Celena Roldán was recently named President and CEO of the American Red Cross for Chicago and Northern Illinois. This chapter of the Red Cross responds to 1,200 disasters every year and teaches more than a quarter million people in Chicagoland each year health, safety and disaster preparedness skills.
Currently, Roldan serves as the Executive Director of Erie Neighborhood House. Founded in 1870, Erie House’s mission is to promote a more just and inclusive society by strengthening low-income, primarily Latino families through skill-building, access to critical resources, advocacy and collaborative action. Erie Neighborhood House is located in Chicago’s West Town, Humboldt Park and Little Village communities. Erie’s comprehensive child care, after school, youth, and adult programs help 4,500 participants annually create better lives for themselves and their families while strengthening community action and civic engagement.
Roldán began her tenure at Erie in 2001 as the Social Worker and Disabilities Coordinator and then became Director of Child Care in 2006 before taking on the role of Executive Director in 2010. She brings with her notable and exemplary experience as a leader in the Latino community. Not only has she advocated on behalf of working families, but she has also worked with many elected officials throughout Chicago and the State of Illinois as well as members from the U.S. Congress to ensure that working families are given equal opportunities for child care and career enhancement.
Roldán has served in Governor Quinn’s Illinois Human Services Commission and served on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Education Transition team, and Mayor Emanuel’s Early Childhood Task Force. She was a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow in 2011, participating in an intensive leadership training and partnership-building program that examines some of the key issues facing the Chicago metropolitan area. In 2015, she participated in the German Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a month long leadership development program in Europe focused on supporting and fostering the transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and Europe, sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).
Roldán is the co-chair of the Chicago Coalition for Site Administered Child Care Programs and was elected to the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Child Care Advisory Council. She is a member of the McCormick Early Childhood Policy Fellows, the early childhood “Acuerdo” of the Latino Policy Forum, the advisory board for the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola, and a member of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). Roldán also serves as the Vice Board Chair for Illinois Action for Children, as a board member for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, and on the Head Start Governing Board for Metropolitan Family Services. Most recently she was appointed as a member to the National Board of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and to the City of Chicago’s Community Development Commission.
Roldán holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Administration from National Louis University, as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.