Mario Garcia Sierra has been elected president of the board of directors for Centro Hispano of Dane County.

Centro Hispano is focused on improving the quality of life for Latinos in Dane County by empowering youth, strengthening families, and engaging the community.

“I’m looking forward to my new journey with Centro Hispano,” Garcia Sierra tells Madison365. “I’m especially excited about working with my fellow board members, community partners, donors, and the community at large. My main goal is to create a strategy for the future of Centro Hispano. I hope that at the end of my tenure, Centro Hispano is stronger and can continue meeting the needs and aspirations of our growing Latino community.”

Centro Hispano of Dane County was founded in 1983 by a group of community volunteers to meet the emergent needs of Cuban refugees who recently settled in Madison. However, as the Latino community throughout Dane County grew and diversified over the years, so did Centro’s programs and services. The agency now serves an average of 2,500 families and 4,000 individuals through its programs and services each year.

A native of Guatemala, Garcia Sierra first started on the Centro board of directors in July of 2014, and has served on both the Membership and Executive Committees, and as vice president of the board. Previously, Garcia Sierra was also on staff at Centro from 2008 to 2012 where he was actively involved in the mission of Centro as director of programs.

Garcia Sierra takes the reins from Sujhey Beisser, who had been the past president of the board of directors of Centro. A native of Venezuela, Beisser first started on the Centro Hispano board of directors in April of 2008. She has served as treasurer of the board for two different terms and has also served as secretary. Beisser was a member of the Executive Committee during the hiring process of the executive director two different times including the hiring of current Executive Director Karen Menendez Coller in August of 2013.

The staff at Centro Hispano
The staff at Centro Hispano

Beisser will remain a part of Centro’s board of directors and will continue to serve on the agency’s executive committee as Ex Officio Chair.

“I am thrilled to get to work alongside Mario, he is strategic and committed to the needs of our community, understanding this first-hand through his own personal experiences,” says Centro Hispano Executive Director Karen Menendez Coller.

Garcia Sierra is Community Services Manager for Madison Gas and Electric, a sustaining sponsor of Centro’s work for many years, where he promotes energy efficiency and sustainability in communities of color. He is also a committed advocate for Latino rights through his statewide work with Voces de La Frontera.

“Centro is a very special place – and I am most looking forward to continuing to strengthen the agency’s impact and footprint as we promote a thriving Latino community in Dane County,” says Garcia Sierra.