Chief Program Officer
Peña advocates for economic prosperity and is deeply passionate about small, minority, women-owned businesses and about public education. She believes these two play pivotal roles in the growth of communities and economies. The product of a small business family, Peña leads a team of professionals who are committed to service and innovation.
Her responsibilities include managing and supporting the business education department, along with the employee training department and Microloan Management ServicesTM (MMSTM), the organization’s web- based proprietary loan application and credit scoring program. In previous roles Celina served as Accion’s vice president of business support and vice president of Central Texas lending and also as director of the Women’s Business Center, in cooperation with the Small Business Administration.
Before moving to Accion she was a program director for the City of San Antonio’s small business department and a policy analyst with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, a premier non-profit funder for the uninsured in Texas.
Celina recently served as Vice Chair of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center board and as City Council District 7 Commissioner on Literacy. She is former Legislative Chair of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and former chair of the successful 2010 San Antonio ISD Bond Campaign and Committee. She currently serves on the Teach for America San Antonio board and an incoming board member of the Texas Civic Engagement Table. She is also a fellow with the Aspen Institute in microfinance. She is also a Microfinance Aspen Fellow.
She is a product of public schools in the Rio Grande Valley (Texas) and received a B.A. degree from the University of Texas-Pan American and an M.A. degree from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Most proudly she is the mother of Alejo (age 10) and Américo (age 3) and is married to Michael Soto, an English professor at Trinity University and McNair Scholars Director and former Texas State Board of Education Member for South Texas.