Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Chief External Affairs Officer, Advocate Aurora Health 

Cristy is the Chief External Affairs Officer at Advocate Aurora Health. In this role, she is responsible for shaping the overall experience for patients, team members and community partners in a broad and strategic way. With an expansive landscape to influence, she oversees diversity, equity and inclusion, community health and community programs, interpreter services, community relations, charitable giving through our foundations, at Advocate Aurora Health, one of the top 12 largest health systems in the United States. She is the executive who helped launch and staff the first DE&I Committee of the AAH Board in 2021. A national leader in board governance as at the time of the launch there were less than 2% of corporate boards with a DE&I Committee.

A leader at Aurora Health Care since 2011, she has more than 25 years of industry experience including leadership roles as the president and CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). Before joining UPAF, she was publisher and vice president of the Specialty Media Division of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and worked for The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle.

Cristy currently serves on the board of directors for Delta Dental, WEC Energy Group, Chicago United, Greater Milwaukee Committee, the United Community Center, the Hispanic Collaborative and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha. She served as campaign co-chair for the 2018 United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha. She is a member of the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives and TEMPO Milwaukee. Cristy has served on the boards of Aurora Health Care and Girl Scouts and is a past board chair of TEMPO Milwaukee.

She has received numerous awards and recognition, including the Milwaukee BizTimes’ Notable Minority Executive award, TEMPO Milwaukee’s Mentor award, the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence and 40 under 40 awards, and the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee’s Hispanic Professional of the Year award.

Cristy holds a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and has completed executive-level programs at Northwestern University and Harvard Business School.