Latino Professionals Association of
Madison to Launch October 9
Networking for Success
Claudio Diaz is spearheading the effort to
establish the Latino Professionals
Association of Greater Madison.
board, we started to see that a lot of the membership was coming and tangentially, a lot of individuals from the professional community
coming as well. This became for us the first time that we said that there is a void. If they are filling it through the Latino Chamber even
though they aren’t entrepreneurs, restaurant owners or cleaning or maintenance service or member of the trades — those are the
principal members in the Latino Chamber — and now we had a lot of professionals as well.”

While there have been Latinos present in Madison’s labor force since at least the 1960s, they were predominantly working in the public
sector. But that has been changing over the past several decades.

“We have Latino professionals in marketing, the law, medicine, public relations and human resources,” Diaz said. “But I’m not going to
discount that in the public sector, there are plenty of roles for those types of individuals as well. I would say that if I look at all of the
chief executive spots that are represented in the many organizations here in Dane County, very few of us are sitting in chief executive
seats. There aren’t many chief officers who are Latinos representing the many great organizations that are here in Madison.”

Over a year ago, Diaz left the Chamber board and in collaboration with the Latino Chamber, he focused his efforts on establishing the
Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison. It is set to launch on October 9, 6-8 p.m. at Monona Terrace.

In Diaz’s view, the LPAGM will work in five areas to assist Latinos with their career development in Madison and beyond.

“The first one is that networking component and being able to find other professionals like themselves,” Diaz said. “There are a lot of
professionals who want to hang out their own shingle, but fear that by doing so, they may not have enough clients to start off. So 2-3
professionals coming together could create an organization. So some economic development can come from that. The second
component is the education component. We don’t really have a place for individuals who are sole proprietors to go and learn how to
become an effective leader or time management or work in the Dane County economy with the private and public setting.”

The third component is career mentoring where seasoned veterans can take individuals just entering the job market under their wing
to show them the ropes. It also would allow the seasoned veterans to scope out the new talent in Madison with the thought of recruiting
them to their firms at a later point in time.

The fourth area is community involvement.

“How can we, even in junior high, start grooming Latinos to, first of all, keep them in high school and to get them through college or
develop the skills for a trade,” Diaz asked “How can we help them to become contributing members of the community? Latina
professionals who want to make a dent into gender diversity in the community are just as important in this area.”
And the last component is business diversity with LPAGM working with other professional organizations of color to work with area
businesses to diversify their workplaces.

The Latino Professionals Association is ready to launch and with it, the careers of many Latino professionals in the Dane County area.
For more information about the Latino Professionals Association or to register for the free October 9 launch event, visit at www.
lpamadison.org. Claudio Diaz can be reached at 661-2618 or at
cdiaz@wipfli.com.
By Jonathan Gramling

Claudio Diaz’s career probably reflects the career of many Latino professionals in the
Madison area. From humble beginnings — he started in housekeeping with the Disney
organization — Diaz has set himself firmly in the middle class as the chief human capital
officer at WIPFLI, a business services firm located in Madison. Diaz completed a 17 year
association with Disney as a trainer in The Disney Institute.

“The Disney Institute is where professionals can come and learn how to do things the
Disney Way,” Diaz said. “So I went from cleaning toilets to teaching seven and eight figure
executives how to run their businesses. Here I was sharing all of the secrets, yet I was
learning so much. I was like a sponge, absorbing a lot of that information.”
The importance of networking was never lost on Diaz. And after settling in at his position
with WIPFLI, Diaz searched for a place where he could network with other Latinos. He
initially found that place in the Latino Chamber of Commerce where he was on the board
for four years.

“As a result of their progress, there have been people who have said, ‘The Latino
Chamber of Commerce is more for the entrepreneur, but we love going to the Enlaces, the
monthly meetings that the Latino Chamber hosts,’” Diaz said. “And when I was on the