Diane Guerrero was recently announced as the guest keynote speaker for the The Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee’s (HPGM) 2018 Five Star Gala on May 12, at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

The Colombian-American actress, activist, and author is best known for her role in the award-winning Netflix series Orange is the New Black. The fifth annual HPGM Five Star Gala celebrates and recognizes the organization’s 17 years of leadership, while raising awareness for its scholarship and professional development programs. Since 2004, HPGM has awarded $400,000 to 97 students pursing both undergraduate and advanced degrees.

“Diane’s story is a representation of the complex issues facing the United States,” said HPGM President & CEO Griselda Aldrete. “Diane’s talent and contributions serve as a beacon for many and inspires others to become active members of their communities. We welcome the opportunity to hear her story and offer HPGM members, from students to seasoned professionals, the chance to hear, firsthand, how her talent, hard work, and faith in herself lead to her success.”

Growing up in the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston, Guerrero’s passion for the arts and acting drove her to attend Boston Arts Academy, a performing arts high school. Following graduation Guerrero decided to pursue a career in acting and moved to New York City to study acting at the Susan Batson Studios.

Since then, Guerrero landed the role as Maritza Ramos on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and was part of the cast that earned recognition for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the 21st and 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards. Guerrero has also played the recurring role of Lina on Jane the Virgin, as well as a recurring role on Are We There Yet?

Guerrero is also an advocate for immigration policy. She volunteers with the nonprofit Immigrant Legal Resource Center, as well as with Mi Familia Vota, an organization that promotes civic involvement. In 2016, Guerrero and writer Michelle Burford published a memoir In the Country We Love: My Divided Family that presents her personal story of the plight of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“Diane is a strong example of how resiliency and determination to go after your goals can propel not only you, but everyone around you to do great things,” said Raquel Filmanowicz, U.S. community affairs director, BMO Harris Bank. “We thank her for generously sharing her time, talent and inspiring story of perseverance, dedication and achievement with us.”

Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee

Lionsgate / Netflix