A message from the Taller de José Board Chair:On behalf of the Board of Directors of Taller de José, I am pleased to provide an update on the upcoming leadership transition at Taller de José. After an extensive search, the Board is excited to share that Esmeralda Zepeda will be joining the Taller de José team as the next Executive Director, starting on October 17. Esmeralda brings with her over 20 years of experience in faith-based social service organizations, and most recently served as the Director of Programs at St. Joseph Services, a ministry of the Daughters of Charity. The board is confident that Esmeralda’s experience, leadership, and vision will enable her to build on the strong foundation already in place to continue to foster and grow the mission of accompaniment at Taller de José. We invite you to read more about Esmeralda in her bio below and to join us in welcoming her to the Taller de José family! Sincerely, Anna Sandoval, Board Chair
More about Esmeralda:
Her faith influenced her career path to Catholic Charities, where she served as a Child Development Educator at Madonna/St. Joseph Center in Wrigleyville, Social Worker and Assistant Site Director for St. Joseph’s Early Childhood in Back of the Yards, Site Director for St. James Early Childhood Program in Maywood, Our Lady of Tepeyac Head Start in Little Village, and St. Mary of Celle Family Child Development Center in Berwyn.
Esmeralda deeply understands, respects and supports the Catholic Church’s teaching, mission and values. Being involved with St. Joseph Services and Catholic Charities has enabled her to live her faith on a daily basis in serving others. Additionally, to managing community-based programs, she has worked closely with community organizations on numerous initiatives to improve the quality of life in the community.
Esmeralda recognizes the importance of service to those less fortunate and encourages youth to join her in this ministry. Through her experience in program development and community outreach, she has mentored youth and helped create partnerships with higher educational institutions. In 2014, she partnered with Dominican University to pilot the Ministry ‘En Lo Cotidiano,’ a leadership and faith formation program for students that placed students at various Catholic Charities sites in the western suburbs.
In 2016, she helped establish a partnership with Fenwick High School, creating the Christian Service Project. Through this partnership more than 300 Fenwick sophomores completed their service hours at various Catholic Charities sites in Chicago and the suburbs.
As a firm believer of a community shared mission and vision, Esmeralda helped establish the Catholic Outreach Network. In this essential role, she has brought together a group of Catholic organizations and programs to share resources to better serve clients and parishioners.
In 2015, Esmeralda completed a Master’s in Social Work program at DePaul University with the Vincentian Fellowship Scholarship. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Loyola University and a Master’s degree in the same field from National Louis University. In 2019, she earned a Leadership and Fund Development Certification from Notre Dame University.