«The change in leadership at Centro Presente unfolded for almost one year via a democratic, organized and transparent transition process that involved not simply a change in the person at the helm of the organization, but a development of leadership at all levels of Centro Presente.
Our Executive transition process had the participation of players at all levels of the organization, including members of the Board of Directors, staff members and young men and women from our youth program who have all had active roles in the selection of our new Executive Director.
At our fifth members’ Assembly on November 22nd, Board President Gabriel Camacho introduced our new Executive Director: Patricia Montes. Patricia was welcomed with a standing ovation and has the firm support and commitment of all of us at Centro Presente. Patricia will officially tackle her duties after January 1st, 2009
Patricia Montes is originally from Honduras, where she pursued a degree in journalism and devoted her career to social justice. As a member of our base, she joined Centro Presente’s Board of Directors in November of 2004 where she held the position of President for seven months. In 2006, Patricia worked at Centro Presente in the community organizing area and quickly emerged as a strong leader. Throughout the years, Patricia distinguished herself with an exemplary and stellar performance that she continued to exhibit as she stepped up to the position of interim Co-Director. Patricia’s leadership, work ethics, and mission commitment are outstanding. We know that she will perform at the highest level to give direction, vision, and strength to Centro Presente. We are thrilled to welcome her and feel proud of having her as our new Executive Director.
In addition to introducing our new Executive Director during assembly, our members had the space to share, debate and come together around a strategic vision for Centro Presente in the New Year and met our newly elected Board of Directors for 2009. Over 80 active members attended the assembly, along with our young peer leaders and our staff. Our efforts to make Centro Presente a democratic and inclusive organization have paid off this year with a highly participative process to elect the new Board members and a powerful assembly that was held at Centro Presente’s new headquarters in Somerville.
During the Assembly our members talked about our 2008 victories, analyzed the economic and political situation that is facing our communities, the historic election of Barack Obama and what is that going to mean for immigrant communities, and established strategic areas of work for next year. We formally introduced Centro Presente’s new Board of Directors – a democratically elected community Board that comprises nine members, all of them Latinos, who will convene for the first time in January. After her presentation, new Board member Sandra Aguilar stated: «I am going to be part of the Board of Directors of Centro Presente and it is a pleasure for me to share with them and continue working with them and learning, but particularly to continue working with our community, that is the most important thing».
In 2004, when Centro Presente started its transformational process our members came together to give us our current mission statement. The last sentence of that statement reads «Through the integration of community organizing, leadership development and basic services, Centro Presente strives to give our members voice and build community power».
After four years of tireless work, our membership base includes 1,504 members, 50 of whom have been active in at least one of our member-led workgroups that advance our agenda around immigrants’ rights and workers’ rights. Our executive transition process and members’ assembly are co