WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Hispanic Access Foundation announced that Chela Garcia Irlando has been selected as its Director of Conservation Programs and will oversee the organization's national conservation program. The program will continue to build upon HAF's seven-year history of Latino stakeholder engagement in protecting natural resources, accessing the outdoors and building a Latino environment narrative.
"I am honored to join an organization with a proven track record of serving the Latino community with integrity and a vision of creating a more just and equitable future rooted in healthy communities and a healthy environment. I am elated to become a part of the HAF team and help build upon HAF's groundbreaking work towards social and environmental justice."
Over the past four years, Garcia has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to equity in her home state of Colorado by building Latino political power and representation. Most recently, she served as the campaign manager for Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez's successful primary bid for Colorado's House of Representatives, District 4. Garcia has also mentored local leaders on the process of engaging Latino communities in outdoor recreation. As a regional coordinator for Latino Outdoors and ambassador for Brown Girls Climb, she has fueled her passion for creating environmental stewardship and healthy communities.
"Chela brings a unique combination of strengths, vision, and experience that will help us identify future goals, continue to shape our conservation strategy, and implement our vision using research/data, community organizing, communications, and coalition building," said Jennifer Brandt, Deputy Director of Conservation Programs.
Garcia holds a master's degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Planning and Community Engagement and a bachelor's degree in Ethnic Studies and International Affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
"I'm pleased to welcome her, and her leadership in rooting our work in justice and equity, at this crucial time for people and places across the country," said Maite Arce, HAF's president & CEO. "Chela has a record of success with a valuable combination of skills and experiences- she is truly committed to building leadership in our communities."