The parents of Carlos Medina (SASN ’89, RLAW’92) like to tell a story of how one day as a 5-year-old, he boarded a New Jersey Transit bus and told the driver to take him to Hollywood.
Little did they know he would one day have his own TV show.
Medina is Creator, Executive Producer and Host of the popular Qué Pasa NJ television show on NJ PBS, now in its third season, which features in-depth discussions with an array of Hispanic figures from the worlds of business, culture, politics, nonprofits and academia, as well as non-Hispanic influencers and allies.
“I started the show because there was not enough content telling the stories of diversity and role models for those in the Hispanic community,” said Medina. “My desire was to show positive contributions of Hispanics in New Jersey and the Tri-state area.”
What Medina leaves out is that he’s a role model himself.
A lawyer and successful businessman who is known in northern New Jersey for his civic involvement, Medina is a natural fundraiser, has sat on the boards of countless organizations, and supports many causes, none more dear to him than the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, where he serves as President and CEO, helping small-business owners get started, running mentoring networks, advocating for Hispanic-owned businesses in Trenton, and creating mutually beneficial relationships between the business and nonprofit sectors.
Medina started his journey to regional prominence in Guttenberg, NJ, the youngest of three children born of immigrant parents from Cuba (his dad) and Puerto Rico (his mom). He was a social kid who mixed easily with any crowd, played baseball and football, and argued a lot with his teachers at Saint Joseph’s of the Palisades High School in West New York, the neighboring town.
“The nuns would always say, ‘You should be a lawyer,’ and my dad did as well,” said Medina. “They saw something early on.”