Notable Minority Executives: Otis Winstead

Executive Director, Great Lakes Dryhootch

Otis Winstead serves as the executive director for Milwaukee-based Great Lakes Dryhootch, a veteran-led, veteran-serving organization. Winstead has guided the organization toward a more inclusive view of veteran status, starting with hiring a more diverse staff and making other changes that could encourage more BIPOC veterans to seek services from the organization.

Recently, Winstead began an effort to create an African American veteran commemorative wall at the Milwaukee War Memorial building. Winstead brought leaders from the African American community (NAACP, SDC, Black veterans groups, etc.), the director of the War Memorial, the city, and other agencies together to find a common path forward. The African American War Memorial wall was unveiled last year.

Currently, Winstead is serving as a community leader for a COVID-19 rapid response grant, coordinated with the city of Milwaukee Public Health Department and the Milwaukee County Office of African American Affairs. This project addresses immediate needs in African American, Hispanic, Southeast Asian, and Native American communities in and around Milwaukee.

Winstead has provided critical logistical assistance in assembling and distributing millions of disposable masks early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, providing tens of thousands of pounds of food relief, and helping the effort to conceptualize how to change health behaviors in BIPOC communities to reduce COVID-19 spread.

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