By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Nov 30, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Griselda Aldrete walks the walk. And leads by example.

She received her B.A. from Marquette University in Criminology/Law Studies and Spanish, her M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and is currently pursuing her J.D. and M.B.A. from Marquette University.

She currently serves on the board of directors for St. Joan Antida High School and is a member of Professional Dimensions, TEMPO Milwaukee and Milwaukee Forum. Aldrete also serves on the advisory board for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and Visit Milwaukee Multicultural Committee.

Recently, she completed the Future Milwaukee Leadership Program at Marquette University and was named one of the 2013 Business Journal's 40 under 40.

Leadership, mentorship and community are her passion points.

In October, Aldrete, graduated from the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s Executive Leadership Program. The NHLI Executive Leadership Program is an award-winning leadership program for which Aldrete was selected this past year. The Executive Leadership Program addresses skill development, mentorship and training, while promoting an awareness of social responsibility and attention to the needs of the Hispanic community.

Aldrete's journey, though, is mainly about Milwaukee and community. And as she continues to position herself as an influential leader, caught up with her to ask her about Milwaukee, networking, young professionals and more. Give us the three-minute Griselda Aldrete story?

Griselda Aldrete: Milwaukee born, raised in Mexico, returned at the age of 11 and spent high school and my undergraduate years in Milwaukee. Left to Europe in between, went to Omaha, Neb., for my masters and Europe and been calling Milwaukee home since 2005. I'm passionate about the city, raising its profile for the right reasons, our ability to engage our younger generation of leaders to be vested in the city and changing the landscape and opportunities for the city for many years to come.

OMC: How can we change the racial barriers (real and perceived) that exist in Milwaukee?

GL: We need to create opportunities and ways for people, diverse people, to come together in an organic way; not in a forced way. The interactions must be perceived to be genuine and really in an effort to lessen the racial divides or barriers that often times plagues the city. These interactions have to be consistent, intentional and more than just networking events. I'm a proponent of intentional and honest dialogues where people can come together and be able to have a genuine dialogue as it relates to race.

OMC: What's your advice for someone who is new to the greater Milwaukee area?

GL: Get involved and get engaged. This city has incredible access to almost anything and most people, are willing to help and show a new Milwaukeean the best this city has to offer. There is no shortage of networking opportunities, events, organizations to volunteer and most importantly opportunities to get engaged and make positive change.

OMC: You have two hours to show off Milwaukee to a potential new resident. What do you show her/him?

GL: Depending on what brought them to Milwaukee in the first place, I would give them a tour around the Walker's Point and Bay View area to show them the wealth of restaurants and businesses that are thriving in the area. The Fifth and Third Wards for the shops, restaurants and Milwaukee Public Market of course. The diversity around Brady Street and North Avenue and end into Riverwest to Art Bar and finish with a cocktail at the Foundation.

OMC: If you could have a beer (or beverage of your choice) with anyone, who would it be and why?

GL: I enjoy interesting, challenging and inspiring conversation; and I love history. I can't pick just one person, so I would actually bring together: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Adolf Hitler and Sonia Sotomayor. I would love to hear and watch them all interact, based on what we know about them today, and probe them on their beliefs, values and discuss leadership, race, segregation and unity. I think all of them, love or hate them, have played an integral part in our world history and how the world operates today. The impact -- good and bad -- each of them have made in our history -- past, present and future -- is undeniable and to be able to sit and have my vodka seltzer, splash of tonic, extra lime with them would be an amazing opportunity.

OMC: You note that the movement of Milwaukee YP groups excites you. What specifically do you see with these groups and what impact can they have?

GL: What excites me is that people aren't just sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to happen; they're making things happen. That's exciting. These groups are mobilizing communities in the city like never before and engaging other generations in the process. The impact is huge as we have to continue engaging this new wave of young professionals and prepare them for leadership to help move Milwaukee towards the new century in a positive way so we won't be stuck talking about the same issues that exist today 30 years down the road.

OMC: Define success. Success is relative to everyone.

GL: For some, success equals money, power, titles and other things. For me, is being able to wake up each morning and feel energized in the work that I'm doing. Might not yield immediate results or the change at a pace I would like to see, but it's gradual change that will eventually lead to long-term successes for only myself, but for my organization and our community. I also find success in being able to have hard-hitting conversations with key stakeholders about the true issues that affect our ability as a city to move forward and grow in ways that we should to help prevent brain drain, have a positive impact talent retention and ensure that the city is positioning itself for forward movement and not backwards movement.

OMC: If you had a magic Milwaukee wand, what three things would you wish for?

GL: Reduce racial barriers that make this one of the most segregated cities. Increase city-wide collaboration among agencies, companies and individual leaders and professional groups. The city would have a systematic way to really ensure succession planning and opportunities for young professionals and leaders to ensure the strides and movements that are being made today don't get lost in future generations.

OMC: How have organizations like HPGM impacted greater Milwaukee?

GL: We have changed the perception of Latinos in the city. We are showcasing and shining the light on the diverse talent that companies, organizations and this community has and we have begun strategically working on building a pipeline of talent for our region. Diversity is not a luxury, is a necessity for not only companies but our community and we have focused on impact, changing the way companies think about diversity, specifically Hispanics and we have shown the value of what we do as an organization not only locally, but also regionally and nationally.

OMC: What frustrates you the most about greater Milwaukee?

GL: I love the energy that the city has and the fact that many recognize the need to do something to engage all professionals and help all of us work together. I think I still see a lack of collaboration among not only individuals but also companies and organizations. Sometimes we all work in silos and if we are all working towards the common good for Milwaukee, why replicate? Working together, not competing and collaborating is what I would like to see change.

OMC: And, what excites you the most?

GL: There's a movement around mobilizing the young professional community and companies and organizations are taking note. The city is so accessible and seeing more and more come to the table willing to roll up their sleeves and help excites me and motivates me to continue to do the work that I do.

OMC: What are you reading now?

GL: Right now, I'm reading "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," by Malcolm Gladwell

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.