CARRBORO, N.C. – Ilana Dubester will serve as interim executive director of El Centro Latino while the board searches for a permanent leader for the organization.
The group’s previous executive director, Victor Melendez, stepped down in February for personal reasons after about six months on the job, says Dubester, who began her new duties April 13.
El Centro, based in Carrboro, was created in 2000 to provide educational, cultural and social programs aimed at improving the lives of Latinos in Orange County.
The board aims to have a permanent executive director in place within six to eight months, says Dubester, who says she doubts she will pursue the position but is leaving open the possibility.
“My role is very specific here,” she says. “It’s to look at organizational-development issues and make recommendations about improvements.”
Specifically, she hopes to improve and streamline the group’s systems, including data gathering and technology, while overseeing financial management and personnel and maintaining a close relationship with the board.
“The board will be very involved, as they always have been,” says Dubester. “As I develop a deeper assessment of the organization, I’ll make recommendations to the board about how to improve the organization.”
In the meantime, she foresees no interruptions in program delivery because of the transition.
Among El Centro’s programs are adult-education classes, assistance with job searches, and a service that refers Latinos to housing, health-care and childcare opportunities.
The group has a budget of about $220,000 and employs three full-time staffers and several contractors.
Coming off an eight-month break, Dubester will work 30 hours a week.
Before her break, she worked with Hispanics in Philanthropy and Hispanic Liaison in Siler City.