April 13, 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Morning Breakout Session

Session Description

Employers, schools, and communities are creating inclusive strategies for Hispanic and Latino individuals and families in the Indiana Uplands. From Spanish speaking workplace shifts, to Spanish immersion school programs, and collaborative round tables, communities are seeking intentional ways to honor and embrace the unique benefits that diversity is bringing to the region.

Who should attend: Employers, community leaders, educators, nonprofits, community development professionals, and others

Session Presenters

Evelyn Rivas, Ivy Tech Community College and ALASI. A native of Los Angeles, Evelyn Rivas is passionate about creating cultural change and increasing cultural competency. Born to two migrant parents who instilled the importance of preserving her roots and serving others, Evelyn has been committed to advocating for and improving her community for the past twelve years. 

She is currently employed at Ivy Tech Community College where she leads strategic facilitation. She is also the president of ALASI, a board member of Dubois Strong, and a board member of the Dubois County Chamber. 

In 2019, Rivas was the recipient of the inaugural Woman on the Rise Award from the Indiana Bankers Association. Evelyn holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University and a Master’s of Science in Leadership from the University of Evansville.

Xavier Reyes Lopez, Boston Scientific Production Supervisor Team Lead. Xavier is a medical device professional with 15 years of experience in managing and optimizing manufacturing lines.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Xavier has spent the last 8 years of his career with Boston Scientific, where he currently serves as a Team Lead Supervisor in Spencer, Indiana.

He is also a member of the leadership team for the company’s Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement (HOLA) ERG, where he contributes to fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization.

Steve Peterson, Assistant Superintendent at Washington Community Schools. Completing his 29th year of public education, Steve Peterson has had success in a variety of educational settings throughout the state of Indiana. His recent work developing the College & Career Academy at Washington High School earned him recognition as the District 11 – High School Principal of the Year from the Indiana Association of School Principals. Steve is the first high school graduate in his family. He started his career as a math teacher with his undergraduate degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Indiana University South Bend. He then transitioned into administration with his master’s degree in Secondary Administration from Indiana State University, having served as Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, and Principal for a number of years. Steve has since earned his Educational Specialist Degree from Indiana State University and now serves as Assistant Superintendent at Washington Community Schools. Steve is happily married 31 years to his high school sweetheart, Tori, and has two adult children – Jake, a Salesforce Business Analyst, and Abbie, a Signal Officer in the US Army.

Tina Peterson is the President and CEO of Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI), a position she has held since the organization’s founding in 2015. In her role with ROI, Tina works collaboratively with organizations to advance economic and community prosperity across the Indiana Uplands, an 11-county region in southwest central Indiana. Through regionally relevant and demand-driven initiatives, ROI focuses on industry cluster strategies, education, workforce, and quality of place as essential determinants for regional success.  ROI recently served as the lead for the Indiana Uplands READI planning process, which resulted in a $30 million grant to catalyze economic growth in the Uplands region.

Tina currently serves as a member or an advisor on several boards including the Applied Research Institute, Uplands Science and Technology Foundation, Radius Indiana, Crane Regional Defense Group, White River Military Coordination Alliance, Indiana Work and Learn, Institute for Workforce Excellence Advisory Council, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, Bloomington Dimension Mill, Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, CDFI Friendly Bloomington, and the CSX Advisory Board.