Metro Women's Leadership Summit

Patricia Campos-Medina, MPA

Patricia Campos-Medina, MPA

Patricia is a nationally recognized labor and political leader with more than 20 years experience on grassroots & labor organizing, electoral campaigns with a senior government relations and senior organizational management record.

Currently, Patricia is the Co-Director of the Union Leadership Institute at Cornell University, where she develops curriculum and delivers training in four core areas of academic programing; workers rights & workforce development, leadership development and organizational change, globalization and trade, and immigrant rights policy. She is a core faculty member of the National Labor Leadership Initiative (NLLI) founded by the National AFL-CIO and Cornell University to advance the principles of transformative leadership within the US labor and workers' rights movement.

As an extension of her labor and political activism, Patricia also focuses on supporting and training Latina women to run for public office both locally and nationally. She is the President of Latinas United for Political Empowerment (LUPE PAC) in NJ and a founding Board Member of PODER PAC, two political action committees advancing Latina women representation in government and politics. She is a member of the Advisory Committee for Eleccion Latina/Ready to Run, a joint program of LUPE and the Center for American Women in Politics at the Eagleton Institute, Rutgers University; a board member of Latino Action Network (LAN NJ) and a Executive Board Member of the Hunterdon County Democratic Organization.

Patricia has served on numerous Boards and Commissions for the State of NJ, including as the first Latina in the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), the Economic Growth Council, The Port Security Commission of the NY-NJ Port Authority, the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commission Against Child Labor; and as Co-Chair of the Workforce Development Investment Board for the City of Newark, NJ under the leadership of former Mayor Cory Booker.

In 2016, Patricia was named as one of NJ most influential political leaders in the Power List published by Observer/PolitickerNJ; Top 100 Insider Policy Leaders published by Insider NJ in 2017; and Top 51 Most Influential Latino Leaders in NJ by PolitickerNJ in 2015. In 2017, Patricia was named one of El Salvador's 100 Most Influential Women in the Diaspora, by El Salvador's Ministry of the Exterior, an honor that she is especially proud of as an American of Salvadoran descent. Patricia has been recognized by the Rockefeller Foundation as a "Next Generation Leader," awarding her a multi-year fellowship to advance solutions to the major challenges facing Democracy in a diverse society. In 2012, she was also selected by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a think-tank in Washington DC, as a "Leadership Fellow," awarding her a one-year fellowship to advance the voices of leaders of color in the US policy-making process.

Patricia is considered an expert on issues related to workers rights, immigration policy and international trade. Because of her expertise, Patricia served on the Transition Team for International Trade for President Barack Obama in 2008, and subsequently led efforts by the international union, SEIU to develop a manufacturing and trade domestic policy agenda. In the early 2000s, she was appointed by Pres. Clinton as a staff member for the Labor Advisory Committee for United States Office on Trade (USTR) and served on that role under President George W. Bush until her relocation to NJ in 2004.

Patricia's career in the labor movement expands several decades and includes serving as Assistant National Political Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington DC; National Political Director for Workers United, SEIU, New York, NY; State Director of UNITEHERE in NJ (The Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union); National Legislative Director for UNITE (The Apparel and Textile Workers Union), Washington DC; National Deputy Director for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), AFL-CIO, Washington DC; and Corporate Researcher/Community Organizer for UNITE, Los Angeles, CA.

In 2011, she founded Campos Strategies Group, a boutique political campaign firm, focusing on union contract campaigns and Latino voter education and mobilization campaigns. She has served as a political consultant to many NJ-statewide campaigns including Congressman Bill Pascrell, Senator Cory Booker, State Senator Robert M. Gordon (LD-38), Mayor Wilda Diaz of Perth Amboy and many other local mayoral and council races.

Patricia is currently pursuing a PhD from the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University-Newark, where she focuses her field research on the integration process of immigrant workers under irregular work-permit arrangements like TPS (Temporary Protective Status) and DACA (Deferred Adjustment for Childhood Arrivals). She holds a BS on Industrial and Labor Relations and a MPA on International Trade & Worker Rights from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Patricia was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the US as a teenager in 1988. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband Robert and sons Diego and Enrique.

She is a guest contributor to several blogs and publications and often appears as a policy commentator on UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other mainstream local cable stations. She is fully bi-lingual in English and Spanish.