First 5 Mendocino Welcomes New Executive Director

Townley Saye, new ED at First 5 Mendocino

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 3, 2022

Contact: Megan Carson, Community Education Manager 
(707) 367.6971 | first5@mendochildren.org

First 5 Welcomes Back Townley Saye as Executive Director

First 5 Mendocino says, “Welcome back!” to Townley Saye as she steps into her new role as executive director. Having worked at First 5 Mendocino from 2012-2018 as a program manager and a Triple P facilitator, Townley comes full circle.   
 
“I really loved my time working at First 5 and am excited to be back. In my previous roles at First 5, it was discouraging–sometimes heartbreaking–to meet with families who were struggling to navigate county services. Even when I could make some small difference for one person or family, I wanted to do more. I yearned to make a difference on a systemic level; I wanted to help as many families as possible,” Townley explained.  
 
Fueled with a passion to improve these systems of care, she acquired her master’s degree in Social Work and left Mendocino County to work for the State of California, implementing system improvement plans for at-risk children.   
 
“My biggest take-away from working in the state system is the realization of how powerful the voice of the stakeholder is,” Townley expressed. “Every family has a voice in how they should be treated and cared for. It is through this collective voice that improvements to policy and legislation are made. My goal in returning to Mendocino County is to elevate those voices to enrich partner collaboration, create family-friendly policies, and enhance the inherent resiliency of families and children across the county.”    
 
Townley’s formal education in social work, her tenure at the State, and her lived experiences serving families in Mendocino County will aid her ability to lead First 5 Mendocino’s efforts in reaching the goals identified in its new strategic plan.   
 
First 5 Mendocino Business Manager Jenna Flesch worked with Townley in her prior First 5 roles and expressed optimism about the shift to Townley as the new executive director. “While we are sad at the departure of [our previous executive director,] Julie Fetherston, we are thrilled to have Townley coming back to First 5 Mendocino. Townley has key relationships already built with partners and agencies that will help us move forward in new ways with the services we’re able to offer our community. She understands how to affect change with policies and systems, and I feel confident in her ability to take the baton from Julie and make this a smooth transition as we move forward.”  
 
In her free time, Townley enjoys nature walks with her children and partner, dancing to live music, watching Studio Ghibli films, and sharing laughs with friends and family. “We are excited to welcome her back to Mendocino County and to our team,” Flesch said. 

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