President & CEO
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Claudia Caballero is the President & CEO of Centro Hispano, the cultural and educational hub for the Latino community in Knoxville and East Tennessee. A Honduran-American who is both bilingual and bicultural, Claudia spent most of her early childhood and teenage years moving between Honduras and the United States. As an immigrant in both countries, she became an expert at making new places ‘home’ and working with her communities to create connections where otherwise they might not have existed.
During her four-year tenure at Centro Hispano, Claudia has tripled the organization’s yearly income and expanded its staff from one and a half employees to over thirty full and part-time team members. She led a rebranding and awareness campaign and helped to develop new programs and services for both the Latino and non-Latino community. An expert at building relationships, she successfully forged partnerships with organizations such as The University of Tennessee, Knox County Schools, Lenoir City Schools, The City of Knoxville and others. She has become a staple guest speaker with chambers of commerce and large regional events. In just a short time, Claudia and her team have built Centro into an empowering and inclusive community center where Latinos can learn, connect to the greater Knoxville area and receive the tools that they need to thrive culturally, educationally, and economically.
Claudia prides herself on a leadership style that is warm, welcoming, entrepreneurial, resilient, and nimble to change. She believes in the importance of a workplace that builds on people's strengths, collaborative spaces where food and culture are shared, and a community that feeds the spirits of all of its members. Claudia is passionate about building bridges between Latino and non-Latino communities, and creating opportunities for networking and collaboration. Her personal mission in East Tennessee is to create platforms to showcase the diversity, intersectionality and economic contributions of the Latino community. Claudia is also passionate about leadership, development, financial health and education. She believes that “philanthropy done right helps to close the race-wealth gap, foster social justice and create generational change,” and that it is her “responsibility to make the world a better place for others, for everyone.”
In addition to her work at Centro, Claudia mentors 3 young Latinos and serves on numerous boards and committees, including at the East Tennessee Foundation, the Tennessee Education Equity Coalition steering committee and the advisory board for Johnson University. She is a graduate of the 2019 class of Leadership Knoxville; a member of the Mosaic Fellowship class of 2018; a 2019 Knox.biz 40 under 40 honoree; a YWCA Tribute to Women Emerging Leader honoree; and a member of Leadership Tennessee Class VII.
In her free time, Claudia enjoys Texas Two-Stepping, sharing meals with friends, gardening, thrift shopping and road trips. Claudia lives in a beautiful “holler” in South Knoxville with her 2 cats.