Board of Directors

La Cooperativa Campesina de California’s Board of Directors are drawn from our member agencies and the wider community.

Hermelinda Sapien


CEO, Center for Employment Training

Hermelinda Sapien assumed leadership of the Center for Employment Training (CET) in 1999, approved unanimously by the board. A member of CET’s executive management team since 1967, her unmatched knowledge of the organization’s needs, partners, and operations ensure excellence and efficiency in the delivery of client services despite economic and cultural obstacles.

Throughout her time at CET, Ms. Sapien has led initiatives at the local, state, and national levels to protect funding and increase community outreach.

Prior to joining CET, Ms. Sapien collaborated with the Department of Labor to develop more opportunities for Latinos as part of the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Hermelinda, her parents, and eight siblings used to make the seasonal journey to Santa Clara County for employment in the fields. In the late 60’s, they decided to settle permanently. In 1992, they received Santa Clara County’s Family of the Year Award for their mutual contributions to improving quality of life.

In 1993, she received the county’s Human Relations Award, and has twice been nominated for the Women of Achievement Award. In 2001, she received the annual Portraits of Success Award from the Hispanic Development Corporation, recognizing her services to others and the community along with her personal achievements.

Hermelinda demonstrates her deep commitment to the community as a fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley, a board member of Latinas Contra Cancer, and a member of the Workforce Alliance and the Association of Farmworker Opportunities Programs. She is a graduate of Durham Business School and Stanford’s Executive Management Program.

Chris Paige

Board Chair

President & CEO, California Human Development Corporation

Christopher Paige currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for California Human Development. In 1975, he joined CHD as a Program Planner and served as Chief of Operations and Deputy CEO prior to being asked by the Board to step into the role of President and CEO.

Chris has had a long-standing interest in justice for farmworkers dating back to the end of the Bracero Program and early job training efforts to assist farmworkers under the War on Poverty.

Since its inception, Chris has provided La Cooperativa Campesina de California with leadership in the planning and program development relating to disaster assistance, dislocated workers, immigration reform, health care, and equity for farmworkers in the Decennial Census counts of 1990 and 2000.

An active volunteer and community member, Chris has been recognized by the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County. Chris was also honored by the Central Valley Opportunity Center in 2005 with the Dolores Huerta Lifetime Achievement award.

He is a past Board member and past President of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) and is a member of their Farmworker Hall of Fame and just last year won their President’s Award for exceptional contributions to improving the lives of migrant season farmworkers.

Chris’s efforts are supported by his wife Bettina (Tina), daughter Maggie Blumenfeld, son Matthew Paige and grandchildren Caleb, Melia and Devon.

Ernie Flores

Executive Director, Central Valley Opportunity Center

Ernie Flores is currently the executive director of Central Valley Opportunity Center (CVOC), based in Winton, CA. He has served in that capacity since October 1994.

Ernie brings over 30 years of nonprofit management to the La Cooperativa board, including experience as both a controller and executive director. He is also a past president of the Board of Directors.

Ernie served as President of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs Board of Directors (Washington DC) from October 2008 to September 2012, member of the Western Alliance of Farmworker Advocates (Sacramento), a member of the Stanislaus County Alliance and the Merced and Madera Workforce Investment Boards.  He also served as vice chairman of the State of California/ Department of Community Services and Development LIHEAP advisory board.

He is currently a member of the PG&E Community Advisory Council and served on the PG&E/ Greenlining Partnership for 6 years. He also served on the Board of Regents for the California School of Professional Psychology. He is also the founder and treasurer for the Western Alliance of Farmworker Advocates (WAFA) PAC.

Ernie is an alumnus of Fresno City and Fresno State colleges in Business Administration/ Organizational Management and Development.

Ernie is married with two children, two grandchildren, and two dogs. He is an honorably discharged Viet Nam U.S. Army veteran whose hobbies are travel, golf, politics and computers.

Theresa Hitchcock

Executive Director, Employers’ Training Resource

Teresa Hitchcock currently serves as an Assistant County Administrator Officer for the County of Kern, overseeing the Division of Economic and Workforce Development of the County Administrative Office. This Division encompasses the Kern County Board of Trade and Employers’ Training Resource as well as, Policy and Economic Development for Kern County.

For the Board of Trade, Ms. Hitchcock is responsible for Kern County’s tourism marketing efforts, serves as the Kern County Film Commissioner, and is the grant administrator for the county’s tourism promotion grant program.  Tourism and filming generate more than $1 billion per year in economic impact for Kern County.

For Employers’ Training Resource, a proud partner of America’s Job Centers of California, Ms. Hitchcock is responsible for Kern, Inyo, and Mono County Workforce Development efforts, serving both job seekers and employers.

Prior to joining the County Administrative Office, Ms. Hitchcock was the Marketing and Analysis Manager for the Kern County Airports Department. While at the Department of Airports, Ms. Hitchcock was successful in recruiting new air service from Meadows Field Airport to Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Sacramento, California; San Diego, California; and Guadalajara, Mexico.  While with the Airports Department, Ms. Hitchcock also worked to establish US Customs and to create a Foreign Trade Zone to serve multiple locations in Kern County.

Michael McCann

CEO, Proteus, Inc.

Michael McCann joined the Proteus, Inc. team 18 years ago as the Data Systems Manager. Like the organization’s namesake, a shapeshifting Greek god able to transform into any human or animal, Mr. McCann has adapted his talents to respond to personnel needs throughout the organization. In 1994, he was promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer. Recently, he changed hats again after being selected as the new CEO of Proteus, Inc. Mr. McCann began his official duties as CEO of Proteus, Inc.on June 1, 2000.

George Ortiz

In 1967, George Ortiz helped to found the California Human Development Corporation, one of La Cooperativa Campesina de California’s five member agencies. CHDC provides job training, housing, and related services to farm workers and other underserved populations.

In addition to decades of professional service as CHDC’s President and CEO, George divides his time between several community organizations. In the past, he served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and as Chair of the Western Alliance of Farmworker Advocates, Inc.

Currently, George is Chair of the Latinos Unidos del Condado de Sonoma, a Self-Help Latino organization. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the U.S.-Mexico Bi-National Health Advisory Board, assists Consejo Latino de Kaiser, an advisory group for Kaiser Pemanente of Santa Rosa, and represents Sonoma County on the Advisory Board of the Wells Fargo Community Reinvestment Act.

The Press Democrat newspaper named George Ortiz one of the 50 most influential community leaders for the 20th century, honoring his numerous contributions to local causes.

George lives in Santa Rosa and is an active member of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa, serving on the Finance and Membership committees.

Maricela Gallegos

Maricela Monterrubio Gallegos brings decades of corporate and civic experience to the La Cooperativa Board of Directors. Born and raised in Mexico City, she is a lifetime advocate for the economic, social and political advancement of the people left behind.

For more than thirty years, Maricela helped Hewlett-Packard cultivate a diverse and talented workforce. As an HR manager, she was instrumental in the opening of HP Operations in Gudalajara, Mexico. Maricela also contributed to the development of programs that increased the retention and employment of women, people of color and persons with disabilities in the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Latin America.

In addition to her position on the La Cooperativa Board of Directors, Maricela serves as an advisor and advocate for many community organizations. Her affiliations include chairing the Board of Directors for the Community Resource Project, Inc (CRP) and serving as Chair of the Development Committee for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).  As Treasurer for Cien Amigos, Maricela helps that organization in its mission to promote the mutual prosperity of both Mexico and California.  Maricela also works with REMEX, a national organization for fostering the well-being and success of women of Mexican origin.

Maricela holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and currently resides in Galt, California.

Cándido Morales

Cándido Morales joins La Cooperativa following a career dedicated to building successful, stable communities throughout the West Coast.

A native of Oaxaca, Cándido came to the United States at the age of thirteen, attending Healdsburg High School in Sonoma County. After graduating from Sonoma State, he worked as a Spanish teacher at Santa Rosa Junior College and a community worker at the Dioceses of Santa Rosa.

In 1972, Cándido moved to the California Human Development Corporation, where he quickly worked his way up to management positions. When the CHDC began operations in Oregon in 1979, Cándido was selected to serve as Manager of the Farmworker Program, and added Washington to his jurisdiction in 1984. Cándido later returned to Santa Rosa as the CHDC’s Communications Officer and Vice President, holding these posts for more than 15 years.

In 2002, the President of Mexico appointed Cándido to the position of Unit Chief (Jefe de Unidad) of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, IME) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As Unit Chief, Cándido oversaw IME in its mission to connect Mexican nationals to the tools that would enable them to successfully transition to life in the United States, fostering connections through programs such as Plazas Comunitarias, Ventanillas de Salud, IME-Becas, LAZOS, and Ventanillas Educativas.

Since his retirement from IME in 2013, Cándido has found more time for favorite pursuits. In addition to his service on the La Cooperativa Board of Directors, he enjoys film and digital photography, his collection of Spanish music, reading, and writing.

Cirenio A. Rodriguez,

Professor Emeritus, from CSU-Sacramento, was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and arrived in Los Angeles at age 14. Like many immigrant students, he was initially placed in special education courses when he enrolled in high school. During summers he worked in the agricultural fields. In the 1960s, he became involved in the Chicano Movement, and later worked as a teacher, community organizer and an advocate for the Chicano community. From 1981- 2006, Dr. Rodriguez was on the faculty at CSU-Sacramento, where he developed programs to prepare bilingual school leaders.

He served as Chair of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department, and Associate VP for Academic Affairs. He also served for over 10 years on the Woodland JUSD school board and for 10 years on the Yolo COE Board of Trustees and is currently serving a four year term.