Many hearts and minds have been involved in the creation and ongoing development of Step Up Equity Matters.

Carolina Bailey, Owner & Lead Facilitator 

Step Up team member Carolina Bailey is a language instructor.  She has earned her graduate degrees in Colombia (native country), France and the US.  She is actively participating in an initiative to help improve the environment for diverse populations in academic settings.  Carolina believes that it is very important to have an open mind in order to accept and value people with different cultural, economic, and educational backgrounds because these differences enrich the ecology of workplaces as well as of the community.  In Colombia, she worked for high crime area schools with populations that were not welcome in their own communities.  Here, she learned to appreciate that everyone deserves a second chance in life since we all have something wonderful to offer.  This pushed her to seek opportunities in academic settings to help underrepresented students succeed.  Now, her interest is in using these skills in order to foster a welcoming environment in the workplace.  Carolina is a member of the Latino Professional Association, and she is a mentor for the Students of Color Mentoring Program, as well as a member of the Diversity and Community Relations Council at Madison College.

Tania A. Ibarra, Co-Founder, Owner & Lead Facilitator 

Step Up team member Tania is a dynamic bilingual (English and Spanish) leader with expertise in Accounting and Financial Analysis, Assurance Services, Consulting Services, Business Processes Reviews, Lean Six Sigma Project Management, Organizational Development, and Strategic Planning. Throughout her career, Tania has participated and played different roles in many diversity and inclusion initiatives at the various companies and organizations she has served. Particularly, Tania has played a key role in founding and developing the Latino Professional Association of Greater Madison. Tania believes that each person has talents, gifts, knowledge, skills, abilities to contribute to their organizations and communities. An organization’s and community’s ability to provide opportunities and an environment for those contributions to take place; ensures the organization and community is as successful as it can be. Tania believes that it is in the best interest of the community and organizations as a whole to ensure all people have the fair opportunities to contribute, succeed and be gainfully employed.

Amy Kesling, Co-Founder, Owner & Lead Facilitator

Step Up team member Amy loves connecting people and processes for more equitable and sustainable outcomes. Amy’s background is in project management, facilitation, consulting, nonprofit leadership, and operations. She graduated from UW-Madison with a focus in Sociology and Geography with a Certificate in Environmental Studies. The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies recognized Amy with an Early Career Alumni award in 2016 for her work in elevating the conversation about equity, diversity, and inclusion in the sustainability movement. Amy serves as a past board Vice President on the Racial Justice Committee at Community Shares of Wisconsin.

Sara Alvarado, Co-Founder and Facilitator 

Step Up team member Sara Alvarado is an entrepreneur, speaker, writer and a change agent in Madison WI. Sara and her husband, Carlos, lead a successful real estate business, the Alvarado Real Estate Group and a thriving bilingual/bicultural family. Their boutique real estate brokerage creates a unique environment and a culture of abundance and service while providing a strong team of real estate expertise for families in need of real estate guidance. Sara believes in being real, raw, bold, vulnerable and a lot of fun, while tackling difficult topics and leading from the heart. A native of Madison, WI, Sara is committed to creating a vibrant and strong community for everyone through her leadership and her passion for equity. She is a named founder and past board member of Nuestro Mundo Community School and Badger Rock Middle School, is one of the 40 under 40 for InBusiness Magazine (2013), and has served on the local Realtor Association BoardSustain Dane’s Board and is an active member of Dane Buy Local.

Gregg Potter, Lead Facilitator 

Step Up team member Gregg Potter is a writer, activist, public speaker, and the founder of Project Kinect. Potter, a Wisconsin native, recently returned to Madison after spending more than a decade on the west coast and abroad. His life has been focused on offering his tools and gifts to others. In 2014, Potter received his Masters in Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service in Arkansas. The experience catapulted him into a new reality of tangible ways he can create meaningful change. From tornado relief in Alabama to working with corporations to become more effective in their communities, to fighting for human rights of the marginalized in South Africa, Potter strives to be an effective tool for other people doing social good. His hope is that we can all accept each other, work together, and take responsibility for ourselves to create real sustainable change that benefits everyone.

Step Up: Equity Matters was cofounded in 2014 by a collaborative team of people representing corporate, nonprofit, and small businesses. Since that time, the team has grown and our work has evolved, but we remain true to our original goal of advancing equity within organizations. Pictured above are cofounders (left to right) Amy Kesling, Haywood Simmons, Tania Ibarra, and Sara Alvarado.