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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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Sergio Sosa

Executive Director

Upon hearing from hundreds of south Omaha community members about the challenges they were facing, Sergio was inspired to start the Heartland Workers Center in 2009. Sergio draws upon his 30-plus years as a community organizer to direct the work of the organization and lift up the voices of his neighbors. Sergio is from Guatemala and has studied philosophy and theology. He and his wife have two teenage children. In his free time, he enjoys reading, praying, and watching sports and news.

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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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Ryan Morrissey

Senior Organizer

Ryan grew up in Elkhorn, NE, where he learned the importance of serving the public at very early age with his father working as the Fire Chief of Elkhorn and his mother working as a nurse. Ryan obtained his B.S. in Public Administration from University of Nebraska-Kearney and his M.S. in Urban Studies from University of Nebraska-Omaha. He is an advocate for creating equitable cities and neighborhoods for all through community driven planning and development. In his free time, Ryan enjoys going to concerts, traveling to new cities, and spending time with his family, friends and his dog Atticus.

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Gabriela Pedroza

Organizer

Gabriela is a graduate of North Valleys High School in Reno, Nevada, and is currently a student at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. Before joining the Heartland Workers Center, she worked at JBS food processing company. During her free time, Gabriela enjoys spending time at the gym and with her family, including her 9-year-old daughter.

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Penélope León

Health & Safety Training Institute Trainer

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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Micky Devitt

Legal and Policy Coordinator

Micky grew up in Colorado, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Northern Colorado and her Law Degree from the University of Denver. She worked for over 10 years as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, DC and Denver, CO before moving to Nebraska in 2019. She is passionate about helping workers improve their lives through labor organizing and civil rights empowerment. She also enjoys knitting, bicycling, and discovering new places and experiences with her husband and two kids.

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Jessica Navarrete

Training and Communications Coordinator

Jessica is originally from San Diego, California. She has lived in Council Bluffs, IA for 24 years but has participated in the Omaha community. She is also a translator for Centro Latino in Council Bluffs and owns a jewelry business. She enjoys spending time with her two daughters’, being a soccer mom, and exercising.

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Adriana Navarrete

Executive Assistant

Adriana was born and raised in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. She lives in Council Bluffs, IA with her husband. She has worked for nonprofits for the last 5 year. She loves being part of a team that makes a difference in individual lives and the community it surrounds! In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling the world and watching professional sports, especially the Colorado Rockies and Denver Broncos.

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Y'Shall Davis

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

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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Jackie Prados

Organizer

Prior to joining the Heartland Workers Center, Jackie was an active volunteer with the center, most recently working on the 2016 Get Out the Vote Campaign. She has her Bachelor of Arts in architectural studies and an architectural technology diploma. Jackie previously worked as a wall panel designer for Building Supply Corporation. She hopes to transfer her experience in design and construction to building and developing her community. In her free time, she enjoys making new friends, watching baseball and reading.

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Corbin Delgado

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

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.

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Adam Jacobs

Organizer

Adam grew up in Upstate New York, and has lived in Hastings, NE for nearly 3 years.  He earned his BA in History, Archaeology, and Anthropology with a minor in Native American Studies from SUNY Potsdam, and his MA in History from the University of Connecticut. Prior to joining the HWC he worked as a union organizer with the United Auto Workers for 5 years.  He fundamentally believes that by bringing working people together with collective actions we can change the structures that create inequality.  He currently lives way out on a dirt road with his wife and dog.  In his spare time he loves baseball, rock'n'roll, and old movies.

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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.

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