First-Generation American Champions Opportunities in Columbus

Antoinette Wilson
CEO, Triumph Communications

As a first-generation American growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Antoinette Wilson watched her parents make a tangible difference in their community. Her father was a pediatric physician from the Philippines. Her mother was a pediatric nurse from Panama. Over three decades, the family helped over 30,000 patients at their practice. “Every time we were out in the community we’d run into a patient,” Antoinette says. “The community embraced us.”

When her parents weren’t working, they threw themselves into community service, volunteering at underresourced hospitals, charity events and Filipino cultural engagements. “I grew up in a family where our parents were always working hard and always giving back,” Antoinette says. “This is the kind of work ethic and altruism many immigrants bring to Ohio.”

Today, Antoinette and her three siblings all continue to live in Ohio, where they’ve built thriving careers. One brother is the CEO of a hospital, another an entrepreneur and her sister works for an international consulting group. Antoinette has run Triumph Communications from Columbus for nearly two decades. She was also appointed as the first woman Assistant Secretary of State in 2008. Throughout it all, she has volunteered on projects to help the homeless and assist immigrant organizations with ESL training. She also mentors women interested in running for public office.

Antoinette believes Columbus is an ideal city for immigrant families. “When people come here, they feel the energy,” she says. “They see the opportunities. They sense that it’s inviting and inclusive.” She said the city is good about showcasing its global diversity, including frequent festivals and cultural events that connect immigrants and native-born Americans. She’s sad to see such opportunities for exchange put on hold during the pandemic, and she hopes the city will prioritize them as it reopens. “The better we understand each other, the better we work together. And that makes Columbus stronger for all of us,” she said.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…