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.
City of San Diego
Wells Fargo Bank
Immediate Past Chair
Office of District Attorney
Golper, Sullivan & Rivera
Department of Health Services
Henderson, Caverly, Pum & Charney LLP
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.
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 two 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 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.
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 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."
More information about Veronica Rosillo coming soon!
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.