Meet Social Advocates for Youth's Lisa Fatu, one of North Bay Business Journal's 2019 Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40 winner

Age: 39

Director of Youth Crisis Services

Social Advocates for Youth (SAY)

2447 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa 95405


Lisa Fatu, 37, director of youth crisis services for Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) in Santa Rosa, is one of North Bay Business Journal's Forty Under 40 notable young professionals for 2019.

Responsibilities with your company: As the director of Youth Crisis Services at Social Advocates for Youth, I have the honor to oversee the following programs; Street Outreach, Human Trafficking/Commercial Sexual Exploited Children, Coffee House Teen Shelter, Short Term Emergency Shelter, Housing Placement/Coordinated Entry for youth and Rapid Housing Programs.

In my department I support 43 staff members and three coordinators in meeting our programs objectives. Youth Crisis services has contracts with the county, city, federal, and state departments.

I maintain a current $1.4 million budget for YCS Services. My favorite responsibility in my roll is supporting the most vulnerable youth in our community reach goals they didn't even know they had!

In 2018, Youth Crisis Services Supported over 1,500 young people at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness get contacted with housing services. Over 268 youth used our shelter services and we successfully housed 96 youth permanently ending their homelessness.

How do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty Under 40 professional?: After working in this field since I was 18, I still feel the same enthusiasm and passion towards the youth and families we support.

Years with company: 18

Length of time in current position: 6 years

Employees: 167

Numbers who report to you: 46

Greatest professional accomplishment: Opening the first emergency shelter for youth. The SAY Emergency Shelter is the only shelter for youth from San Francisco to the Oregon border. I started my career as a Street Outreach Worker and the only shelter we had to offer back then was a tent. The first time I could tell a youth you could stay in our shelter instead of the street felt amazing. I will always remember that.

Greatest professional challenge: Sadly, having clients pass away.

Best advice received: Think before you speak, but always speak.

Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: Winning a Federal grant I co-wrote to support Human Trafficking victims in our county.

What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?: SAY is being very open to the current economy is in. We are advocating, and fundraising all the time. We have to be in it together in order to make it through these times.

Next professional goal: Mental health support for youth who are experiencing homelessness. Understand the complex system of care for mental health services to better access support. I would love to do more training's. I love sharing best practices for working with youth. I want to share best practices for working with trafficking victims. Housing first for youth who are experiencing homelessness.

Education: I graduated high school in 1999. I have some college experience

Hometown: Santa Rosa

Community/nonprofit activities: I am a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force, I sit on the first responders sub committee for CSEC, I sit on many sub committees for the County for Youth Homelessness. I am also a active member of the California Coalition for Youth and Lastly a HUD-TAY voting member.

Mentor/admired businessperson: SAY's former CEO Matt Martin. Matt always made time for me. He always made me dream big and don't be afraid of change.

What is your most disliked buzzword?: Unfortunately

Typical day at the office: Multi-tasking! Meetings, emails, youth popping into the office for a quick hello or a bus pass. Staff needing the credit card to go grocery shopping. Community meeting and or a staff supervision.

Best place to work outside of your office: At our Coffee House Teen Shelter.

Hobbies: I am a single mom of two beautiful teenagers, so my hobbies include; Driving, baking, multi-tasking, team mom for my sons high school football and rugby teams, and house cleaning! I also enjoy softball and indoor soccer. During the softball season I play four nights a week!

What you wanted to be when you grew up?: Pediatrician or a High School counselor.

No. 1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: Balance

First job: My mom used to work 2 jobs when I was a little kid and one of her 2nd jobs was an Avon lady, so my first job was on my way walk home from school, I had to put Avon magazines on front porches or hang them on door knobs. I am pretty sure she was breaking some child labor laws since I was only in the 4th grade plus I never got paid!

Social media you most use: Facebook

Favorite book: "8 Ball Chicks" by Gina Sikes

Favorite movie: "The Color Purple" and "Moana"

Favorite after-work drink: Anything noncaffeinated! I will never sleep.

Last vacation: Lake Tahoe with my family.

What does your mom or dad brag most about you?: My mom always brags about how many youth I have helped, and also she complains/brags about how many people I know! We cant go anywhere with out you saying hi to someone!

Favorite app: Starbucks and Amazon

Forty Under 40 winner

Age: 39

Director of Youth Crisis Services

Social Advocates for Youth (SAY)

2447 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa 95405


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