3440 Airway Drive, Ste. E, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-544-3299; saysc.org

Age: 37

Residence: Petaluma

Professional background: Elementary school teacher; social profit professional

Education: B.A., Roger Williams University

Staff: 54

Describe your organization.

Social Advocates for Youth is a local 501(c)3 nonprofit with a 41-year history in providing support, opportunities and hope to children, youth and families. We are dedicated to creating and supporting a caring community where all children, youth and families grow, thrive and succeed.

SAY was founded in 1971 in a two-room office located in downtown Santa Rosa. We began offering individual and family counseling to at-risk children, youth and families in response to concerns from community leaders and youth advocates about the lack of child abuse prevention and intervention services available.

Today, SAY offers crisis, counseling and community engagement programs throughout Sonoma County, including the Dr. James E Coffee House Teen Shelter and Mary & Jose Tamayo Village.

What is your role in the organization?

As executive director, I oversee SAY's strategic plan, operations, budget and fund-development capacities.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Being a dad and inspiring my daughter to see that giving back is way better than receiving.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Building bridges between our community leaders and the kids, youth and families that live in the shadows of Sonoma County. It’s my greatest challenge and opportunity.

What the next major project either under way or on the horizon?

To establish a place where 18- to 24-year-old homeless youth can heal, grow and find hope.

What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?

LEAP Solutions, Empire Communications and KLH Consulting, all of Santa Rosa

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

I expect it to become increasingly competitive. It’s going to be a real chance for nonprofit professionals to seize the moment and turn “competition” into “collaboration.” I sincerely believe, that through a strength-based, collaborative approach, we can do more together than we can a part.

There are a lot of inspirational nonprofit leaders in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties doing excellent work and having very meaningful conversations about this very thing. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the North Bay nonprofit industry.  

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Bill Friedman of Friedman's Home Improvement and Willie Tamayo of La Tortilla Factory -- great guys and mentors. I trust them implicitly.

Current reading: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I'm reading it with my daughter Dolce.

Most want to meet: My daughter in 20 years. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do.

Stress relievers: Laughing at a good joke, or not even one that’s particularly good, but just laughing. It’s the best!

Favorite hobbies: Being a Red Sox fan, unfortunately.

Words that best describe you: 5 feet 7.5 inches (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?: This award is really about the staff and volunteers that make Social Advocates for Youth what it is -- a place of support, opportunity and hope.