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Our Team

Ginny Romero.jpg

Executive Director

Gianella Romero, also known as Ginny, is a first generation Mexican-American native to Hickory, NC. She is a strong administrative professional with a passion of advocacy and leadership who has obtained her Bachelor’s degree at Winston-Salem State University followed by her Master of Business Administration at Lenoir-Rhyne University. She is our current Executive Director who is also an alum of Centro Latino. She believes that strong communities are built through education, support, unity and innovation.


Client Services Advocate

Andrea Quijas Arteaga, our Client Services Advocate, was born in Hidalgo, Mexico. She has resided in Newton since 2016 and is a student at Lenoir-Rhyne University where she is earning a double major in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. She is enthusiastic about helping her community with personal growth and respect in order to build better bonds with each other.


Abriendo Puertas Program Director 

Victoria Morales, is from Chile but has been in the USA for almost 20 years. She is a Forestry Engineer with a Master of Science in Environmental Management, an oil paint artist, and a Spanish interpreter among several other things. She lived in High Point for 14 years and now resides in Hickory, places where she has always cultivated her passion for helping others. She has actively worked with Cub Scouts of America, interpreting, teaching Spanish, and participating in local artist events. She believes in making a difference and spreading knowledge about Latin heritage through culture, education, and actions. Different cultures, points of view, and opinions can create synergies that will end up enriching and benefiting entire communities.

Our Team: Experience

Social Media Specialist

Soraya Valdez Place, was born and raised in El Salvador. She immigrated to the United States in 2004 and got a Master’s Degree in Arts at North Carolina State University. Soraya moved to Hickory in 2015 after returning from Panama where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer with her husband for 3 years. She has been a Spanish Professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University since January 2015 and also works as a Family Liaison with a program called Juntos. As a forever ESL student, Soraya is very committed to making extra efforts to assist at-risk students and their families to stay on track in their educational, personal, and community goals. 


Karate Sensei 

George Place, is a volunteer Karate instructor who makes martial arts training accessible for families who might not otherwise be able to afford the dojo experience. Sensei George has served in the Peace Corp in El Salvador and Panama.

Our Team: Experience


Jessica Teeters, born and raised in Puerto Rico, has always had a passion for community service. Currently working at CCC&TI while simultaneously pursuing her degree, her calling in life is to serve those in need, facilitate resources for those who require them, and foster connections between communities, resources, and providers. Her major drive is to see the Hispanic/Latino community thrive and provide them with essential tools to reach their full potential. 


Community Outreach Specialist

Carl Beardsworth, had a role of Community Outreach Specialist started many years ago at home when he married into a Cuban family. As a husband and local Mortgage Banker at First Citizens Bank, Carl has seen firsthand the challenges of language and culture, especially in the housing market. Barriers that have locked out so many in our community from the stability and wealth that owning a home can bring. Carl also volunteers as an Ambassador for the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce and on the Membership, Finance and Social Justice Committees for the Unitarian
Universalist Church of Catawba Valley. Carl received his AA in Business Administration from Wake Tech Community College and is also a Certified Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute.

Board of Directors

Board Chair







Terri Landers


Mauro "Rocky" Renteria

Our Team: Experience
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