A Message From Our CEO, Tara Peterson
Tara Peterson Headshot
Last summer, The Durfee Foundation announced its 2021-2022 class of Sabbatical Fellows; a class of which I am still so honored to be a member. Next week, I will finally embark on my three-month journey, and though it has been nearly a year in the making, the thought of being away from YWCA for that long is still hard to imagine.My work at YWCA Glendale and Pasadena is central to my purpose, and I find it hard to disconnect at the end of every day, let alone for 90 days. But if I have learned anything over the past few years of facing a pandemic and a racial reckoning in our community, it’s that your well-being is equally important. We all need time to unplug and focus on our own self-care in order to dedicate ourselves to the work we love.

That being said, I feel confident leaving our organization in the hands of our amazing Interim Leadership Team. In my absence, Tori Fisk, our Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, and Elizabeth Sahagun, our Director of Domestic Violence Programs and Operations, will each serve as Co-Interim Director, working together with the Board of Directors to handle all executive tasks. Additionally, Fabiola Montiel-Tellez, our Director of Racial and Gender Equity, will serve as the Interim Director of Policy and Communications. These leaders will be available to you in my time away and they will collectively serve as the Sabbatical Interim Leadership Team.

I am so proud of the way our team has stepped up, and I assure you they will rise to the occasion. It is because of their individual strengths and their collective leadership that I can set out on this sabbatical; one where I will travel, re-connect with friends and family, and even enroll in a few writing courses and a retreat centered on deepening my self-care and wellness.

The Durfee Foundation has generously provided YWCA Glendale and Pasadena the opportunity to develop our internal leadership capacity, and I am so grateful to them for this opportunity to rest and recharge my batteries so that I may return invigorated. I am deeply humbled by this award, and I look forward to my time away. When I return this fall, there is no doubt that it will be with a fresh perspective and a renewed passion toward the work of eliminating racism and empowering women.

In Peace and Partnership,
A Message From Board President, Jessica First
Jessica First
After six years of commitment, dedication, and hard work to YWCA Glendale and Pasadena, the Board of Directors is thrilled to send Tara off on her sabbatical journey.

The Durfee Foundation, based in Downtown Los Angeles, invests in extraordinary people who make our city better and I can think of no better recipient than my friend Tara. Nonprofit leaders in LA work under conditions of unrelenting stress, compounded by the events of the last two years. The enormous demands of serving a community can lead to burnout, and the benefits of sabbaticals for nonprofit leadership is well documented. It has been shown that sabbatical programs increase organizational capacity and leadership retainment. These three months will allow our CEO to come back rested, recharged, and ready to serve.

The other benefit to a sabbatical program is the opportunity for an organization to plan and strengthen their capacity. This award provides funding for YWCA Glendale and Pasadena to advance the skills and wellbeing of staff and to reward those who will be leading our organization in her absence. And with that, I am so grateful to our Interim Leadership Team for stepping up and accepting the challenge. Tori, Elizabeth, and Fabiola will be working hand in hand with our board to address executive leadership tasks and serve our community. We look forward to the opportunity this collaboration will bring.

So congratulations, Tara, as you become one of the more than 100 sabbatical fellows to be awarded this honor since 1997. We know that you will take this time and come back revitalized and ready, as always, on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. And thank you to the Durfee Foundation for its commitment to nonprofit leadership and recognizing the benefits of a healthy staff.
Interim Leadership Team
Tori Fisk
Tori Fisk
Co-Interim Director
and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

As our current Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Tori Fisk is responsible for managing our $3.6 million operating budget, safeguarding our assets, and ensuring sound and ethical financial management and reporting to the Board of Directors. Stepping in as the Co-Interim Director, Fisk will continue to provide financial and administrative leadership to our finance and human resources team, while also being responsible for maintaining vendor and consultant relationships. She will work with the Board of Directors to ensure strong management practices, appropriate governance infrastructure, and ethical culture are maintained. She will continue to ensure our corporate and stewardship responsibilities are fulfilled by working in partnership with our development team and Board of Directors.
Elizabeth Sahagun
Elizabeth Sahagun
Co-Interim Director
and Director of Domestic Violence Programs and Operations

As our current Director of Domestic Violence Programs and Operations, Elizabeth Sahagun is responsible for overseeing $2.6 million in government contracts by ensuring program and administrative compliance. Additionally, Sahagun provides leadership and supervision to the entire domestic violence team, which includes case management, outreach and education, legal services, clinical services, an emergency shelter, and a housing and financial assistance program. As Co-Interim Director, Sahagun will continue to make sure YWCA Glendale and Pasadena is a responsive program partner with our national, state, and local funding agencies. She will oversee operations at our Lexington campus and Sunrise Village Emergency Shelter, and maintain our existing collaborative partnerships to address domestic violence within the Cities of Glendale and Pasadena.
Fabiola Montiel-Tellez
Fabiola Montiel-Tellez
Interim Director of Policy and Communications
and Director of Racial and Gender Equity

Currently our Director of Racial and Gender Equity, Fabiola Montiel-Tellez is responsible for overseeing all of our policy advocacy and gender and racial equity programs, including our Girls’ Empowerment Program. Montiel-Tellez will now step in as the Interim Director of Policy and Communications, taking on key leadership functions and serving as the primary lead for informing and shaping YWCA Glendale and Pasadena’s policy positions for external audiences. Montiel-Tellez will serve as our policy point of contact at the national and state level and respond to any media requests related to federal and state legislative policy matters. She will work in partnership with other key staff, community stakeholders, and volunteers to ensure that our communications work is fully integrated into our programs and board-approved policy agenda.
Upcoming Events!

We have a ton of exciting ways you can get involved here at YWCA Glendale and Pasadena, including the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr., Peace Walk on Sunday, May 22nd. Make sure you check our calendar for regular updates!