How to Thrive as a Diverse Leader of a Nonprofit


Moderator: Rashad Cobb
Community Program Officer, Greater Green Bay Community Foundation

Rashad J. Cobb is a Community Engagement Program Officer for the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, where he is responsible for facilitating some of the foundation’s grants programs (Women’s Fund, Brown County Crime Prevention Foundation, & R. Bruce & Alyce S. Kopseker Trust). The work affords him an opportunity to contribute to the community while continually building and building upon relationships with community partners that enhance the quality of life for residents in the three counties that the community foundation serves. Rashad is also a board member with Brown County United Way, NeighborWorks Green Bay, and Literacy Green Bay.  In addition to his service in these roles he also supports the work of the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, Green Bay Neighborhood Leadership Council, Green Bay Area Public School District and Downtown Green Bay & Olde Main Business Districts. When he is not involved in these activities Rashad also finds time to mentor a handful of high school students and young professionals in the community.


Sandy Morales
CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County

Sandy Morales is the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County. She’s worked in nonprofits for the last 10 years. She learned the ropes of the nonprofit world holding marketing and fund development roles at United Way of Dane County before arriving at BBBS in 2013 to take over as Development Director and then CEO in 2016. Since then Sandy has learned the challenges of working for a small nonprofit with a national brand and with her staff and board, has put together a strategic plan that focuses on positive program outcomes and sustainable growth. Sandy is a founder and former president of the Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison and a former board member of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County. Sandy has board and leadership roles with BBBS of Wisconsin State Association, Downtown Madison Rotary, Edgewood College School of Business Advisory Board, and Sun Prairie Community Schools Executive Team. In 2016, she was named one of “Wisconsin’s 48 Most Powerful Latinos” by Madison365. In 2015, she was named a 2015 Brava Magazine “Woman to Watch” and recognized during Hispanic Heritage Month with the Hispanic Achievement of the Year Award by La Movida 1480AM radio station. In 2014, she was part of InBusiness Magazine’s 40 under 40. Sandy grew up in Batavia, Illinois and then attended Marquette University where she obtained a degree in Business Administration.


Vanessa McDowell
CEO, YWCA Madison

Vanessa McDowell gets people moving — on the dance floor as DJ Ace and in the community as the first African-American woman CEO of the YWCA in the 109 year history of the organization. McDowell also spent nine years as executive assistant to the pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Madison’s south side. McDowell has led the YWCA Moxie Conference and Women of Distinction helping to empower women and eliminate racism. She is also an active member of the Madison Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, where she currently serves as the chaplain.


Jessica Cavazos-President
Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County

Empowered by seeing and helping others advance Jessica Cavazos, was named one of Wisconsin's 29 most powerful Latinas in 2017 by Madison365. This President and CEO, of the Latino Chamber of Commerce, feels fortunate to have an opportunity to be a change agent, enhancing the quality of life and transforming communities by creating access to economic wealth, inclusion and revitalization. She believes economic growth is the most powerful tool in reducing poverty.

a proud Latina, Jessica has climbed up professionally through the political arena, starting as a scheduler to being a former Congressional Liaison, for congresswoman woman Gwendolyn Moore, whom has a great impact in her life.   After leaving government to become an executive director of the Volusia County Chamber of Commerce, Jessica came back home to start your own company,the Eleva Group Inc. A Milwaukee based firm whose mission is to create sustainable communities through effective Private/Public partnerships. 

As a strong spokesperson for the underserved community in Wisconsin, Jessica was named UMOS Hispanic Woman of the Year in 2012, also awarded the Key to the Latino Community in Milwaukee and named Community Leader of the Year at Madison's Herencia Hispana awards 2017. Since 2005, Jessica has been part of founding mothers of several associations that advocate for political activism, civic leadership, and the inclusivity of Latinas in Leadership. Jessica also serves as the Vice-Chair of UW-Systems, Diversity and Equity Council, Board member of Dane BuyLocal, and has taken on a new role as a co-host WI-57 Television Station's Girl Talk and recently started a local chapter of LULAC. 

Jessica attributes her humble upbringing, to strong female role models, a loving family and amazing partner Temo, and children, Kaled (2), Soleil(7), and Aidan(13), as the foundation that  helps her lead and empower others with purpose.