Leadership Team


Rid Racism Milwaukee 

Rid Racism Milwaukee is an action-oriented coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to dismantling all forms of racism and racial inequities through collaborations, education, dialogue, advocacy and action. We have a network of more than 500 individuals, a working group of about 25 active volunteers, formal and informal partnerships with key community organizations and an Executive Team of highly experienced, accomplished community leaders, activists and consultants. We are an all-volunteer nonprofit that is tax-exempt via our affiliation with our fiscal agent, the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee.


Leadership Team:


JAIME ALVARADO, RID RACISM MILWAUKEE Co-Chair

Jaime Alvarado is a board member on the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Wisconsin, past State Director and currently the Civic Engagement coordinator. He also serves on the board of the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee and on the Immigration Task Force for MICAH. In addition Alvarado serves on the Operations Team of a critical education initiative called Milwaukee Succeeds and has been appointed to the Mayor's Advisory Task Force for Latino voter engagement. 

 Alvarado is a bilingual Chief Inspector for the City of Milwaukee's Election Commission at a polling site in the near southside.  He is a founder and past president of the Rotary Club Amigos de Milwaukee and the UW-Milwaukee Latino Alumni Chapter. Alvarado was the recipient of the Professional of the Year by the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee in 2010 and the Man of the Year by LULAC - Wisconsin in 2013. Alvarado is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee, a U.S. Army veteran, and a proud Latino father of three toddler girls.


PAT KATISCH, RID RACISM MILWAUKEE Co-Chair

Pat Katisch is a community activist, marketing consultant, educator, educational programmer, event planner and futurist. She was honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration for her role as a leader in the Metro Milwaukee Women in Business movement. Katisch was founder of the Women’s Yellow Pages of Greater Milwaukee (a women’s resource directory), a producer of the Wisconsin World of Women (WOW) expo/conference, and a mentor to hundreds of local women entrepreneurs. Through her roles as Associate Dean in the College of Professional Studies at Marquette University and head of Alverno College’s continuing education program, Katisch oversaw the coordination and development of corporate training and educational programs designed to enrich the professional and personal lives of thousands of Metro Milwaukee adult learners. She was also a founding leader of the Professional Opportunities Networking Group (PONG) launched to support local job seekers.

Her event management work has included coordinating a major conference on “Meeting New Standards for Cultural Competency in Nursing” presented by the Carroll University Hispanic Nursing Project for healthcare leaders and educators. In addition, Katisch was Marketing Director for two Midwest performing arts centers and has taught high school and college English and journalism. She has served on numerous local and national boards – including VP of Communications for the ALS Association of Southeast Wisconsin and VP of the National Association of Women’s Yellow Pages. Katisch received a “Women’s Business Advocate of the Year” award from the U.S. Small Business Administration and a Commendation from former Governor Tommy Thompson for Outstanding Volunteer Service through her work with the ALS Association. She studied at UWM for several years before graduating from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in English and an M.S. in Education. As co-chair of Rid Racism Milwaukee, Katisch is passionately committed to educating, motivating and inspiring more members of the community to become active, effective change agents for racial justice.

 

ELVIRA ASUNCION


Elvira T. Asuncion is an Organization Development & Planning practitioner with over 20 years of experience. As Program & Operations Director of the Center for Urban Community Development, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Asuncion engages in capacity building work among diverse central city populations, especially the refugees that are often underserved and underrepresented in education, employment, social, political and economic development. Elvira presently coordinates the Asian & African Refugee Consortium and Refugee Family Resource Connection.

Asuncion has managed over $2 million in grants programs that serve diverse populations and have diverse focuses. She served as an Asian Commissioner for the Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault & Chairperson of the Milwaukee Family Resource Connection. She has an Organizational Development Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, professional training in Organizational Development and Planning from South East Asia Interdisciplinary Development Institute, and master's in Communication Research from the University of the Philippines.

 


MARTHA BARRY, Ph.D.


Martha Barry is the Racial Justice Director for the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin. Her work includes providing community education on eliminating racism through the six-part series Unlearning Racism: Tools for Action. Over 500 individuals from all sectors have attended the course over the past five years. In addition, the series has been adapted for numerous public and private businesses including the Medical College of Wisconsin and Northwestern Mutual Insurance. Dr. Barry has facilitated sections of the series with staff and faculty at public institutions such as Milwaukee Public Schools.

 

Dr. Barry also oversees the YWCA youth racial justice program which includes Everytown Wisconsin, a social justice youth leadership week-long camp for youth ages 14-18, as well as racial justice education provided in Milwaukee area high schools. She served as co-chair of SDC’s Bridges of Hope Antiracism Committee and is on the Program Committee for Rid Racism Milwaukee.

 

Prior to her tenure at the YWCA, Dr. Barry spent 15 years in Human Resources for The Mark Travel Corporation and worked for 10 years providing public education, fund development and capacity building for nonprofit organizations in multiple states, including Wisconsin. Her Master’s degree is in Continuing and Adult Vocational Education from UW-Madison with her doctoral degree in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning & Service from Cardinal Stritch University. Dr. Barry’s dissertation was on the formation process of white antiracist activists.

 

DONNA FERENCY


Donna Ferency’s social justice activities began in Milwaukee in the 1960s working for Open Housing in Milwaukee’s southeastern suburbs. In the 1980’s, as lay member of the pastoral teams, she oversaw the social justice ministries at St. John Cathedral parish and later at Gesu parish in Milwaukee. Her work included involvement in the Sanctuary Movement for Salvadoran Refugees, founding efforts for Guest House and MICAH, and direct service to persons requesting help. 

 

Following theological studies in Chicago, including an internship at the United Nations and study in Kenya, Ferency’s social justice work continued as Executive Director of Work for Wisconsin, a job- focused nonprofit in Milwaukee and then later in Central Illinois as CEO of Mid-Central Community Action, which provide management for a multitude of services, including housing, in two counties.

 

Since returning to Milwaukee to be closer to her family, Ferency has worked primarily with developers of affordable multi-family housing, particularly housing for persons with special needs. In addition to Rid Racism, Donna is active with Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Grassroots Waukesha County.

 

DANIEL V. FOLKMAN, Ph.D.


Dr. Daniel Folkman is a retired Associate Professor Emeritus and past Chair of the Center for Urban Community Development, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Folkman retired with 39 years of experience in community development with central city neighborhoods. He taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in action research, with special emphasis on promoting collaborative ties between the University, the Milwaukee Public Schools system, and parents and community agencies.

 

Dr. Folkman has extensive experience in program evaluation and has served as the principal evaluator for the MPS 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative that included 51 sites serving over 15,000 students, parents and community residents with after school programs. Dr. Folkman also designed action research courses that were focused on creating collaborative teams among teachers, staff, parents and community partners with special emphasis on professional learning communities that produce tangible gains in student academic performance.

 

Throughout his career, he has sought to create opportunities for resident involvement in local decision-making, community problem-solving and political action in ways that promote individual and community learning, empowerment and transformation. Dr. Folkman's research and practical interests are focused on the possibilities and constraints that influence the quality of learning among all participants involved in community development activities. He has published articles and given local and national presentations on these and related topics with special focus on facilitating participatory action-learning and research strategies that relate to program development and evaluation. 

 

Upon retiring, Dr. Folkman has remained active in the community. He served on the Board of the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee and is continuing his involvement in numerous community based initiatives dealing with racial justice, community participation and citizenship as well as alternative energy and sustainable living. Dr. Folkman is engaged in video productions and documentaries on social, economic, political and environmental issues and the collective struggle for justice, equity and sustainable living.   


KENNETH A. GERMANSON


Since his retirement in 1992 after 35 years as a labor union official, Kenneth A. Germanson has worked at Community Advocates on projects involving child abuse prevention, youth development, community strengthening, gun violence prevention and health care advocacy for low-income persons. A University of Wisconsin graduate, his work on newspapers included reporter and editor for the Milwaukee Sentinel (1957-62). 

 

Germanson represented public employees in the Milwaukee area before joining the International Union Staff of the Milwaukee-based Allied Industrial Workers Union (now United Steelworkers), eventually becoming the union’s chief deputy to its national president. He was president of the Wisconsin Labor History Society from 1992 to 2009 and continues serving the Society as President Emeritus. Germanson has been active in a number of organizations, serving on the boards of Family Services of Milwaukee, the Planning Council for Health and Social Services and others. He has received numerous awards for his community work, including the 2014 Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award, presented by the Milwaukee Common Council. Born in Milwaukee, Germanson served actively in the U.S. Navy and has lived continuously in the community since 1957. 


TED JOHN

Ted John has been a spokesperson for intergenerational dialogues, programs and advocacy for the past 25 years. For 16 years he was the Director of the Milwaukee Regional Office of Catholic Charities, where he administered programs that served all generations and races. John was a co-founder of “Creating Intergenerational/Intercultural Communities in Civic Engagement,” and a member of numerous related organizations such as the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG), Milwaukee Brighter Futures and the Milwaukee Child Abuse Prevention Network.  He served as a Board member of the Wisconsin Intergenerational Network. After Catholic Charities, John worked part time at Community Advocates for eight years staffing community organizations. John was a certified Intergenerational Dialogue Facilitator.

 

In 2009 he helped spearhead the Southeastern Wisconsin Intergenerational/Interracial Community Connection (SEWIICC) and has been involved in planning a number of community programs that address the issue of racism from an intergenerational perspective. John’s interest in promoting inter-racial dialogues stems from being part of an inter-racial family. John and his wife Mary are the parents of four adult children, three of whom are bi-racial. They are now enjoying the intergenerational/inter-racial experience of grand-parenting their six grandchildren.

 

KAROLE S. KIMBLE

Karole L. S. Kimble has over 20 years of progressive experience in strategic communications & marketing. The daughter of civil rights activists, Karole was born with an expectation of justice and service. Her career was started earlier than most; after a chance encounter with Jill Geisler, of then, WITI-TV CBS Channel 6. Mrs. Geisler gave Karole her first internship at the station, and that was all it took… a professional communicator was created. Karole went to a private HBCU in Raleigh, North Carolina named, “St. Augustine’s College” where she majored in English with minors in Communications & Spanish.

Karole worked for 10 years in media, in radio & television and in 1999, she started and incorporated, Kimble Communications, Inc., a full service marketing, advertising, and PR firm. Karole has served as a number of politicians’ policy advisor, communications director, and speech writer. She most recently worked on the Wisconsin Public Television documentary, “Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams,” and it has renewed her passions around civil rights accomplishments. Most importantly, Mrs. Kimble has found her niche & voice in racial equity and cultural competence training, and more importantly, the expectation that they should be an integral part of any successful corporation, agency, policy, or society.

 

LEIGH KUNDE

Leigh Kunde has been the Executive Director of the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee (NPC) since 1994 and in July 2015 she will leave NPC to pursue other interests in building management capacity, improving race relations and other social justice issues. She holds an MA in Counselor Psychology from UW-Madison, and has over 40 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Previously, as Director of Program Services at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (1982-1993), Leigh played a significant role in the organizational change with the aim of serving girls. This became effective in 1985. She had previously provided technical assistance and training to Hispanic nonprofits while employed at the United Community Center as the Technical Assistance & Training Coordinator. In 1991, she was named “Administrator of the Year” by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America-Midwest Region and “Volunteer of the Year” by the United Community Center (1979) and Jobs With Peace (1990).


PATTY METROPULOS

Patty Metropulos has served as the Executive Director of Kathy’s House since October of 2012.  Kathy’s House is a hospital guest house in Milwaukee that provides lodging and support for families that need to travel to Milwaukee for medical care.  Kathy’s House serves patients and their families of all ages and serves all Milwaukee area hospitals.  Under Patty’s tenure, the occupancy of the House has increased by almost 50% and is often completely full.  This significant jump is due to an increasing demand for services as well as the result of intentional efforts of Patty to: 1) Increase the visibility of the agency, 2) Partner more intentionally with our referring hospitals to better support patient outcomes 3) Make Kathy’s House more accommodating to families of all income levels; and 4) Make Kathy’s House more culturally inclusive and responsive as an agency to better support a more diverse guest portfolio.  Patty is passionate about providing equitable access to the social determinants of health, including lodging, transportation, and the support of family and a caring community.

 

Patty grew up in the Milwaukee area and recently returned to Wisconsin in 2012 to be closer to family after living in the Pacific Northwest for 23 years.  Patty has a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington and has worked in nonprofit and public education management for over 20 years.  Prior to assuming her position at Kathy’s House, Patty worked as the Director of Public Funding & Advocacy for a nonprofit human service agency in Portland, Oregon.  In that capacity she initiated an effort to author a multi-year cultural competency plan to provide trainings and critical community discussions to foster understanding and improved service delivery to an increasingly diverse population.  


MATTHEW L MIXON, Executive Producer, Digital Quilt-MKE

A native of Milwaukee, Matthew L. Mixon has over 40 years of experience in television and media including television production, sales and syndication, as well as television network and web affiliate development. For six years he worked for Post-Newsweek Stations as Director of Programming in Hartford, CT and for ten years prior to that as Executive Producer and Production Manager in Boston. For the CBS Television Network, as Director, Affiliate Relations, Matt worked with stations to develop sales and promotion, within his assigned territory covering 27 DMAs. In 1996, Matthew joined New Century Networks (NCN), a collaborative formed by major newspaper companies to aggregate content.  Owners included Tribune Company, Hearst Corporation, the New York Times and others. In recent years Matt has worked for Clear Channel Television as Director of Sales.

 

In 2006, Mixon joined Passport Entertainment, and Allied Media Partners, as Vice President, U.S. Syndication, managing sales of television series and specials.  During his career Mixon has managed multiple award-winning programs including one national and several regional Emmy Awards. Mixon’s production credits include many notable programs. Some of these are: Boston Marathon (1979-1988)  Triathlon: Conquering The Cape (1983)  Morning Live (1984-1987)  Boston Celtics Basketball  New England Patriots Pre-Season Football  Jessie Jackson: On The Record (PBS)  Documentaries & Children’s Programing  Soul of The South Evening News (2013-2015)  In March 2015 Mixon returned to his home town, Milwaukee, to form Mixon Media Group.

 

SUE SWEARINGEN

Executive Secretary

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