After an extensive national search, the Sojourner Center Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome María Garay Ph.D., as the new Executive Director. Dr. Garay comes to Phoenix from Los Angeles, Calif., and is a 20-year veteran of the nonprofit sector.
Dr. Garay holds a PhD and Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California. She specializes in the human services fields of housing for families with HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, education, foster care, homelessness, hearing impaired, mental health, and substance abuse residential treatment services. Dr. Garay has served in executive leadership positions with The Salvation Army’s Southern California Social Services Division, Para Los Niños in Los Angeles, and John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles.
“I am honored to be a part of this wonderful organization,” says Dr. Garay, “with its rich history and mission to help women and children overcome the impact of domestic violence. I am ready to build on the phenomenal work that previous leaders have achieved at Sojourner Center and to make this organization a premiere model of women and children centered services. My vision is for Sojourner Center to step onto a national platform and share our best practices and lessons learned with domestic violence shelters throughout the country.”
Sojourner Center is the largest domestic violence shelter in Arizona and one of the largest in the country. The center operates three different campuses in the Phoenix area, with 144 shelter beds and 32 transitional apartments. Last year, it provided more than 54,138 nights of emergency shelter to more than 1,400 women and children. Dr. Garay’s focus for the organization will be creating a culture of performance that will be guided by their outcomes and successes. In addition, she is very passionate about forming meaningful partnerships throughout the Phoenix and Arizona community.
“We are very excited to have someone with María’s depth of knowledge and vision of excellence available to lead Sojourner,” shared Tere Camarena, president of the Sojourner Center’s Board of Directors. “She has tremendous passion and dedication in serving women and children affected by domestic violence and will be a strong leader as we continue in our mission of overcoming the impact of domestic violence, one life at a time.”