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Our Story

After listening to workers in the meatpacking, construction, restaurant and cleaning industries share stories of injustices they were experiencing at work and in their neighborhoods, Sergio Sosa envisioned an organization that would help unite these community members, harnessing their collective power to make change.

This organization’s mission would be guided by a model of organizing based on identifying, training and developing leaders; promoting and advocating for workers rights; and developing effective methods of participating in the civic society.

In collaboration with Latino/a workers, social and faith institutions and hometown associations, Sosa brought his vision to life in 2009, incorporating the Heartland Workers Center. In 2010, the Heartland Workers Center received its nonprofit status.

We want to build a community that works for all.

Our Mission

The Heartland Workers Center develops and organizes leaders, promotes workers’ rights, and fosters a culture of civic engagement in order to build power and create change with immigrant and underrepresented communities.

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Our Vision

The Heartland Workers Center is dedicated to helping build a community that works for all across the Midwest.

We envision becoming a recognized and self-sustaining organization that provides leadership training to immigrants and workers.

Our iron rule is “Do not do for others what they can do for themselves.” This rule is fundamental to our ability to develop leaders who are capable of promoting, protecting, and defending their rights.

Be part of the change and let's build power for all!

Meet our Team

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Dulce Sherman

Interim Executive Director

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Jill Lynch-Sosa

Senior Director of Regional Operations

Jill joined the Heartland Workers Center in the summer of 2019. After 20 years of working in healthcare administration, she returned to her first love of working with an organization that empowers underrepresented communities. Jill holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and a Masters of Business Administration. Prior to working in healthcare, Jill was an international volunteer for 6 years, serving in Michoacán, Mexico and Guatemala. In her free time, Jill enjoys traveling, experiencing other cultures, and spending time with family.

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Lily Reyes

Senior Organizer

Lily is originally from El Salvador where she has worked with non-profit organizations that promote human rights in conjunction with the United Nations. She has a degree in Business Administration and has specialized in Integral Risk Management, including those of social conflict. She has a passion for her work in the wellness of the communities that need it most. She also enjoys sharing family time, good food and discovering new places with her daughter Kathy and sons Richard and Diego.

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Penélope León

Senior Organizer

Penélope is passionate about helping workers with labor issues and advocating for equality, liberty, tolerance and respect between humans and nations. She is a proud Mexican and American citizen who was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and moved to the United States in 1991. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with a major in journalism. Penélope is married and has a teenage daughter, Natalia. In her free time, she enjoys walks and photography.

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Mayra Mendoza

Community Organizer

Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in El Paso, Texas, Mayra has lived in Norfolk for more than twenty years. She is married, has two wonderful teenage children and a dog named Luna.  

 

Mayra has been an active volunteer in her community for many years and currently serves as the chairperson of the Norfolk Area Diversity Council. Diversity and inclusion are some of the things she is passionate about along with cooking for her family, watching movies, and traveling.

 

She looks forward to working in the community and connecting resources to people that need them.

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Andrea Hincapie

Community Organizer

Andrea was born in Bogota, Colombia. Andrea is a proud naturalized American Citizen who lives in Nebraska City. Andrea moved to the United State in 2010 and lives in Nebraska City. She started working as a community organizer for the Heartland Workers Center, after she worked at Cargill for ten years. Her family is made up of her domestic partner, two children and three grandchildren, enjoys being with her family, she loves gardening and helping the community at the same time. Her goal is to seek to break down language barriers and be a bridge for the Hispanic community.

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Luis Lucar

Community Organizer

Luis is originally from Peru, where he earned a Bachelor degree in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of San Martin de Porres in Lima. He moved to New York with his family in 1992, until winds of change made their way to Schuyler, NE in 1995. He has been involved with the Schuyler community for several years, promoting inclusion, social integration, and a welcoming environment for all. Luis has previously worked for the Peruvian Police Department, in food processing and production plants, provided labor service for rural areas poultry farms as contractor, insurance agent, as well as Human Resources Specialist for several years. He enjoys cooking, traveling, going to live concerts, soccer games and gardening.

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Maria Urrego

Community Organizer

Maria M. Urrego was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. There she got her degree in business administration and worked as a bank manager. In 2003 Maria moved to Grand Island, NE with her husband and three kids. There Maria worked at the Veterans Home as a CNA and MA, where she learned the English language and was able to help veterans with daily life skills. Maria then got an opportunity to work at  Head Start as a family visitor. Maria was able to meet and work with families from different cultures. Maria enjoyed learning with the families and helping them reach out for community help. In Maria's free time she enjoys spending time with her children, traveling and watching movies with her husband or bingeing on her Netflix shows.

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Freddy Valera

Multimedia Designer

Freddy is from Venezuela where he earned his Bachelor in Advertising and Marketing, before graduating he won the national award Young Creatives. He likes all related to graphic arts since he was a kid such as drawing, painting, photography, clay sculpting, animation, filming and video editing. He has been working in advertising and graphic design for 16 years in that period of time he has worked as graphic designer, creative in adversing agencies, fashion photographer, mobile app developer, body painter, videographer and motion graphics animator. Freddy likes working in the Heartland Workers Center because he can do the things he loves while he helps people. Freddy loves spending quality time with his 6-years-old daughter Ada.

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Y'Shall Davis

Community Organizer

Y'Shall Davis for years was an Independent Hip-Hop Artist who travelled the country distributing her own material. When she discontinued doing music, she got an Associates Degree at Metro Community College. She received a Degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling and a Certificate in Case Management. Immediately after graduation she began work at The Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition as a Client Specialist\Case Manager. While working for the NUIHC, she enrolled into UNO to major in Psychology and Minor in Non-Profit Management. Now, she is a Community Organizer for the Heartland Workers Center.

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Raúl Muñóz

Community Organizer

Raul grew up in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States in 2002. He has a bachelor of Law and Political Science degree from San Martin de Porres and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Bellevue University. His work experience has been vast, including time as a paralegal, math and science tutor, and instructor in Spanish, computing, and citizenship classes. He has worked in a variety of organizations, community centers, and nonprofits in Omaha. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, reading and doing outdoor recreational activities.

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Antonio Lopez

Community Organizer

Antonio is originally from Guatemala.  He arrived in the United States in 2001 and graduated high school in 2016. Antonio is trilingual, speaking K'iche' (a Mayan dialect), Spanish, and English. He also serves as an interpreter. Before working at the Heartland Workers Center, Antonio had a position as Quality Control at a pork processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska. In addition to working full-time for the HWC, Antonio is attending Metro Community College to become a certified interpreter.  Antonio affirms that "the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

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Corbin Delgado

Community Organizer

Corbin Delgado grew up in Papillion, Nebraska. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in both Classics and Political Science with an emphasis in Public Administration as well as a minor in Cultural Anthropology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Before joining the Heartland Workers Center, Corbin was a community organizer for the past three years, building teams of leaders on a host of issues from suburban Illinois, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding counties, and back to rural Nebraska. Corbin is glad to be back and working to develop community leadership in his home Sarpy county. When not working, Corbin enjoys going to house concerts, spending time with his family, leading worship at church, and volunteering in his community.

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Gleibis Rodríguez

Community Organizer

Gleibis was born and raised in Cuba, where she earned her DMD degree, she worked as a dentist in rural communities, and continued her work in Venezuela. While in Venezuela, she participated in health promotion programs to inspire communities to choose healthier behaviors. After moving to the United States she worked at a food processing company. She later received her life insurance certification and became a representative for a financial services company. Gleibis found joy in helping individuals and joined Heartland Worker Center in March of 2020, as a Community Organizer. In her free time Gleibis enjoys photography, reading and spending time with her family.

Our Board of Directors

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Jamie Gutierrez

Board President

CEO and Owner, Midwest Maintenance Companies, Inc.

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Maria Vazquez, Ph.D.

Board Vice President

Vice President for Student Affairs, Metropolitan Community College.

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Daniel A. Padilla

Treasurer

Executive Director, Lending Link.

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Kimara Z. Snipe

Nebraska Civic Engagement Table.

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Victor Lopez

Owner, El Pueblo Tires.

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Dulce Magadelena Sherman

Owner, Sherman Executive Consulting.

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Lucia Marquez

Board Advisory