Celina L. Zacarias has held the position of Senior Director of Community and Government Relations for California State University Channel Islands, the 23rd campus in the California State University System since 2007. As Director of Community and Government Relations Celina is responsible for advancing California State University Channel Islands’ positive presence and goodwill at all levels throughout the culturally diverse service region, the state, the nation and internationally by planning, directing, and implementing a comprehensive proactive program of community and government relations. Celina is also responsible for establishing and maintaining strong relationships with local elected officials, Sacramento state legislators, and U.S. Congressional representatives in Washington D.C. and their staff members to communicate positions on issues and obtain support for resources on behalf of the campus.
The daughter of migrant farmworkers, Celina was born in Michoacán, Mexico and came to the United States when she was three years old. Both her father and grandfather were a part of the Bracero Program from 1942-1964.
Celina graduated from UCSB with Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Spanish Literature and Hispanic Civilization. She has studied abroad in Cuba, China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and England.
Celina also has 25 years of extensive business experience in the emerging and new market segments stemming from her careers at GMAC Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation.
In 2011 Celina was one of the 40 participants selected from throughout the United States by the U.S. Secretary of Defense to participate in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference which allowed her to engage with top senior leadership at the Pentagon and at the numerous military commands throughout the country. In 2014 Celina was a part of the Commander Naval Air Force Distinguished Visitors Program which allowed her the opportunity to embark aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan.
Celina has been a keynote speaker locally and nationally on various topics ranging from Homeownership, Real Estate Fraud, and Latina Women in Business to the importance of Higher Education. In 2014 Celina was a keynote speaker at the California Department of Education State Migrant Parent Conference: “The Universe is Small for the Potential of the Migrant Child”. In 2011 Celina was a keynote speaker at the United States Office of Education –National Migrant Education Conference: “The Bracero Program and its impact on my life”.
For many years Celina has been extensively involved in the community holding numerous leadership positions in professional, economic and charitable organizations. Celina is active in all the Ventura County Chambers of Commerce and presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Moorpark, Camarillo and the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce where she is presently the Chair and she was the past Chair of the Simi Valley Chamber in 2017. She also serves on the Board of Directors of VCEDA, VCCA, RDP-21, Women’s Economic Roundtable and Leadership California just to name a few organizations. Her contributions to the community have resulted in many awards and acknowledgements by legislators, civic organizations and the business community. Recent awards include the 2018 Latina Leadership Award, 2012 Top Latina in Higher Education Award and the 2006 Top Woman in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times; others include the 2011 and 2016 Chairman’s Award of Excellence, 2007 Woman of the Year and the 2016 Citizen of the Year by the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, 2007 Diversity Ambassador by the American Red Cross, and numerous other recognitions for service to the community.
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