Meet the Team

 
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. sergio (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

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.

sergio (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Abbie Kretz, Lead Organizer Abbie grew up in Schuyler, Nebraska. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in philosophy and religion, and Spanish, and a Master of Arts in sociology. Previously, Abbie was a volunteer with the Good Shepherd Volunteers in Peru. While in Peru, she coached soccer and started a reading group at a home for teen girls, worked at a women’s center, and coached boys soccer in one of Lima's shantytowns. In her free time, Abbie enjoys running, teaching and doing yoga, reading about world history, and traveling. abbie (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Abbie Kretz, Lead Organizer

Abbie grew up in Schuyler, Nebraska. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in philosophy and religion, and Spanish, and a Master of Arts in sociology. Previously, Abbie was a volunteer with the Good Shepherd Volunteers in Peru. While in Peru, she coached soccer and started a reading group at a home for teen girls, worked at a women’s center, and coached boys soccer in one of Lima's shantytowns. In her free time, Abbie enjoys running, teaching and doing yoga, reading about world history, and traveling.

abbie (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Lucia Pedroza, Senior Organizer Lucia finds inspiration for her work through friends and family, including her children, Santiago and Andre. She hopes to help build communities that work for all people and to create a more just society for future generations. Lucia was born in Guatemala and raised in Hastings, Nebraska. She currently studies sociology, focusing on families and inequality. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising outdoors and spending time at home. lucia (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Lucia Pedroza, Senior Organizer

Lucia finds inspiration for her work through friends and family, including her children, Santiago and Andre. She hopes to help build communities that work for all people and to create a more just society for future generations. Lucia was born in Guatemala and raised in Hastings, Nebraska. She currently studies sociology, focusing on families and inequality. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising outdoors and spending time at home.

lucia (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

 
Loren Blake, Organizer Loren returned to his home city of Omaha in 2010 after living in locations nationwide. He holds a degree in Black studies and business management, and specializes in research, writing and lectures on 20th Century Black history in Omaha. Prior to joining the Heartland Workers Center, Loren was a program assistant for Omaha Public School’s Minnesota Humanities Center Education Strategy. He is the father of three daughters and enjoys volunteering with several Omaha efforts, including Get Out the Vote campaigns. loren (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Loren Blake, Organizer

Loren returned to his home city of Omaha in 2010 after living in locations nationwide. He holds a degree in Black studies and business management, and specializes in research, writing and lectures on 20th Century Black history in Omaha. Prior to joining the Heartland Workers Center, Loren was a program assistant for Omaha Public School’s Minnesota Humanities Center Education Strategy. He is the father of three daughters and enjoys volunteering with several Omaha efforts, including Get Out the Vote campaigns.

loren (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Samantha Chavez, Organizer Samantha was born in Mexico and grew up in the United States. She first worked with the Heartland Workers Center as a volunteer with a Get Out the Vote campaign. Samantha has a bachelor's degree in social work. In her spare time, she likes to rest, read, journal, meet new people and learn about the world. Above all, she loves spending time with her friends and family, including her two younger sisters and family members in Mexico. samanta (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Samantha Chavez, Organizer

Samantha was born in Mexico and grew up in the United States. She first worked with the Heartland Workers Center as a volunteer with a Get Out the Vote campaign. Samantha has a bachelor's degree in social work. In her spare time, she likes to rest, read, journal, meet new people and learn about the world. Above all, she loves spending time with her friends and family, including her two younger sisters and family members in Mexico.

samanta (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Alejandra Escobar, Organizer Alejandra began working with Heartland Workers Center as a volunteer and precinct representative at the Center’s Biennial Political Convention. She also joined Center staff and volunteers to lobby for immigrant youth's access to professional and commercial licenses, and to support Get Out The Vote work. Alejandra hails from El Salvador. She is studying business management and political science. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports and volunteering. alejandrae (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Alejandra Escobar, Organizer

Alejandra began working with Heartland Workers Center as a volunteer and precinct representative at the Center’s Biennial Political Convention. She also joined Center staff and volunteers to lobby for immigrant youth's access to professional and commercial licenses, and to support Get Out The Vote work. Alejandra hails from El Salvador. She is studying business management and political science. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports and volunteering.

alejandrae (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

 
Mynor Hernandez, Organizer Mynor holds an associates degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Before joining Heartland Workers Center, he was a volunteer with the Comite Latino de Schuyler. Mynor hails from Guatemala. In his free time, he enjoys being with his wife and four children, coaching various sports, camping and taking road trips to new places. mynor (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Mynor Hernandez, Organizer

Mynor holds an associates degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Before joining Heartland Workers Center, he was a volunteer with the Comite Latino de Schuyler. Mynor hails from Guatemala. In his free time, he enjoys being with his wife and four children, coaching various sports, camping and taking road trips to new places.

mynor (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Alejandrina Lanuza, Organizer Alejandrina was born in Illinois and lived in Mexico for several years before returning to the United States in 2010. She has her bachelor's degree in culinary arts and applies her studies as a kitchen manager. Alejandrina also is a GED instructor, teaching in Spanish. She serves on the Comite Latino de Schuyler and Schuyler Chamber of Commerce boards. In her spare time, Alejandrina likes to pray, cook, read, learn about cultures and traditions, and spend time with her family, including her husband, son Jesus, and their "fur baby," Frankie. She and her family enjoy road trips and exploring new places together.  alejandrina (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Alejandrina Lanuza, Organizer

Alejandrina was born in Illinois and lived in Mexico for several years before returning to the United States in 2010. She has her bachelor's degree in culinary arts and applies her studies as a kitchen manager. Alejandrina also is a GED instructor, teaching in Spanish. She serves on the Comite Latino de Schuyler and Schuyler Chamber of Commerce boards. In her spare time, Alejandrina likes to pray, cook, read, learn about cultures and traditions, and spend time with her family, including her husband, son Jesus, and their "fur baby," Frankie. She and her family enjoy road trips and exploring new places together. 

alejandrina (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Katie Larsen, Organizer Katie has a Bachelor of Arts in global studies and Spanish. While studying for her degree, she spent a year in Latin America. Before joining the Heartland Workers Center, Katie served as the director of children, youth, and family ministry at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church. Katie hails from Omaha. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and listening to music. katie (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Katie Larsen, Organizer

Katie has a Bachelor of Arts in global studies and Spanish. While studying for her degree, she spent a year in Latin America. Before joining the Heartland Workers Center, Katie served as the director of children, youth, and family ministry at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church. Katie hails from Omaha. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and listening to music.

katie (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

 
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. penelope (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

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.

penelope (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

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 5-year-old daughter. gabriela (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

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 5-year-old daughter.

gabriela (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Jackeline 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. jackeline (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Jackeline 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.

jackeline (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

 
Barbara Raya, Organizer Barbara is a preschool teacher in Schuyler, Nebraska, and has a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood and special education. She also volunteers as a catechism teacher and serves on Schuyler's city council. Barbara grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, and moved to Schuyler in 1998. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, dancing, weight lifting and spending time with her family, including her daughters, Leslie and Isabella, and dog, Daisy.  barbara (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Barbara Raya, Organizer

Barbara is a preschool teacher in Schuyler, Nebraska, and has a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood and special education. She also volunteers as a catechism teacher and serves on Schuyler's city council. Barbara grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, and moved to Schuyler in 1998. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, dancing, weight lifting and spending time with her family, including her daughters, Leslie and Isabella, and dog, Daisy. 

barbara (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Karla Sosa, Administrative Assistant Karla is originally from Mexico City, Mexico, and has an associate’s degree in business administration and secretarial studies. Previously, Karla worked as a secretary for her families’ businesses in Mexico. She hopes to study human rights, applying her education to her personal growth and service to Omaha’s Latino community. Karla aspires to build a life full of opportunity for her family, including her husband, and daughter, Maya. karla (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Karla Sosa, Administrative Assistant

Karla is originally from Mexico City, Mexico, and has an associate’s degree in business administration and secretarial studies. Previously, Karla worked as a secretary for her families’ businesses in Mexico. She hopes to study human rights, applying her education to her personal growth and service to Omaha’s Latino community. Karla aspires to build a life full of opportunity for her family, including her husband, and daughter, Maya.

karla (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Sean Tjaden, Organizer Sean Tjaden is from Omaha. Before joining the Heartland Workers Center, he was working toward his master's degree in conflict resolution and peace processes at the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. In his spare time, Sean enjoys hiking and camping.  sean (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Sean Tjaden, Organizer

Sean Tjaden is from Omaha. Before joining the Heartland Workers Center, he was working toward his master's degree in conflict resolution and peace processes at the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. In his spare time, Sean enjoys hiking and camping. 

sean (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

 
Stephannie Zambrano, Organizer Stephannie is from Guadalajara, Mexico, and the oldest of four siblings. She has been active in the Omaha community as a volunteer with multiple organizations including Young Nebraskans in Action and the Heartland Workers Center. Stephannie is studying for her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in creative media and a minor in Latin American studies. She hopes to continue to inform the Latino community through media. During her free time, she discusses current events on the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s MavRadio. stephannie (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org

Stephannie Zambrano, Organizer

Stephannie is from Guadalajara, Mexico, and the oldest of four siblings. She has been active in the Omaha community as a volunteer with multiple organizations including Young Nebraskans in Action and the Heartland Workers Center. Stephannie is studying for her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in creative media and a minor in Latin American studies. She hopes to continue to inform the Latino community through media. During her free time, she discusses current events on the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s MavRadio.

stephannie (at) heartlandworkerscenter.org