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González hired as new UW-Madison director of community relations

July 16, 2019 By Käri Knutson

Brenda González will become the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s new director of community relations starting Aug. 5. González has been part of the Madison community for more than 20 years and has a career of creating strong relationships through collaboration.  

 As director of community relations, González will serve as a primary point of contact with local community and nonprofit organizations and will be responsible for developing strategies to ensure the university is engaged with these organizations and the broader community. 

Photo of Brenda González

Brenda González

“I look forward to being a part of ensuring that the university is creating opportunities for all members of our community, their families and thinking strategically about future students to be able to engage them successfully over the long term so they flourish in our city and state,” González says.  

 She currently serves as the diversity manager for Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, where she has developed programs and provided ongoing leadership to the organizational diversity and inclusion strategies. González has collaborated with related businesses, educational institutions and community organizations.  

Previously, González served as the community marketing and health equity manager for Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin. She helped raise the awareness of the Affordable Health Care Act’s impact on underinsured and uninsured communities with The Better Together Project/ACA, an outreach public service program. 

 Gonźalez has previous experience on campus as the health equity career development program manager with the Collaborative Center for Health Equity at the School of Medicine and Public Health.  She provided overall coordination to CCHE’s annual Health Equity Leadership Institute to increase the number of investigators engaged in health equity research in Wisconsin and nationally. 

 She has a bachelor’s degree in social psychology from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Xochimilco in Mexico City, Mexico, and has done graduate course work in social innovation sustainability leadership at Edgewood College and linguistics and communicative disorders at UW–Madison.  

 “We are excited to have Brenda join us in this role,” says Ben Miller, assistant vice chancellor for government and corporate affairs. “Her experience and passion for creating lasting and meaningful connections throughout Madison will help us to continue strengthening our already impactful partnerships between the campus and community.”  

 González will be the primary campus point of contact with the Madison mayor’s office, Madison City Council, the Dane County Executive’s office, Dane County Board of Supervisors and other local government leaders and legislative bodies. She will also have responsibility for maintaining strong relationships with local school districts and business organizations. 

 It is important that the university recognize and position itself creatively to listen to and respond as it can to our diverse stakeholders,” she says. Our communities, the environment and our leadership – on and off campus are constantly evolving.  How tapped in are we? How networked are the resources we have in place, and where are there gaps to address? I intend to bring new perspective but also support and utilize much of the great work that I follow.    

 González has been recognized with numerous awards, including Madison’s most powerful Latinos (Madison 365, 2017), Women to Watch (BRAVA Magazine, 2015), Hispanic Achievement of the Year Award (Mid-West Family Broadcasting, 2013) and the Velma and Harry Hamilton Community Award (NAACP, 2012) 

 González replaces Leslie Orrantia, who recently left to become deputy mayor for the city of Madison.