BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our work at Milwaukee Water Commons is governed by a dynamic Board of Directors.
They bring a diverse set of perspectives and skills to the table and help us move towards our mission of catalyzing Milwaukee as a true water city.
DINORAH MÁRQUEZ ABADIANO
Dinorah Marquez Abadiano, born in Mexico, moved to
El Paso, Texas at age 10 where she began her music studies. She did her undergraduate studies in American Studies and International Relations at Northwestern University and the University of Florence, Italy. Upon graduation she worked as Assistant Press Secretary for Chicago’s Mayor Harold Washington.
Dinorah returned to music full time and performed with various orchestras in Mexico, where she also established a violin program to support the continuation of dance music traditions in Xico, Veracruz. She received a Master’s Degree in Viola performance and String Pedagogy from UW Milwaukee. She went on to establish and direct the national award-winning Latino Arts Strings Program at the United Community Center.
In recognition for her work uplifting Latinx youth through music, she has been invited to the White House for the “Coming Up Taller Award,” and for a presidential event under the Obama administration. She was named “Milwaukee Artist and Milwaukee Music Teacher of the Year,” received the “National Afterschool Innovator” Award and Wisconsin’s “Martin Luther King Heritage Award.” Dinorah also is a member of the Wisconsin Arts Board.
Jonette (Tina) Johnson is a recent retiree from the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Cancer Center where she served as a Research Coordinator. Organizing community-based studies, Tina used skills and connections she developed as a grass-roots community organizer to successfully recruit participants in the Milwaukee community.
Tina has worked on several noteworthy studies at the Zablocki VAMC as a research assistant. Her past studies include SPRINT, a nationwide long-term systolic blood pressure intervention trial; the Million Veteran Program, a nationwide research program to develop genetic and health information database of one million veterans and POWER II, a community-based blood pressure study at 53
Southeastern Wisconsin veteran service organizations, teaching peer-to-peer blood pressure monitoring and education. Her last project was Men Moving Forward, a lifestyle study for African American prostate cancer survivors to help improve quality of life and cancer prevention through diet, stress management and exercise.
She brings these organizational skills and deep interest in public health to her role as co-chair of the MWC Board of Directors.
Deneine Powell is currently the FUSE Corps Executive Fellow for the City of Milwaukee's Environmental Collaboration Office. She is engaging the public on the forthcoming Climate and Equity Plan and supporting its adoption through the City's Common Council and County Board. Deneine believes that communities need to adopt a human-centered approach to safeguard the rights of vulnerable people and to share the benefits and burdens of the climate crisis equitably.
Prior to joining FUSE, Deneine was the National Director of Path to Positive Communities—a program of ecoAmerica. In this capacity, she provided training, capacity building, program support, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for local and regional leaders to elevate the benefits that climate solutions bring people and their communities. Deneine also served as the Executive Director for Groundwork Milwaukee, an organization devoted to transforming the natural and built environment of low-resource communities—working at the intersection of the environment, equity, and civic engagement. Deneine holds a MS in Organizational Leadership from Marian University, and a BA from the University of Minnesota.
Deneine received her MS in Organizational Leadership from Marian University and her BA from the University of Minnesota. And when she's not working, you can find her in her garden in Menomonee Falls, WI, with her husband, son, and daughter, and their dog Harper.
J. PETER ORDWAY
J. Peter Ordway is a Wisconsin native with experience in technology sales. After moving to Milwaukee from the suburbs, he started to understand the disparity in water and green space access. Hoping to be part of the change, as well as being an advocate for Blue/Green Jobs, he joined the MWC Board.
Naryan Leazer is a financial advisor at North Star Resource Group, an independent financial services firm. He is an active gardener at Alice's Garden in Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights Neighborhood.
Anne O’Connor is an environmental and social justice organizer working on projects such as rain garden & bioswale installations, pollinator support education, and governmental and community redress of segregation. She has a particular interest in environmental justice and fair and equitable housing.
Anne has deployed her business and art history degrees in multiple endeavors, including a rain barrel art project highlighting clean water issues and showcasing the work of over 30 artists. She currently uses her Master Gardener skills as a community engagement specialist in green infrastructure, and recently cofounded the local social and racial justice nonprofit Bay Bridge.
Born and Raised in Milwaukee, Jamin received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University and is currently working as an Instrument & Controls Technician in the power industry. Jamin has previously served on boards focusing on support, empowerment and equality of diverse populations in the Metro Milwaukee area. Jamin is a hobby quilter and sewist and enjoys getting out in the non-winter months for camping in Wisconsin’s fantastic state parks and around the Midwest.
Suzanne Mills-Wemm is a tribal member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe near Hayward, Wisconsin. Her spirit name is Waase Anangookwe (Bright Star Woman) and she is a member of the Crane (Ajijaak) clan. She is advancing to 2nd degree Midewiwin, of the Three Fires
Midewiwin Lodge, and is an Eagle Staff and pipe carrier.
Suzanne spent time serving our country and is a proud Navy Veteran. Following a career in Operations Management, Suzanne moved from the Washington DC to Hayward, WI (Lac Courte Oreilles) where she joined the Women and Water committee, and the women's hand drum group "Strawberry Moon Women Singers". In 2016, she and several other veteran tribal members went to Standing Rock, MN to support the people in their fight against the Dakota Access pipeline. She also carried her Eagle Staff to Line 3, the Mississippi head waters, and Line 5 events, standing up to protect the Great Lakes watersheds.
Suzanne loves music, singing, painting, drawing, practicing breathwork, beading and nurturing her own spiritual journey. During a sacred walk, she developed a rich relationship with water and a firm belief that we are all connected. Water is life.