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Badger Affinity Leaders
April Kigeya ’04 (African American Alumni Association) is passionate about working with underrepresented communities. She holds multiple positions in the community, including director of program design and outreach for Urban Triage, outreach specialist for the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and special projects manager for the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness. Kigeya also serves on numerous boards, including those for the Democratic Party of Dane County, Dane Dances, Wingra School, and Wisconsin Literacy. She is a mayoral appointee to the Affirmative Action Commission and the Overture Center Advisory Board. An avid Forward Madison soccer fan, she co-founded the supporter groups Mingo Ladies and Featherstone Flamingos. These groups were created to bring people to the game of soccer who are not traditionally represented in the stands, creating a more inclusive culture. She is also a mother to four beautiful children.
Beny Perez-Reyes ’09 (Latinx Alumni Association) is a fervent advocate of equity and inclusion in entrepreneurship as well as personal and professional development. He is the principal of the finance consultancy firm Clover Phoenix Capital, where he focuses on empowering people through open, honest financial services and education. In 2012, he joined the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) as an outreach specialist. Through his work, he learned from entrepreneurs throughout the statewide Latino community about what resources were needed to start or grow their businesses. After becoming a loan officer with WWBIC in 2016, Perez-Reyes accepted the opportunity to work in the private sector as a business banker. In this capacity, he learned the inner workings of traditional institutions and was compelled to “fill the gap” that many business owners still face. Clover Phoenix Capital was created as a direct response to those struggles. Perez-Reyes was born and raised in Milwaukee as the youngest of four siblings. His parents, Hector and Mary, are both from Puerto Rico and worked for Milwaukee Public Schools. He also has an amazing son, Julian, who has compelled him to learn and grow in his advocacy for autism awareness.
Kara Kinas Jankowski ’07 (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Alumni Association) has worked for the advancement of higher education since 2010. Though she’s served Concordia University Wisconsin, Marian University, and Ripon College, she’s always a Badger at heart! Her roles have included advancement researcher, events coordinator, gift processor, and associate director of advancement services and donor relations. Currently, she works at Ripon College as the chief of staff to the president and vice president dean of faculty. In this role, she works closely with the administrative council to help make institutional decisions while also retaining duties related to fundraising. She has recently been charged with a leadership role in the college’s “return to work” committee and is cochair of the inclusion audit, a work group examining recruitment and retention practices pertaining to underrepresented populations of students and employees.
Karen Young ’07 (African American Alumni Association) is a passionate advocate for fairness and community strength. She serves multiple equity-driven organizations such as the Neighborhood Organizing Initiative and United Way of Dane County, all while also working at Exact Sciences. As an entrepreneur, she offers an Essential Center where she helps those in need with no income restrictions. She has four beloved children and 11 grandchildren — with another on the way!
Zaynab Baalbaki ’08 (Latinx Alumni Association) is passionate about social justice, especially in education. She was born and raised on Milwaukee’s south side. During her time at UW–Madison, she both studied and taught abroad in London at the University of Roehampton, and she also participated in an undergraduate research program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following graduation, she began her graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and finished with a degree at Marquette University in College Student Personnel Administration. Baalbaki was one of two people selected for a graduate internship at American University of Kuwait. Afterward, she worked at Northwestern University at the Center for Talent & Development where she coordinated their summer programs. Most recently, she was an advisor at Escuela Verde, a teacher-powered school located in Milwaukee that focuses on social justice, sustainability, and peace. Baalbaki is also the education chair for the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals and a board member for the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Educators.