Roger Garcia, D.Min, MPA, MTS | Associate Director of Recruitment & Retention
Roger Garcia was born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents from Honduras and Mexico. He grew up in the rural town of Columbus, Nebraska, before moving to Omaha in 2005. He holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Latino/Latin American Studies, a Master’s in Public Administration, a Master’s in Theological Studies, a Doctorate in Ministry, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Administration.
Since moving to Omaha, he has extensively engaged in civic and community activities, such as co-founding the Metro Young Latino Professionals Association (MYLPA) and serving on the boards for the Women’s Center for Advancement and the Immigrant Legal Center. For his active community involvement, Roger was awarded the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans award and the College of Public Administration and Community Service’s Goodrich Scholar Alumni of the Year award.
Professionally, Roger has been working in the nonprofit and public sectors for the past 17 years. He previously served as executive director for El Centro de las Americas in Lincoln, Nebraska, as the Nebraska State Director for the National Center for Families Learning, and currently serves as Association Director for Recruitment and Retention at the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska at UNMC. Roger has also served his community through elected office, recently concluding two terms on the Metro Community College Board of Governors and now serving as a County Commissioner.
Q & A with Roger:
Flashback to when you were ten years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?
"At 10 years of age, I actually wanted to be a professional wrestler, such as the entertainment kind found in the WWE (formerly WWF). I would wrestle with stuffed animals and practice my moves on my bed. Life had other plans, unfortunately, but who knows, maybe someday? I actually am a Muay Thai fighter now, so hey, I guess the apple didn't fall too far from the tree of dreams."
What inspires you to get out of bed in the morning?
"Working in the fields I love (government, nonprofit, and education). Trying to continuously improve myself and loving on my family and community."
Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
"Muay Thai fighter and trained theologian."
Who is someone you admire, and why?
"My mother for all she overcame as an immigrant and single mother."
What is the last book you read/show you watched/something you can’t get enough of?
"I've been reading mostly scholarly articles in public administration (PhD student life). My wife and I got into The Chosen recently."
What are some causes you care about?
"Mentoring youth and youth adults, aiding our local immigrant and refugee communities, and supporting the Women's Center for Advancement."
Finish this sentence: On Sunday afternoons, you can usually find me…
"At church since ours has a unique start time of 4 pm (great time that allows for brunching in the morning!)"
What is the first thing on your bucket list?
"Don't give up. Take on today's tasks with rigor. Repeat, every day."
How do you want people to remember you?
" "That Roger guy, he was pretty darn nice!"
Do you have a personal motto or a cool quote you live by?
"Everything you make a priority will be a priority." - Roger Garcia
It's super simple and redundant, but what I'm trying to say is if you want to go for that next degree, or be more physically active, for example, then make it a true priority! Make it happen, and fit it into the calendar somehow because whatever we make a priority will be just that!