Board of Directors

Carmen Lebron - President

Carmen served as a secretary for IAHSE. She is a Public Service Administrator for DHS in the division of FCS Region 1 North. She’s been with the state for over 28 years. She has played a vital role in IAHSE’s administration process, and has expanded the association’s network and partnership. She attended Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A in Speech and Communications in 1990 and a M.B.A. from Benedictine University in 2010.

Mitsi Gallardo - Vice President

Mitsi Gallardo is currently an Administrative Assistant I with the Illinois Department of Public Health. She has a Bachelors in Biology from North Park University and a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University. Mitsi is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and works to help people with disabilities enjoy recreational activities with the West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA). She has served on the Board of Directors for IAHSE since 2019 and previously held the position of Treasurer before becoming Vice President.

Edith Feliciano - Treasurer

Edith is an active board member. She was a former Human Resource Specialist for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Diane Casas - Secretary

Diane Casas is a Project and Community Outreach Manager for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. She joined IDFPR in March of 2020. She provides educational resources and serves as an advocate for the citizens of Illinois. Diane earned a Bachelor of Arts in Management from Benedictine University. Before joining, the state, she worked in the private sector and has an extensive background in sales and marketing. Diane joined the board in 2023 and currently holds the position of Secretary for IAHSE. A first generation daughter of Mexican immigrants, she is passionate of helping others and advocating for the community.

Jose Alex Medina - Immediate Past President

José Alejandro (Alex) Medina Alvarez is a visionary, a strategist, and a dynamic speaker. As a positive deviant, he has the ability and charisma to bring people together, cast vision, and build leadership structures to accomplish goals and tasks at hand. He excels at shifting atmospheres governed by relational values; both human and divine. He places a high value on the worth of humankind while celebrating their accomplishments, either big or small. He calls the gold out of people’s heart. He has worked for DCFS for 29 years, has been the chair and member of the Latino Advisory Council. He has also been an IAHSE board member since 2018 and served as the president from 2019-20. He is an ordained minister, and the son of first time immigrants; Salvador Medina Rodríguez and Beatriz Álvarez de los Reyes. Alex enjoys dancing, poetry writing, and cycling.

Carlos R. Charneco

Carlos R. Charneco is a retired State Employee with 38 years of state civil service. A graduate from Northwestern University he started his career with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) in 1980 serving in multiple positions including Equal Opportunity Officer. He later worked for Central Management Services as the manager of the Diversity Enrichment Program and at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity conducting EO compliance review of workforce centers. In 2009 Mr. Charneco was the recipient of the William J. Harris Award, established by National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to recognize excellence in the field of equal opportunity (EO). He has served as the past President of the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees (IAHSE) and past President of the Illinois International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP). Mr. Charneco currently serves as vice chair of the State Hispanic Employment Plan Advisory Council.

Maria R. Crain

Maria R. Crain is an Administrative Assistant for Environmental Health Services with the Illinois Department of Public Health.  A graduate from Springfield College in Illinois and Benedictine University, she has been a state employee for 13 years. She originally began her state civil career in the Department on Public Health as a switch board operator for the Division of Environmental Health in 2010. Later, she worked in the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Medical Programs as an office specialist. She returned to IDPH where she served as an office specialist in the Division of Health Assessment and Screening before moving on to work in the Division of Long-Term Care Field Operations as an Administrative Assistant. She has been an AFSCME member since 2013 as well as an IAHSE member since 2018. 

In addition to her state carrier, she volunteers in multiple organization in Springfield for the betterment of Illinoisans. In 2013, she was one of the founders, and is the current president of the Hispanic Women of Springfield, a community-based organization that strives to promote the health and well-being of the Latino communities in central Illinois. She serves as a board member for the Citizen Club of Springfield since 2021, and is a member of the FBI Springfield Citizens Academy Alumni Association.  

Alma Hernandez

Alma is an Executive I with the Illinois Department on Aging. She graduated in 2005 and received a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern Illinois University and a M.A. in Public Administration from DePaul University in 2016. She became a board member in 2019 and is the Chair Person of the Resources Development and Public Information Committee.

Jose J. Lopez

Jose has been a state employee for 35 years. He originally began his career with the state as a public aid caseworker. He served as Special Assistant to the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Secretary and Director of Hispanic/Latino Affairs for four years, and also as the Chief of the Bureau of Latino Relations and Statewide Translations Section under the Department of Public Aid’s Ombudsperson.  Additionally, Jose served on the Governor’s Office of New Americans, the State of Illinois’ Latino Family Commission and Central Management Services Hispanic Employment Plan Council. He is currently Chief of the Office of Latino Services, for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He serves as a policy-formulating administrator overseeing all Latino services and related issues for the agency. He provides advice and recommendations to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Deputy on matters involving Latino services. 

Jose’s passion has always been in working with the Latino community where he formerly served as the League of United Latin American Citizens’ (LULAC) Midwest Vice-President, a national civil rights organization and the largest Latino membership organization in the United States.  He was also the LULAC State Director for Illinois for four years and Past President of the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees.  He sits on the Boards of the Illinois Migrant Council, Central States SER, Chicago Bilingual Nurses Consortium and the Chicago Dia de los Niños Parade Committee.   He was formerly on the Board of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, Por un Barrio Mejor, Midwest Coalition in Defense of the Immigrant, Latinos for a Healthy Illinois, Illinois Association of Agencies and Community Organizations on Migrant Affairs, Catholic Charities of Chicago’s Latino Advisory Committee, and Illinois Association of Healthcare Interpreters

Jose M. Prado

Jose M. Prado is a Parole Agent for the Dept of Corrections District 1 at the Oakley Office Larrabee South. He has been a member of AFSCME for 25 Years starting in September 1998 when he was hired at Joliet C.C. He was elected to the position of Trustee and later a RC-6 Representative. When Joliet Closed in 2001, he was transferred to Stateville C.C. At Stateville, he served in several capacities within their local. He was a trustee, a RC-6 representative, Steward, and Chief Steward. He traveled to Pennsylvania representing the parole division of AFSCME and assisted the sisters and brothers of the Pennsylvania Dept of Corrections while they were organizing to be represented by AFSCME. He was a member of the negotiations committee and attended 3 contract negotiations. He currently serves as the IDOC Parole Regional Coordinator for Staff Wellness Response Team. Assisting staff in times of need. He is a certified Staff Wellness Specialist of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police serving all the law enforcement community. He is certified by the Desert Waters Outreach Program to train the instructors of the Corrections Fatigue to Fulfillment. (CF2F) workshops being offered to prisons staff. He was elected as the Treasurer for the Illinois Correctional Association in 2022. He is the local secretary for AFSCME Local 3436.

Margarita Olmos

Margarita Olmos has been a public servant for over 15 years. Her public service began at her local public library where she developed a series of English and Spanish computer classes for adults. Her state government career experience includes; the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Gaming Board, Illinois Commission on Equity and Inclusion, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Margarita’s public service positions include program development & classroom instruction, state regulatory & administrative procedures, policy, human resources, program outreach/marketing & event planning, and media and communications.  

Edwin Sanchez Molina

Edwin is a Principal Consultant with the Illinois State Board of Education. He graduated in 2018 and holds a B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University. Before joining the State of Illinois, Edwin gained experience at the City Colleges of Chicago- Wright College. He has also actively participated in multiple volunteer education associations and has contributed to his respective collective bargaining unit.


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