Earth, Wind & Fuego, LLC is a queer, woman, and Latinx owned business founded by Madeline & Jen in 2017. They committed their journey’s to health and healing and discovered that changing their lifestyle, including nutrition, supported their body in healing from chronic illness, dis-ease, surgery and medication. While healthy and local food is a big part of Earth, Wind & Fuego, their commitment to social justice is reflected in the mission. Every purchase from Earth, Wind & Fuego supports our mission to train and hire community members who face physical, mental & societal barriers to employment.
Madeline Henriquez, CEO & Co-founder
Born and raised in Perth Amboy, NJ, Madeline was inspired by the many women in her life who made magic in the kitchen. A loud and proud Dominican woman, Madeline was born feet-first and determined to change the world. Before incorporating Earth, Wind & Fuego, Madeline worked in human services for 14 years in different capacities, starting as an administrative assistant for a local not-for-profit social justice organization and advancing into managerial roles in health care reform, advocacy, reproductive health and justice, and gender violence. If ever a time when Madeline’s chef hat comes “off”, she enjoys more cooking, spending time with loved ones, travel and especially writing. She is a poet, adult romance & erotica writer, and comedienne and has shared her work at venues such as The Falcon, The Wherehouse, The Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center and 2 Alices Coffee Lounge. Madeline is a member of the Evolving Wordsmiths and has participated in the recitation of Poet Gold’s “Poughkeepsie Project, Poetically”(2016) at Barnes & Noble. Henriquez is currently working on a new comedy set titled “Mami raised me Catholic but I chose to be a nasty woman”.
Jen Herman, MSW, COO & Co-founder
Jen previously worked as the Sexual Assault Response Team Coordinator in Dutchess County before co-founding Earth, Wind & Fuego in 2017. She received a Masters in Social Work at Adelphi University. Jen has worked for and volunteered at human service agencies throughout Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties and received the Asset Builder/Outstanding Youth Worker Award in 2015 from the Orange County Executive’s Youth Bureau Awards. She served as a commission member of the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission and volunteers with Poughkeepsie O+ and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. As a poet and spoken word artist, Jen uses her writing and performance as a platform to shed light on systemic oppression and privilege, calling for unity among all people. She won the first ever Milkweed Poetry Slam in Sugar Loaf, NY, for her piece “Pulse” on the Orlando nightclub massacre.
Manuel “Manny” M. Concepcion, Prep Cook & Bartender
A native New Yorker born and raised, Manny is a Vietnam Era Veteran, proud father of five, artist and a musician. He is a Dutchess Community College graduate earning an Associates in Liberal Arts and is a Certified Auto Mechanic and Machinist through BOCES. Manny works with YER Stage Productions as a stage builder and soundboard operator. He plays at open mics in the Poughkeepsie area as often as possible including at Earth, Wind & Fuego’s monthly Fiesta Friday event. He enjoys volunteering and giving back to the community. Manny was the first graduate of Hudson River Housing’s Employment Assistance Training Station (EATS) Program with Earth, Wind & Fuego. Upon completion of the program, Manny was hired as a Prep Cook in April 2018. Shortly upon hire, he completed the NYS Safe Serve Alcohol Training and now serves as in-house Bartender. He continues to excel in this role, providing training and mentorship to new team members as well other functions to support the continued success of the company. He is currently training for a managerial position.
“Inspired by their Mission statement I enjoy the work, well being, camaraderie and all around Good Feelings and reactions with customers and staff. Life is Good.” – Manny
Sylvia Johnson, Prep Cook
Sylvia was born in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama in 1963 and began cooking at the age of 7. Growing up, her family had a. Farm and instead of going into the fields, she started to learn how to cook. Back then, they would eat four meals a day at 5am, 10am, 2pm and 6pm which Sylvia prepared with her grandmother when her grandmother wasn’t working as a nanny or restaurant cook. Sylvia came to Poughkeepsie in 1997, working in the food industry including as a dietary aide at The Pines (formerly Eden Park). She worked in the food industry for over 20 years until workplace injuries left her out of work for nearly 10 years. She has volunteered at Meals on Wheels of the Greater Poughkeepsie at Cannon Street since 2015.
Sylvia’s passion is food, which brings people together. Though she found that fulfilling, it wasn’t enough. She learned about the Hudson River Housing EATS Program and began training with Earth, Wind & Fuego in 2018, joining the team as a Prep Cook in 2019. She likes giving back to the community and being part of the mission of Earth, Wind & Fuego, reaching people one meal at a time.