Sam, a Native Tucsonan, is a social worker with a passion for her hometown community. A Rincon High School graduate, Sam first attended the University of Arizona and later completed five Associate degrees through Pima Community College. Sam earned her Bachelor of Social Work with a Concentration in Public Administration through Arizona State University, graduating summa cum laude. Her education also includes several professional training and certifications related to Program Design and Evaluation, Crisis Intervention, Victim Rights, and Community Organization.
Sam brings a wide range of skills and experience to your Board of Directors. Serving as a social worker in the community for nearly 20 years primarily in the nonprofit sector, Sam began her career as a Sexual Assault Response Advocate with SACASA, providing crisis intervention to recent survivors. Sam continued her passion for crisis intervention by later supporting survivors of domestic violence with the local organization Emerge. In addition, she has extensive experience providing mental health services through many behavioral health agencies as well as serving our military in the mental health clinic on DMAFB. She has held a number of manager/director level positions.
A community organizer at heart, Sam has played an active role in a variety of community activist events such as Take Back the Night and Dine Out For Safety. Sam lives by the words “Well behaved women rarely make history”. In 2007, she was honored with the Vagina Warrior Award for her passion, efforts and dedication to ending violence against women. Sam also enjoys sharing her passion through teaching and has been certified as an instructor in First Aid CPR & AED, CPI Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, Article IX, and Prevention & Support.
In her free time, Sam enjoys spending time with her five children, ranging in age from 9 to 19 years old and likes to refer to them as her future army of social workers and activists. They often attend community protest events together. When they aren’t trying to change the world, Sam and her family also enjoy traveling and spending time in nature, where they feel the most connected to their Native roots. Both Sam and her children are musically inclined, participating in many performance arts including singing, dancing and acting; it’s not unusual to catch the whole family on their porch singing their own mashups for hours. Sam also enjoys gardening and animal rescue.
As President, Sam is committed to restoring the Tucson Pride organization to its intended purpose of supporting and strengthening the LGBTQIA+ community, while achieving sustainability and growth. Since her election to the role of President, Sam has pioneered a structured process of in depth analysis resulting in the completion of Tucson Pride’s first Strategic Plan. In addition, she has led the team in developing and implementing a variety of internal controls, standard operating procedures, and risk compliance strategies. Sam’s leadership style emphasizes team development as well as strengthening community relationships. Sam has played an instrumental role in refocusing the organization to truly embody the mission and vision of Tucson Pride.