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.
Advocacy & Civic Engagement Program Manager
Maria is originally from Guatemala and moved to Siler City with her family in 1999 when she was 3 years old. She graduated from Jordan-Matthews High School and earned degrees in Political Science and Latinx Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018. From a young age, Maria has questioned the social and political structures that have affected her day-to-day life. During her time at university, Maria was the Chatham Site Coordinator for NC SLI (now LatinxEd) where she helped Latinx high school students to bridge the gap to a higher education. While at UNC, she also volunteered with CHisPA and at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School. Maria believes that through education and mobilization, the Latinx community can be a powerful voice for social change. At The Liaison, Maria is currently focused on GOTV and Census outreach efforts. Another of her goals is to empower directly impacted Latinxs to work collectively to address issues of common concern.
Elena C. Gonzalez
Workers’ Rights, Programs Coordinator
Elena Gonzalez is originally from Suchiate, Chiapas, a town on the border of Mexico and Guatemala. Elena grew up in Mexico, but also lived for many years in Guatemala. She moved to the US in 1986 and to Siler City in 1999. As soon as she arrived in Siler City, she found The Hispanic Liaison and an opportunity to get involved in the community. Ever since then, Elena has been a part of El Vínculo, first as a client, then a volunteer, and she served as a member of the Board of Directors for 10 years. Elena has also volunteered with Mujeres Mejorando el Futuro, Chatham Together and El Pueblo. In 2009, she received the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year awards at the local and state levels, she was nominated The Liaison. Previously, Elena worked as an Assistant Nutritionist at Siler City Elementary and was the Breast Cancer Prevention Coordinator for El Pueblo in Raleigh for 3 years. She graduated from CCCC’s Natural Chef Program, and has been a trained chef since she lived in Mexico. Elena is honored for the opportunity to support our community and fight for the rights of workers. She lives in Siler City with her husband Juan Carlos Gonzalez.
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.
Noemi Mora Marcial
Program Assistant, COVID-19 Response
Bryant Parroquin Marketing Communications Manager
Bryant is of Mexican heritage; he was born in Chapel Hill, NC and raised in Siler City. His parents are first generation Mexican immigrants. After graduating from Jordan Mathews High School, Bryant attended UNC-Chapel Hill and earned degrees in Sociology and Journalism in 2019. While at UNC, Bryant volunteered with LatinxEd (previously SLI), served as the President of La Unidad Latina chapter, and was the student director of the Latinx Center at UNC. In these roles, he worked to ensure that the voices and needs of the Latinx community were heard by the UNC administration. Previously, Bryant worked as the Social Media Manager for Gilded Homes, a Latinx owned real estate company in Durham. He started his own small businesses, Parroquin Graphics, offering graphic design services for individuals, organizations, schools and businesses.
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.