The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) wants you to learn more about our amazing staff, the individuals behind the work of our programs including Latinos on Fast Track (LOFT), Youth Awards, Code as a Second Language and other departments!
HHF is a team of 18 individuals working out of our Washington D.C. and Los Angeles offices! First up is Roberto Callejas, HHF’s Chief of Staff. Roberto has worked with HHF for 14 years, starting with the Foundation at 21, and now at 35 is letting us spotlight his talents!
Roberto was born in El Salvador and moved to Washington, D.C. in the early 1980’s during the country’s civil war, not returning to visit again until he was 13. His early education was in Washington, D.C. and later attended Northwestern High School in Adelphi, Maryland before attempting his college career.
As a teenager he grew up fascinated by history and archaeology as he felt that there were parts of our human culture that needed to be discovered. He was also intrigued by all things related to NASA, its research and its use of technology to show us that our planet is just a small part of the universe.
Roberto began with HHF as assistant to the President and CEO and at his first Hispanic Heritage Awards (HHA’s) he was tasked with stuffing gift bags, making photo copies and checking in guests. He has diligently worked his way to now oversee parts of the HHA’s, from production, celebrity and agent management and the honor of providing input on honoree nominations.
HHF has been more than a career for Roberto, it has been a familia. Through the support of his colleagues and leadership HHF became a place where he was allowed to grow professionally and where he could freely share his perspective from the point of view of someone who belongs to the Latinx LGBT community.
Since Roberto has been part of HHF, his role has been integral to its development, expansion and sustainability. Roberto transitioned from program coordinator to executive level three years ago, and is excited for the progressive direction that HHF is headed one that continues to show the value proposition our community has to move America forward.
In terms of where the Foundation is now Roberto said, “We’re being allowed to create programs that we want and that our students want. Technology has changed the way we reach people, and this has been so crucial to our growth.”
When Roberto isn’t working at HHF he enjoys visiting botanical gardens, already visiting most of those on the East Coast, Los Angeles, and San Francisco! His nurturing personality suits Roberto’s role as Chief of Staff well as he’s recognized for taking care of even the most difficult of situations.
Roberto’s childhood curiosity for discovery and exploring the unknown continues to be a part of who he is today and how he spearheads HHF’s efforts. He wants The Foundation to be seen as a forward-thinking vehicle that addresses topics Latinos typically don’t explore. “When I first started with the foundation I wanted to support in any way that I could. As an introvert, I naturally became a behind –the- scenes person, one that works hard but quietly always supporting the team.”
Roberto’s behind the scenes work does not go unnoticed, HHF is lucky to have you. Thank you for 14 years of amazing work at the Foundation!
Stay tuned to learn more about our staff in the weeks to come! Next up we have Jasmin Zamorano, Director of Programs at HHF.