities in the United States.
Joshua Hoyt has been with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights since May of 2002. During this time the Coalition has fought vigorously for citizenship for the undocumented, to protect civil liberties in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and for a full integration of immigrants into the American Dream. The Coalition has helped to make Illinois one of the most immigrant friendly states in the United States. Hoyt has testified before Congress, published opinion pieces and articles in the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and other magazines, and directed several political campaigns.
Kareem Irfan served as the first Muslim president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and is a former Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. He has advised the U.S. State Department and led leadership and inter-faith delegations on multiple global initiatives on Government-Community collaborations, international peace, multifaith bridge-building and counter-extremism. With 25+ years of private law practice & corporate management experience, Irfan currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer & General Counsel for a global conglomerate of IT businesses. His honors include the Distinguished Community Leadership Award from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Excellence in Interfaith Leadership Award from the City of Chicago.
Gopal Khanna is a Senior Fellow at the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota; founder & CEO of Winsarr, Inc., a Minneapolis based hi-tech start-up venture; and founder & Chair of Minnesota Innovation Lab, a non-profit organization. From 2005 to 2010, Khanna served as a member of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s cabinet. Prior to that he served in the administration of President George W. Bush, from 2002 to 2005, where he held several senior policy positions including CIO and CFO of the United States Peace Corps. Khanna is a first generation immigrant, who left home with $8 dollars in his pocket to pursue higher education in the United States. He attributes all of his success in the private sector and government to America’s ability to absorb peoples of all backgrounds into the American mainstream.
Biju Kulathakal is an entrepreneur and an Active Angel Investor. He is currently Chairman and CEO of Trading Block Holdings Inc, a retail broker-dealer in Chicago. He was an early investor and partner at GetAMovie which was later sold to McDonalds and is now RedBox. Previously, he was a founder of Enterprise Logic Systems, which is a software development firm that specialized in the financial services and trading industry. He is a board member of the Beck Foundation. He has previously served on the board of the Chicago Charter School foundation, Civitas Schools, Leap Learning Systems and the Heartland Institute.
Ngoan Le is vice president of program for The Chicago Community Trust, the Chicago area regional foundation that provides significant funding support to immigrant integration efforts. Prior to her position with the Trust, Le served in leadership positions for over 15 years at the Chicago Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Governor’s Office. Le also served on President Clinton’s Advisory Commission for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She is a refugee from Vietnam who came to the United States in 1975.
Joe LeValley serves as Senior Vice President for Planning and Advocacy at Mercy Medical Center Des Moines. Joe has been a part of the Mercy system for 28 years and has been in Des Moines since 1999. He is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He serves on the boards of the Riverfront YMCA, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Operation Downtown, Mercy Medical Center Centerville, and Mercy Clinics, Inc. he also serves on the Iowa Business Council Deputy Committee, and the Iowa Hospital Association Council on Representation & Advocacy.
Jamie P. Merisotis is president and chief executive officer of the Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation committed solely to enrolling and graduating more students from college. Before joining Lumina in 2008, Merisotis was founding president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Merisotis’ work has been published extensively in the higher education field. Merisotis serves on the board of numerous institutions around the globe, including the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece. He also serves as president of the Economic Club of Indiana.
Darryl Morin is the President and CEO of Advanced Wireless, Inc. (AWI) providing unified enterprise mobility (UEM) solutions to corporations, schools and healthcare providers. Mr. Morin is the immediate past State Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), our country’s oldest and largest Hispanic membership based organizations. In addition, Mr. Morin serves on the Board of Directors for the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, Inc., is a Co-Founder of the Justice for Immigrants Committee of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin and the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee.
Don Morton is a former American football player and coach and currently a software executive. After stints as head coach at North Dakota State University, the University of Tulsa, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Morton returned to North Dakota State as the Assistant to the President and Director of University Relations. He later joined Great Plains Software as chief of staff for CEO Doug Burgum. Morton became an employee of Microsoft Corporation through the acquisition of Great Plains in 2001. Morton is currently the site leader for the Microsoft campus in Fargo, North Dakota.
Maria Nevai has provided leadership for the Global Michigan Initiative (GMI), part of Michigan’s statewide strategy for economic growth and reinvention, which leverages foreign-born talent, investors, entrepreneurs, and global connections to expedite positive results. Since GMI’s inception in early 2011, Maria has helped convene and cultivate relationships with cultural group leaders, facilitate input through a consultative approach resulting in the strategic plan, support the efforts of Global Detroit initiatives, implement regional strategies, and champion statewide engagement and collaboration by partners and stakeholders. Maria serves as a member of Global Michigan’s Steering Committee and as an advisor to Global Detroit’s Global Talent Retention Initiative.
Mr. Ochoa is President and Chief Executive Officer with the Miramar Group, a full service international public relations firm with offices in Chicago and Mexico City. Mr. Ochoa was previously the Chief Executive Officer for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), which owns and operates McCormick Place, North America’s largest convention center; Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel; and historic Navy Pier, the Midwest’s top tourist and leisure destination. Prior to joining the MPEA, Mr. Ochoa served for ten years as the President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). Additionally, Mr. Ochoa has served on the Board of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus Institute for the past six years.
Jeanette Prenger is founder and president of ECCO Select, an award-winning technology solutions integrator and human enterprise provider. ECCO Select and Prenger have been recognized locally and nationally for their accomplishments in the business community and for their philanthropic contributions. Prenger serves on numerous boards and currently serves as chair of Junior Achievement of Middle America and on the board of the Latino Coalition. A former presidential appointee she currently serves as an appointee of MO Governor Nixon on his Workforce Investment Board and as a commissioner for KC’S Mayor James on his Citizens Commission on Municipal Revenue.
In January 2009, Sylvia Puente began serving as Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum. Through the Forum, she works with more than 100 organizational leaders in the Chicago metropolitan region. She has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S.” by Hispanic Business magazine. Along with many other civic organizations in which she is active, Puente serves as a board director of Advance Illinois, a public policy agency working to improve education in the State, and was appointed by Governor Quinn to serve as chair of the Education Funding Advisory Board.
John Rosenow is co-owner and CEO of Rosenholm Wolfe Dairy and Cowsmo Inc. He helped found Puentes/Bridges, a non-profit that takes farmers to Mexico to learn the language and to visit the villages where their employees come from. He was chairman of the Council for Rural Initiatives which addressed immigrant labor in rural Wisconsin. He also offers entrepreneurship classes to his Mexican employees so that when they return to Mexico, they can start their own business if they so choose. He has traveled to Mexico six times to visit the families of his employees. John has received the Distinguished Wisconsin Agriculturist Award, among other awards.
After coming to the U.S. from Peru in 1984, Segura coordinated the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago’s refugee resettlement program for six years. Since 1999, Segura has served the Archdiocese of Chicago including ten years as the diocesan director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Currently she is the founding director of the archdiocesan Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education, and is the first U.S. diocesan office dedicated to immigrant issues. In 2010, her new Office for Immigrant Affairs launched an Immigrant-to-Immigrant Ministry which empowers immigrants to engage in service and justice actions, serving to form them as leaders for their parish communities.
Alejandro Silva cofounded Evans Food Group Ltd. in 1979 and serves as chairman of Evans Food Products Co. He has been in the food industry since 1972. Prior to acquiring Evans Food Group in 1985, Silva served as operating manager and assistant plant manager of KIR Alimentos S.A. Silva serves on numerous boards, including The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Walgreens, The Private bank, and he is chairman of the finance, audit and budgeting committee for the Chicago Transit Authority. He is the recipient of several awards: the Double Eagle Award from the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois Food Industry Award.
Steve Tobocman has spent the past four years spearheading Global Detroit, a regional economic revitalization strategy for the Detroit area focused on immigration and global connections. From 2003-2008, Steve served as the State Representative from Michigan 12th State House District in southwestern Detroit, one of the state’s largest immigrant communities. Steve directs Global Detroit as the principal of New Solutions Group, a mission-driven consulting firm focused on catalyzing smart, innovative, and collaborative solutions for the common good. Steve also co-directors the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University, one of the nation’s premiere bipartisan political training programs for elected officials.
Sandy Vargas is the President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country. Ms. Vargas oversees the management of nearly $500 million in assets; the administration of more than 1,000 charitable funds created by individuals, families, and businesses; and the distribution of more than $30 million in grants each year. Among her recent recognition honors, she was profiled in the book Heroes Among Us in 2008, received WomenVenture’s Pioneer Award in 2009, and was awarded the Medal of Honor from St. Catherine’s University in 2010.
Dr. Norman Wilson is an ordained minister of The Wesleyan Church and serves as associate professor and Coordinator of the Intercultural Studies Department at Indiana Wesleyan University. He has served as pastor of Free Methodist Churches in Indianapolis, as a Wesleyan missionary in Peru and Puerto Rico, as Director of PACE (Program for Accelerating College Education), Houghton College’s adult degree completion program, and as Director of International Ministries for Global Partners of The Wesleyan Church overseeing ministries in over sixty countries. He has written on missions and intercultural theory and practice, compassionate evangelism, immigration issues, and more.