Founder & Executive Director
Ilana was born and raised in southern Brazil and has lived in Chatham County since 1991. She founded The Hispanic Liaison in 1995 to help address the unique needs of the growing Hispanic community. Ilana has over 20 years of experience in non-profit management, program development and implementation, capacity building, fundraising, public policy, community organizing and advocacy. She left The Liaison in 2008 and returned in 2016 to revive the organization, which had closed its doors in September 2015. Her former organizations include Hispanics in Philanthropy, miraclefeet, the NC Cooperative Extension Service, El Centro Latino, and The Center for What Works. Since 1995, she has been devoted to advancing the rights of Hispanic/Latinx families at the local and state levels. Ilana is a state certified Spanish/English court interpreter and is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew. She attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has an Associate Degree in Social Studies.
Program Manager, Youth Leadership
Selina is originally from Mexico, born in Xaltianguis, Guerrero. She immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was a child. In 2016, she became a U.S. citizen. She grew up and attended school in the small town of Vaughan, in Warren County, NC. Selina completed her high school at the School of Science and Mathematics in Durham. In 2017, she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with degrees in psychology and Hispanic Literature and Cultures. Selina is the first person in her family to attend and graduate from a university. During her undergraduate studies at UNC, Selina was a co-director for NC SLI for the Families United for Education Initiative, where she taught classes for parents, in Spanish, about the college enrollment process. She was also the co-director for SOAR (STEAM, Outreach, Achievement, Recreation), a program for Latinx youth at McDougle Middle School in Carrboro. Selina has dedicated her time helping the Latinx community and advancing the opportunities for Latinx families and youth to pursue a higher education.
Program & Volunteer Coordinator
Janet is a native of Michoacán, Mexico, and moved to Siler City with her family in 2000. Janet graduated from Jordan Matthews High School in 2013. She is the first generation in her family to attend college receiving a certificate in Electronic Engineering Technology from CCCC. Janet decided to change her career after meeting Ilana Dubester in April 2016 while she was working as an intern at Chatham Habitat for Humanity under the WIA program. The Hispanic Liaison had helped her mother and family in the past, and Janet wanted to give back to her community. As a child, Janet was an avid listener of The Liaison’s weekly youth radio show “Teen Shout”. Janet joined our staff in May 2016. She is a fluent in English and Spanish. Janet is currently pursuing a degree in Office Administration at CCCC.
Program Manager, Leadership & Civic Engagement
Emilio Vicente was born in Guatemala and moved to Siler City, NC, when he was six years old. He graduated from Jordan Mathews High School, where as a freshman, he became involved in immigration advocacy. From 2008 to 2010, Emilio was a member of Teen Shout, the Hispanic Liaison’s youth group, where he attended trainings and community events organized by the youth. He has also served as a board member with The Liaison. Emilio took a gap year before attending college to advocate for immigrants’ rights in Washington, DC, Massachusetts and Seattle, and has worked on immigration advocacy campaigns at the local, state and national levels. Emilio graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in public policy. While in college, he was active in advocacy for immigrants’ and LGBTQ rights – Emilio is a part of the LGBTQ community. His previous organizations include the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network and United We Dream. Emilio is happy to return to his hometown of Siler City to help empower the local Latinx community.