American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois
Celena Sarillo joined the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois as CEO in March of 2016. This region of the Red Cross is the fourth largest region nationally of the American Red Cross and responds to 1,200 disasters every year with an annual budget of approximately $16 million. The Chicago Northern Illinois region covers 21 counties and teaches more than a quarter million people in Chicagoland each year health, safety and disaster preparedness skills. Prior to joining Red Cross, Sarillo served as the Executive Director of Erie Neighborhood House which was founded in 1870 to strengthen low-income, primarily Latino families through skill-building, access to critical resources, advocacy and collaborative action.
Sarillo has had extensive and significant community development experience at both the city and the state level. Most recently, Sarillo was honored by the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago as the 2016 Community Leader of the Year for her work in communities and the nonprofit sector. She served on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Education Transition team and the Mayor’s Early Childhood Task Force as well as Governor Quinn’s Illinois Human Services Commission. Sarillo was a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow in 2011, participating in an intensive leadership training and partnership-building program that examines some of the key issues facing the Chicago metropolitan area. In 2015, she participated in the German Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a month long leadership development program in Europe focused on supporting and fostering the transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and Europe, sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).
Currently, Sarillo serves as the Vice Board Chair for Illinois Action for Children and on the Head Start Governing Board for Metropolitan Family Services. Most recently Sarillo was appointed as a member to the National Board of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the City of Chicago’s Community Development Commission.
Sarillo holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Administration from National Louis University, as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.