Chicano Federation

Board of Directors

Our board is comprised of community leaders who have a long time commitment to the welfare of the people of San Diego County. Board members of the Chicano Federation have been influential in leading the organization and instituting change throughout the County.

Board Officers

Mario X. Sierra

Mario Sierra

Board Chair
City of San Diego

Juan Vargas

Juan Vargas

Vice Chair
Wells Fargo Bank

Maritza Mekitarian

Maritza Mekitarian


Delia Talamantez

Delia Talamantez

UCSD (Retired)

Board Members

Fernando Ponce

Fernando Ponce


Mimi McClennan

Mimi McCLennan

Comerica Bank

Jose Cano

Jose Cano

Department of Health Services

Jonathan Grissom

Jonathan Grissom

Henderson, Caverly, Pum & Charney LLP

Robert Villarreal

Robert Villarreal

CDC Small Business Finance Corp.

Guadalupe Corona

Guadalupe Corona

Southwestern Community College

Dr. Ted Martinez, Jr.

Dr. Ted Martinez, Jr.

National Community College Hispanic Council Leadership Fellows Program, University of San Diego

Henry Murphy, Jr.

Henry Murphy, Jr.

Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

Raymond Uzeta, President and CEO

   Ray Uzeta – Interim CEO

Mr. Uzeta has been the Chicano Federation's President/CEO since 1991, with a brief intervening retirement before resuming his position. He was born and raised in San Francisco and comes from a family of eight children. He attained a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from the University of California Berkeley and a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Administration from the University of San Francisco. He moved to San Diego in 1979.

Mr. Uzeta became involved in non-profit organizations in 1974 and has worked for five non-profits throughout California in various management positions. Since July of 1991, he has been the President/CEO of the Chicano Federation of San Diego County, which has been serving the community since 1969. Current services include child development, child nutrition, Head Start, housing development, and HIV research. When he started his position, the organization had a budget of $550,000 and 18 employees. Today the Chicano Federation budget is over $14 million; there are 60 full-time employees; and the Federation owns and manages 300 units of affordable housing, with a portfolio valued in excess of $15 million.

In addition to his responsibilities at the Federation, Mr. Uzeta currently serves on several nonprofit boards – Nonprofit Management Solutions, Health Way of California, and the Vista Hill Foundation.

Nancy Maldonado, Senior Program Manager

Nancy Maldonado recently joined the Chicano Federation team as the Senior Program Manager. A community advocate with deep knowledge about health and wellness, Nancy has dedicated her career to improving health outcomes for youth and underserved communities and is recognized for designing, and leading the strategic development of community based programs and interventions.

Nancy holds a Master's degree in Exercise Physiology and a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. She formally owned and operated her own business where she developed and implemented corporate wellness programs. Prior to joining the Federation, Nancy served as the Director of Community Health for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Merle Garcia-Guillermo, Accounting Manager

Merle Garcia-Guillermo joined the Federation staff in August 2012 as the accounting supervisor. Prior to joining the Federation, she worked for several local nonprofits.

Guillermo's background prepared her well for the position she now holds. Her responsibilities include overseeing the daily operations of the Federation's accounting department and supervision of its staff members. The accounting staff is responsible for managing a $14 million budget and adhering to stringent government funding regulations. Guillermo obtained her bachelor's degree in accounting from the Far Eastern University of Manila.

Rosa Ortiz, Child and Adult Care Food Program Manager

Rosa Ortiz came to the Chicano Federation in 1991. After starting in accounting, Rosa had an interest in helping others and started assisting fellow employees who worked in the Social Services department. She moved to that department in 1993 as an advocate for families and the homeless. In 1995, Rosa became the manager of the Child Care Nutrition Program. The program provides financial reimbursements for the cost of meals provided to children in state-licensed family-run day care.

The program started with four participants. It now boasts more than 850 licensed homes under contract with the Federation. The program's budget has grown to $7 million. Rosa's passion is helping people. She finds fulfillment in seeing people become self-sufficient and improving their quality of life. She is two courses shy of her associate's degree in child development and is taking classes for a similar degree in business.

Gabriela Cervantes, Family Childcare Manager

Gaby Cervantes started her career with the Chicano Federation in July 2006 as an intern. That October she was named a recruiter/case aid for the Family Childcare department. From that time on, she has steadily risen through the ranks in positions such as family case manager, provider case manager and assistant manager. In 2014, she was named Family Childcare Manager. Gaby makes sure that programs are in compliance with state and federal regulations, and oversees programs. She has two direct reports, administers program reviews and makes sure that children are receiving the highest quality care available. Gaby enjoys it most when she sees families leave the program because they have become self-sufficient whether it's from achieving their goals, securing a better job or graduating from school.

She has a bachelor's degree in Divinity from the Pacific Christian Seminary, holds a Business Administration certificate and has taken several units in child development.

Monica Samano, ITP and Preschool Supervisor

Monica Samano joined the Federation in September 2013 as a teacher in the De Anza Early Learning Center, where she oversaw 20 preschoolers. She is currently the program supervisor for the Infant Toddler Program and the Barrio Child Development Center. In that role, she's responsible for providing a high quality experience for children and their families in both programs.

Monica's passion is early childhood education and has more than 21 years of experience in that area. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree with a teaching specialization in early childhood education. She also has a behavior specialist certificate and a program director credential.

Monica considers herself an early childhood educator for life, whether her focus is in or out of a classroom. Her goal is to continue advocating for children and to expand the leadership and management functions at the Chicano Federation. She credits her family as the inspiration for all she's achieved and calls them her "daily engine."

Veronica Rosillo, Site Supervisor at Barrio Child Development Center

More information about Veronica Rosillo coming soon!

Veronica Ruiz, Senior Property Manager

Veronica Ruiz joined the Federation in March 2002 as a Resident Manager and moved her way up to her current position as Senior Property Manager. Miss Ruiz' background and several certifications prepared her for her current position, overseeing nine properties with a staff of eight resident managers.

Veronica Baker, Development Director

Veronica joined the Federation in September 2016 as Development Director. Veronica has been involved in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years, most recently as Grant Writer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. Previously she worked with Kids Korps USA, the Make-a-Wish Foundation of San Diego, Cygnet Theatre, Mainly Mozart, among other organizations, and has also served as Lead Associate with Grant Writing Specialists and as a volunteer with many nonprofit agencies.