El Centro, a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is strengthening communities and improving lives of Latinos and others through educational, social, and economic opportunities, announced today that Erica Andrade has been appointed as CEO, effective July 1.

After a thorough search process that considered both internal and external candidates, the Board of Directors announced that Andrade, El Centro’s Chief Program Officer since 2018, will succeed Irene Caudillo, who has served as President and CEO since 2013, and recently announced her intent to step down from the position.

“I am thrilled to have the support of the board, leadership, and staff as we transition into this next phase of El Centro,” said Andrade. “This is truly a culmination of my life’s work, and I look forward to continuing to serve our Latino community and working towards equitable opportunities for all who call this place home.”

Most recently in her role as Chief Program Officer, Andrade solidified El Centro’s culture and programming strategies by spearheading its Theory of Change transition to enable a holistic approach to service delivery, implementing trauma-informed staff training, expanding the agency’s partnership model to include national funders, and leading the evolution of El Centro’s brand and culture to evoke a feeling of a welcoming community across all its locations and touchpoints.

“Erica has been central to the growth and success we’ve seen since she joined El Centro 22 years ago,” said Irene Caudillo. “When I look at all that we’ve accomplished as an organization under her leadership as Chief Program Officer, and where we stand today, I know the future is in great hands with Erica as our next CEO.”

Transition activities are already underway with the two leaders, the Board of Directors and El Centro funding and community partners, leading up to Erica’s official start date as CEO on July 1.

“We are proud of all that we accomplished under Irene’s leadership, and look forward to building on that foundation with Erica as our new CEO,” said Marielena Marroquin, El Centro Board Chair. “After a thoughtful search process, it’s clear that there is no one more qualified to succeed Irene in this important role and see us into the future.”

About Erica Andrade
Erica Andrade was born in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, and is the proud daughter of immigrant parents.  She migrated to Kansas City, Kansas at the age of 15 and has since called KCK home.  She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2001 with a BA in Latin American Studies, and earned her MPA from UMKC in 2019.

Erica has worked at El Centro for the past 22 years. Prior to being named CEO, she has served as Chief Program Officer (2018-2023), Patient Navigation Program Manager (2010-2018), and Adult Education Program Manager (2001-2010).

Photo by: Aaron Lindberg Photography


What is happening?

Irene Caudillo is stepping down as CEO of El Centro, Inc. (ECI) effective July 1. The El Centro Board of Directors has named Erica Andrade, current ECI Chief Program Officer, as the next CEO.

Why is Irene leaving?

After more 10 years with El Centro, 9 ½ of those as CEO, Irene is ready to explore new opportunities. With the current team in place, she believes that El Centro is in a very strong position to continue to build on the great foundation that has been established to create an even brighter future for the organization and the communities it serves.

Where is Irene going? Is she retiring?

Irene is not retiring and has not yet identified where she is headed next. She will take some relaxation time before deciding on her next steps. With Erica now named as her successor, Irene is confident that the leadership of ECI is in great hands, and she looks forward to exploring what her next chapter holds. 

When is Irene’s last day and what can we expect with the transition period?

Irene’s last day with ECI is Friday, June 30. Transition activities with Erica and Irene have already been initiated. A celebration of Irene and well wishes for what’s next for her will take place in late June, prior to her last day with the organization. Attendees will include ECI staff, board members, and ECI funding and community partners who have worked with Irene over the years.

Were other candidates considered for the CEO role?

Yes, a thorough search process was conducted, where both internal and external candidates were considered.

What makes Erica Andrade the right candidate for the job?

Erica is a tenured member of the ECI team, having served several roles with the organization over the past 23 years.  Most recently as Chief Program Officer since 2018, she has played a critical role, alongside Irene, in the growth and expansion of ECI to the organization it has become today. There is no other candidate more qualified than Erica to succeed Irene as CEO.

Has a successor been named for the CPO role that will be vacant once Erica transitions to CEO?

A successor has not yet been named for the Chief Program Officer (CPO) role that will be vacant once Erica transitions to CEO. This, and other future staffing decisions, will be led by Erica, once she has settled into her new role as CEO.