Address: 300 Sunny Hills Dr., San Anselmo 94960; 415-457-3200; sunnyhillsservices.org
Professional background: 20+ years in international banking and finance, first with Bank of America and then as a consultant. After serving on the board of a very small nonprofit in San Francisco, when I saw the tremendous impact the organization had on a very limited budget, I made a decision to “bridge” to the nonprofit sector and use my skills and experience in a very different way. I was fortunate to find a position as CFO of Sunny Hills in 2000, and tremendously appreciate the opportunity I was given. It was a very steep learning curve, and a very rewarding new career.
Education: B.S. in economics, U.C. Riverside; MBA, Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley
Staff size: 110 employees
Describe your organization.
Sunny Hills has been helping vulnerable children and their families for more than 117 years. Originally founded as an orphanage in Marin County, we now serve about 1800 young people every year in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Alameda counties. We impact many more siblings, partners and other family members. Our mission is to engage vulnerable children and youth, enrich their connection with family and community and empower them to lead healthy, rewarding lives. We help young people stay on track, or get back on a track of healthy social, emotional and behavioral development so they can thrive as adults and nurture the next generation of youth. Our services range from preventive and outreach services, early intervention services as well as more intensive therapeutic services. Our programs address the needs of mentally-ill and other at-risk children and youth, including:Mental health treatment for children and youth of all agesSpecial education in therapeutic schools, grades K-12Gang prevention and intervention for youth in middle school and high schoolTransitional housing and support services for transition age foster youthKinship services to meet the needs of vulnerable children being raised by relative caregivers
The children and families served by Sunny Hills Services are ethnically and socio-economically diverse. Fully 100 percent of children in our programs are working to overcome emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, mental and behavioral health programs, or are at risk of neglect, abandonment or other emotional trauma.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
[caption id="attachment_65018" align="alignleft" width="200"] Mary Denton[/caption]
I like to think big, and I work better and stay motivated if I have a big vision or goal in view. That’s true in my personal life as well as in my professional life—when I turned 50, I decided I wanted to start jogging, so I signed up for a half-marathon through Team-in-Training. I’m glad to say I completed it! Two years ago I was talked into a 5-day trek on the Salkantay Pass in Peru, and reached the summit of 15,214 feet in elevation. I’m happy now just doing local hikes on and around Mt. Tam, and I’m also happy curling up with a good book. My family lived in Bogota, Colombia while I was growing up, and that experience opened my eyes to other cultures, and also inspired my love of world travel.
What is your role in the organization?
As CEO, I have to keep looking far forward of where we are today and where we will be tomorrow, with a view to making strategic decisions that will let us continue to be there for the children and youth who need us. And I also need to make sure that the tactical decisions are right! I am very fortunate to have a great team at Sunny Hills, from our leadership team, to our direct care staff and our Board of Directors—that makes my job easier.