Leadership Team

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Tara Peterson, Chief Executive Officer

Tara Peterson is a recognized expert in the field of violence against women and is responsible for the executive and administrative leadership of the YWCA Glendale and Pasadena, which strives to eliminate racism and empower women. Tara has played a pivotal role in revitalizing the agency’s 95-year legacy of supporting local women and girls by expanding programs and reach and igniting a change in the culture and conversation around gender and racial equity in Glendale and surrounding communities. Tara also leads the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale, which helped draft the City of Glendale’s historic Sundown Town Resolution apologizing for its racially exclusionary history as a “sundown town.” Tara has led the YWCA Glendale since 2016 and is is responsible for ensuring high quality outcomes, financial sustainability, organizational viability, and exceptional service delivery. During tenure, she has grown the organization’s operating budget from $1.3 million to $2.7 million.

Tara brings more than 20 years of experience addressing domestic violence, youth violence, sexual assault, and reproductive rights. She spent a decade working at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, including five years as its Executive Director, leading statewide policy, legislative, and budget advocacy efforts. Tara is a fierce advocate and has a long track record of successfully advocating for legislative change on behalf of domestic violence victims and their children and leading system change initiatives to increase access to domestic violence services to underserved communities. Throughout her involvement in the Violence Against Women Movement, Tara has been called upon to advocate at the federal and state level to secure resources and funding to address the social justice issues exemplified by the YWCA mission.  She represents YWCA Glendale and Pasadena in advocacy efforts at the California State Capitol and with legislative policy makers in Washington D.C. As a recognized expert in the field of Violence Against Women, encompassing the intersection of domestic violence and communities of color, Tara has been called upon to deliver speeches on these topics and has presented at several state and national conferences. Tara obtained her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sacramento in Ethnic Studies while on a full-ride softball scholarship. She also holds a master’s degree in Multi-Cultural Education.

Heather Masterton, Chief Strategic Engagement Officer

As the Chief Strategic Engagement Officer, Heather oversees the YWCA Glendale and Pasadena’s fundraising strategies, develops the organization’s external messaging plans, and oversees the Development/Communications and Community Engagement Teams, leading key community events, campaigns, and engagement efforts. Heather brings over 25 years of experience in the field to end domestic violence and holds a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) accreditation. Prior to joining YWCA Glendale and Pasadena, she served as Vice President of Development of actress and activist, Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization focused on ending sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. In this role, she oversaw national fundraising strategies, institutional giving, CA donor events and stewardship of regional major donor committees in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Her past leadership positions include: Executive Director of South Valley Sanctuary, a 57-bed domestic violence shelter program in Utah; Director of Development for Peace Over Violence, Los Angeles’ first rape crisis and domestic violence support center; and Statewide Coordinator of Domestic Violence Programming for 46 municipalities with the Mexican government’s national social services institution in Guanajuato, Mexico. Heather is a graduate of Herbert Hoover High School and Glendale Community College, and holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a founding board member of the Good Deed Corps, a nonprofit advancing nonpartisan voter education and registration efforts. She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Tori Fisk, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

As the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Tori ensures the day-to-day management of key functions including finance, accounting, human resources, facilities, technology and general business operations. Tori comes to our organization as an accomplished senior management executive with many years of accounting/finance and business operations experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Not only does she have deep expertise in business infrastructure, administrative management and operational technology, she is also a process improvement expert. Tori is passionate about social justice, advocacy and the importance of building stronger communities through social services.  She has held leadership, Board, and/or committee roles with various types of nonprofit organizations focused on membership, media arts, social/human services, and social enterprise models including A Place Called Home, International Documentary Association, and National Assistance League. Tori has a B.A. in Economics from UC Santa Cruz. She is also a CFO Leadership Council member and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) member, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus.

Elizabeth Sahagun, Director of Domestic Violence Programs and Operations

Elizabeth oversees YWCA Glendale and Pasadena’s domestic violence community based programs, crisis hotline and emergency shelter. In this role, Elizabeth supervises all residential and non-residential case management, advocacy, therapeutic and legal services for adults and children. Elizabeth has a strong commitment to promoting healthy communities. Prior to working with YWCA Glendale and Pasadena, she worked as a traveling program supervisor and program coach with L.A.’s BEST for 12 years. There she supported low-income families through positive engagement, serving as a liaison between school administrations, community agencies and families.