Ep. 4, May 17, 2022: Tracy Wareing-Evans, Accelerating Public Trust Through Sector Alignment, Investment.

Tracy Wareing-Evans, President and CEO, American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)

Tracy Wareing Evans is the President and CEO of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), a bi-partisan national membership organization representing the cabinet level leadership of state and local health and human services agencies, and the subject matter experts that help execute their mission to improve outcomes for people nationwide. In coordination with its governing board of directors, Wareing Evans sets the strategic direction for the Association and spearheads delivery on its mission “to advance the well-being of all people by influencing modern approaches to sound policy, building the capacity of public agencies to enable healthy families and communities, and connecting leaders to accelerate learning and generate practical solutions together.” In support of APHSA’s bold strategic plan, Wareing Evans is mobilizing strategic partnerships with connected sectors integral to thriving communities, including education, justice, housing, and health as well as community-based organizations.

Wareing Evans has a long history in high-level policy development and public administration. She served as a senior advisor to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and, before moving to Washington D.C. in 2009, as the Director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, an integrated human services agency. She has also served as policy adviser for human services under then Arizona Gov. Napolitano and as director of the state’s child welfare division. Wareing Evans began her career as a litigator. Wareing Evans has served on more than 25 boards and advisory committees over the course of her career, including several national appointments. Her current board service includes Social Current (focused on activating the power of the social sector) and WorkRise (a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility). In 2019, she was selected as a fellow to the National Academy of Public Administration.


Ep. 3, April 20, 2022: Charlotte Haberaecker – If not us, who? Human services shift social challenges

Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO, Lutheran Services in America

Too much emphasis for funding in the social sector has focused on providing services after problems have occurred. A lack of innovation and prevention dollars create larger gaps among certain demographics and fail to correct long-term problems for individuals and communities. Developing healthy, productive children and adults who live with purpose and meaning is critical to solving societies largest problems – and the social services sector can lead the charge.

LSS President and CEO Héctor Colón chats with Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America, as she talks about creating a disruption, not waiting for one to happen. Charlotte and Héctor also discuss the workforce shortage in the sector and how it impacts its members, the services they provide, and the ability to meet the whole needs of people. They also break down the need for upstream funding through innovation and prevention, and how strategic partnerships and stakeholders can help fuel philanthropy that provides flexible spending to fulfill essential needs.


Charlotte Haberaecker is the President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America, one of the largest and most respected health and human services networks in the United States. Lutheran Services in America empowers one in 50 people in America to lead their best lives so all communities can thrive. Under Charlotte’s leadership, Lutheran Services in America has consistently been recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes as one of the nation’s top nonprofit organizations. She is at the forefront of developing  and implementing groundbreaking initiatives and collaborative learning models to drive systemic change.

Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America in 2012, Charlotte was the #2 Executive at Global Impact, a $110 million nonprofit that provides funding for critical humanitarian needs around the world. Previously she held senior leadership positions in management consulting at Price Waterhouse where she strengthened nonprofit, for-profit and government organizations. Charlotte also served as a senior leader at Fannie Mae where she led an industry transformation initiative and was the co-inventor on five patents awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Charlotte was the recipient of the 2018 Rebrand 100 Global Award for one of the top 100 brand transformations in the world, the 2017 Humanitarian award from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the 2015 NonProfit Times Magazine’s “Power & Influence Top 50.”

Charlotte holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration in management science from the University of Illinois.

Causing Disruptions: Upping the Social Services Game Across the Sector

Susan Dreyfus, Health and Human Services Thought Leader

If the social services sector is going to make a greater impact, then leaders must work together to elevate preventative services to the level of healthcare. Sector leaders need to help advocates who are not typically involved in direct client care (e.g., policy makers, philanthropists, etc.) proximate to our work in order to experience what it takes to holistically and sustainably improve lives. To reach this level, it will take a collective disruption by sector leaders to push towards increased partnerships including mergers and acquisitions, data and information sharing and more robust funding across the board.

More about Susan

After 9 years, Susan Dreyfus stepped down in 2021 as CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities after leading the organization forward through a historic and strategic merger with the Council on Accreditation. She is now working as an executive coach, retreat facilitator for teams and boards and consultant in adaptive change and planning in both the public and social sectors to advance enduring change to ensure all people can achieve their fullest potential.

During Susan’s tenure as CEO of the Alliance, the organization went through both organizational and adaptive change to accelerate its theory of change and position America’s community-based human serving organizations for excellence, distinction, and influence through the vision of creating a healthy and equitable society so all our neighbors can thrive. Prior to joining the Alliance in 2012, Dreyfus was secretary for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. She was appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2009 and approved by the Senate. She had responsibility for Medicaid, aging and long-term care, child welfare, behavioral health care, juvenile justice, economic assistance, and other human services. Before her work in Washington state, Dreyfus served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Alliance.

In 1996 she was appointed by the Gov. Tommy G. Thompson Administration in Wisconsin to be the first administrator of the Division of Children and Family Services. Her responsibilities included child welfare, childcare quality and licensing, youth development, and an array of emergency assistance, and other programs.

Dreyfus is past chair of Leadership 18, a coalition of CEOs from the largest and most respected nonprofit organizations in America and was previously the chair. She served on the governing boards of the American Public Human Services Association and Generations United. Dreyfus serves as chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Systems for Action (S4A) national advisory committee. She was appointed through the Speaker’s office in the U.S. House of Representatives to serve on the National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities from 2013-2015.

In 2019, Dreyfus was named to The NonProfit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50 list of nonprofit leaders who have “distinguished themselves as initiators of concepts that will have legs and are already having impact.” She also was included in the Power and Influence Top 50 list in 2018, 2017, and 2015.  The American Public Human Services Association awarded Dreyfus its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for her contributions to the field of health and human services in both the public and private sectors. In 2018, Dreyfus was recognized with a Women of Influence Award by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Demystifying Social Services: Pathways Beyond Healthcare That Lead to Sustainable Well-Being for All

Kathy Markeland, Executive Director, Wisconsin Association of Family & Children’s Agencies (WAFCA)

Kathy joined the WAFCA staff in January 2007 bringing a diverse public policy and member services background. In 2019, she was selected to serve as Executive Director to guide the continued growth of the Association and increase member capacity to deliver outstanding human services that help Wisconsin’s children and families to achieve their full human potential.

Prior to joining WAFCA, Kathy served as an associate director for the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, the public policy voice for Wisconsin’s Roman Catholic bishops. In her eight years with the Conference, Kathy advocated on a wide range of issues from environmental matters to human concerns and health care policy. In addition, she followed state developments related to welfare reform, services for the vulnerable and state and local finance.

In her early career, Kathy spent seven years serving the Wisconsin Counties Association, providing both member support and public policy advocacy services to elected representatives on Wisconsin’s 72 county boards. Her experience with the counties introduced her to a wide range of county services and programs and advanced her knowledge of state and local funding relationships. Her policy focus included human services, nursing homes, county organization and environment and land use management.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Behavioral Science and Law in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

LSS Helping Afghan Refugees (Fox 6 News Story)

West Allis, WI – As tens of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan begin their journey to the United States, Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan (LSS) has been preparing to serve those who may settle in Wisconsin. Fox 6 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin covered the story and spoke with Héctor Colón, President and CEO of LSS.

Though the individuals and families fleeing war will first stop at Fort McCoy, many will end up in different parts of the state where LSS can support them.  LSS helps to get the refugees on their feet and moving forward toward true independence.

“We connect them to all of the resources that will help them be as independent and self-sufficient as possible,” Colón said. “We help these individuals come to Wisconsin, to our country, because they’re fleeing from war and persecution.”

You can watch the full news story below:

Héctor Colón Appointed to Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. Board of Directors

Nicolet Bank Board

The holding company for Nicolet National Bank confirmed its appointment of Héctor Colón to its Board of Directors.

Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. sent out a July 20 press release announcing the addition of Colón, the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan.

According to Bob Atwell, Executive Chairman of Nicolet, “Héctor is a great addition to our board. He brings a strong track record of organizational leadership in the governmental, educational and not-for-profit sectors.”

Click the link below to read the full press release and learn more:

Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. Appoints Héctor Colón to Board of Directors

Gov. Evers, Héctor Colón Speak at LSS Aspen Center About Opioid Treatment

Waukesha, WI — On July 6, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers held a press conference at the LSS Aspen Center site regarding a new law that would help fund opioid abuse treatment services and funding through Act 57.

Héctor Colón, LSS President and CEO, kicked off the press conference in front of a host of TV, radio and print media, many of whom included LSS in their stories. Colón also spoke with WTMJ-TV and was featured on their story, which you can see below:



Aside from Colón and Gov. Evers, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley also spoke during the approximately 20-minute media gathering.

You can see the full press conference below, as posted on Milwaukee’s CBS 58 news site:

You can also find additional information from the using the links below:



Héctor Colón Shares Advice for Completing Tasks on “Morning Blend”

MILWAUKEE — Héctor Colón, President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan (LSS), joined host Molly Faye on WTMJ-TV’s “Morning Blend.”

Colón discussed a number of topics on the show, focusing on different ways individuals can focus on completing their tasks at work in the most efficient and effective ways. Through mindful practices and a Servant-Leader heart, Colón has led LSS to adapt to new models and strategies for success.

You can watch the full interview below:


Reflection on Derek Chauvin Verdict

Dear Friends,

I waited with the rest of the country for the verdict in the murder trial of ex-police officer, Derek Chauvin, which has now been read…Guilty on all three counts.

Around this time one year ago, we all watched with the world as a person, father, son and brother – recklessly and inhumanely lost his life.

This past year of pandemic, along with heightened civil and racial unrest initiated by the senseless murder of George Floyd, has created a tremendous amount of stress especially within communities of color and law enforcement.

Derek Chauvin was held accountable for his actions. The work toward justice for communities of color continues as we strive for a nation that believes in the infinite worth of every life.

I am heartened in seeing – and knowing – that we have come together as a community to courageously lead with compassion, and acknowledge that change must first begin within each of us.

We are a human family of grievers and forgivers, organizers and optimists. I will continue to lean on the Servant-Leadership tenets of awareness, empathy and listening as we co-create to build safe, healthy and thriving communities filled with people using their God-given gifts to serve one another.

Romans 12:5-10 says, “Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christian brothers and sisters, and be eager to show respect for one another.” Let us follow the Floyd family’s lead to love as we commit to new growth of ourselves and others.

Always in peace,


View original message here regarding George Floyd

Champion boxer now champions the needs of others

Someone once said, if you are given the opportunity, be the change you wish to see in the world.

That could describe the extraordinary journey of Colón from being bullied as a child, to becoming a national boxing sensation to becoming the President CEO of Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, one of the largest nonprofits in the Midwest.

He grew up in poverty on Milwaukee’s south side. He lost two close friends to drug addiction, and as a young Latino, he experienced the ever-present challenges of bullying and prejudice

At the same time his mother was working three jobs, his father left home when was Héctor was twelve, and his sister suffered from drug addiction and co-occurring mental illness.

As a result of the challenges surrounding him Colón says his Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score was six. “According to research, this would indicate that I had a 1200% likelihood of having depression and a 200% likelihood of committing suicide, but fortunately I was able to overcome these disadvantages.”

The Hector Colón story is detailed in the author’s memoir, From Boxing Ring to Boardroom-5 Essential Virtues for Life & Leadership (August, 2020). (hectorcolonmke.com)

“If you want inspiration then you owe it to yourself to read Héctor Colón’s life story. From humble beginnings to a champion boxer to the boardroom. Héctor weaves a wonderful story about life’s challenges and rewards,” Howard Behar, Retired President of the Starbucks Coffee Company

Profound Personal & Professional Journey

Living in a poor neighborhood, and seeing up close the needs of his family, these experiences propelled Colón to make a difference with his life. These experiences not only helped shape his strong work ethic, later on it led to his relentless efforts in helping others through strong leadership.

Earlier this year Colón’s leadership was recognized when Gov. Tony Evers appointed him to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents

He also served as the boxing and mixed martial arts commissioner for the state of Wisconsin from 2009 to 2011. Colón holds both a B.S. and M.S. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Today, he is known as a bold visionary as leader of Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Milwaukee and Upper Michigan. The organization provides aid to about 40,000 individuals through dozens of programs including mental health, addiction, foster care, disabilities, and family services for youth to seniors.

Boxing Makes a Difference

Sometimes, looking back, there’s a definitive moment in time that leads you in the direction to where you are today.

In his memoir Colón clearly describes that moment. “On a summer day when I was nine, Adam sent me home crying and bleeding from being bullied. That same day my father marched me into the boxing gym.”

He says the person he is today was shaped by tough trials growing up as well as those first tentative steps he took into the boxing ring and the decade of hard work that followed.

“I recall being pushed in front of a mirror and shown some basic boxing combinations by my coach, Shorty, his first and only boxing coach. “After I started boxing, he turned to my father and said, “Héctor is a natural. He will become a champion.”

“I have known Héctor since he was nine years old and have witnessed him grow and develop into a man who lives every day with the virtues of magnanimity, humility, courage, perseverance and temperance. Héctor is a champion in and out of the ring. This memoir is charming yet inspiring; find out what it takes to be a champion in life,” Ricardo Diaz, Executive Director, United Community Center

Colón’s childhood trials led to the United Community Center boxing program and seven subsequent USA National boxing titles. This same fierce determination to succeed nurtured the virtues of magnanimity, humility, courage, fortitude and temperance – deep-rooted virtues that he continues to embrace as CEO and president of LSS.

“The transition from boxing ring to the boardroom is not a common path,” Colón says “All odds were against me. Research would indicate that someone with my background would have a difficult time succeeding,” he says.

Today, he is an independent director on the board of USA Boxing with a focus on inspiring athletes to discover their own path towards personal and professional greatness.

Life Lessons

In his memoir Colón describes and emphasizes five essential virtues for life and leadership.

Magnanimity — Strive for greatness.

Humility — “I learned what it meant to be served by my coach, through boxing,” Colón says.

“He sacrificed long hours in the gym with me. He delayed or cancelled vacations to attend my boxing matches. And he accepted me into his house where he fed, loved and cared for me when I was 16. Through him, I learned what it meant to be a servant leader and I try to live out this approach in my personal and professional life — serving and putting others first.”

Courage — Fight to do the right thing in the midst of significant challenge, odds and opposition. “Be not afraid

Perseverance — It’s okay to fail –it will make you stronger. If you fail that means you are stretching yourself to do challenging things.

Temperance — We need to exhibit measured responses to difficult, challenging and trying circumstances to yield good outcomes for yourself and others.

He credits the moral teachings of his father, the humility and love from his mother and the pride of his culture as contributing to the person he is today.

This is what he tells those who have trouble visualizing a better future for themselves.

“My journey continued with challenges, low expectations by others, set-backs, opportunities, and successes. Undeterred, I applied the same dedication, determination and discipline that it took to become a champion boxer to my new life striving for excellence in everything I do, whether it be as a husband, father, or CEO.”