By now, Herman G. Hernandez, a board trustee and consultant to the Sonoma County Office of Education, is used to confusing himself with his father, Herman J. Hernandez, an executive within of the non-profit organization Los Cien.
Starting this month, however, those confusing won’t be too far off.
Hernandez, 36, has been tapped to become the organization’s next executive director, a position he started on June 1. In this role, he will oversee the 13-year-old organization that his father, chairman of the Los Cien board, helped start in the backroom. of a Mary’s Pizza Shack with other members of the community.
Since then, the group has earned a reputation for hosting community conversations about some of the most important issues facing the Latino community and Sonoma County residents in general, ranging from housing and mental health to candidates at local races.
These gatherings, most of which have been held virtually in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic, have increasingly included some of Sonoma County’s most influential figures. It’s not uncommon to find elected leaders sitting alongside local business owners and nonprofit leaders at Los Cien events.
Under his leadership, Hernandez said he hopes to expand the nonprofit’s board of directors and those who attend their events to include more members of Sonoma County’s Black and Indigenous communities, as well as locals. ‘other people of color, a group sometimes referred to as BIPOC.
“My vision for Los Cien is broader than our Latino community,” Hernandez said. “I make it one of my personal goals to engage our (BIPOC community)…so we’re all working together.”
His hiring fills a vacant seat in the association since the summer of 2020.
Magali Telles, who was hired in 2018 as the nonprofit’s first executive director, left her post to take up a position heading what was then the new community engagement division. of the city of Santa Rosa.
After Telles left, the Los Cien board hired a member services manager but delayed selecting a new executive director, Los Cien vice president Lisa Carreño said. The board first wanted to refine its strategic plan and bylaws, as well as reassess the organization’s operational needs and the role of the chief executive, she said.
A job posting for the executive director position was shared on social media and other platforms this spring. It attracted several local applicants, as well as people from Northern California and out of state, Carreño said.
The recruiting panel, which included Los Cien board members and a longtime consultant for the group, considered three finalists, Carreño said. The elder Hernandez was not involved in the selection process, she added.
Hernandez’s varied work experience and success in past managerial and executive positions have made him a standout, Carreño said.
His resume includes experience with local nonprofits Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County and Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, as well as a position as a public affairs representative with Pacific Gas and Electric. Co.
He served as a field manager for two elected officials, Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, and most recently ran his own consulting business.
“He has a very good understanding of what it takes for an organization to be profitable and stable so that it has the resources it needs to carry out its mission,” Carreño said.
Among Hernandez’s other goals for the nonprofit is establishing programs that help develop people in the community who want to participate on local boards and commissions, he said.
He also wanted to draw more attention to the group’s Latino Economic Scorecard, which highlights gains and shortfalls in the wealth and financial well-being of the Latino community.
“(Los Cien) has always been very good at involving the community and bringing them together, but there are other things we can do better,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez, the president of Los Cien, said he was confident his son was ready to usher the nonprofit into a new era.
“The new vision here is to be able to…really bring the BIPOC community to the table,” Hernandez said, “to be able to strengthen our voice, united.”
Hernandez’s annual salary is set at $115,000 and the nonprofit’s budget was $330,000 this year, Hernandez said. He will free up his client roster at his consultancy business until he has a better idea of the workload that comes with being an executive director, he added.
His hiring announcement was coupled with news of four new Los Cien board members, including Angie Dillon-Shore, executive director of First 5 Sonoma County; Mercedes Hernandez, an entrepreneur who owns Bow N Arrow Clothing; Matthew Henry, CEO of the Family YMCA of Sonoma County; and Patrick McDonell, a housing attorney with Sonoma County Legal Aid.