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    My Journey Doesn’t End Here…Casa Pacifica’s CEO

    Editors Note:  The Board of Directors has asked Steve to stay part-time for another year as CEO Emeritus to assist with the transition to our new Chief Executive Officer Shawna Morris.

    Dear Friend,

    Steven Elson, Ph.D

    This is my last week as Casa Pacifica’s CEO.   It has been an incredible journey.  I am not going to recount the many ups and downs that are packed into these 26 years – a Pacific Coast Business Times 25th Anniversary Legacy Book is coming out soon that details our twenty-five-year history. 

    What I can tell you is that I have been fortunate to have had a role in helping so many thousands of children and youth – many having experienced horrific trauma, many more coming to us with shattered lives.   Whether they were with us for a season or two, we touched their lives in substantial and healing ways.  For most we know that without our help their life trajectory would have been so different.  For many their transition into adult life included the tools they needed to succeed.  No child we have ever helped is a failure.  They leave us knowing we loved them and did everything we could to help them.  The two things we hear most often from our alums is that they now realize how important Casa Pacifica was and how they wished they treated those who cared for them differently.    

    I have been so honored to be part of this great enterprise.  Our founders had the foresight, energy and gravitas to make Casa Pacifica happen and, though not yet open, Casa Pacifica was the cause celeb in this community when I joined.   Stepping into this role was such a privilege.  And, over the years, the caliber and enthusiastic encouragement of the Board, the Angels and Amigos, our County partners and all our supporters was and is remarkable.    

    In these two-and-a-half decades, I have been blessed to work with an amazing group of talented, skilled and dedicated staff who have helped shape our programs and services and whose belief in our children, young adults and families inspire me and keep me grounded.  They have both the skill and the heart that make this extraordinary enterprise work.  They have made possible opportunities that have propelled us into a state-wide, national, and even international agency that others look to for cutting-edge training and treatment interventions.  Without a doubt, we have “punched above our weight.”  I count it among my most treasured accomplishments that I have had a hand in helping launch the professional careers of so many who have gone on to take leadership roles in both the public and private sector. 

    Several years ago, I had the opportunity to sit with a life coach who helped me trace the trajectory of my life and identify milestones in my journey that shaped me.  Among the more profound experiences was growing up in a children’s home in Arkansas.  Out of that exercise came a mission statement that captures my life purpose.  It has the tagline – “bringing people home.”  I am blessed to have had my role at Casa Pacifica be the vehicle to actualize that personal mission. 

    On Monday we welcome our new CEO, Shawna Morris.  We are lucky to have her.  You will like her.  She brings new energy, a wealth of professional experiences, a fresh perspective, and a big heart.  With your support and her leadership, Casa Pacifica is poised to gain new heights as we begin the next 25 years together. 


    Steven Elson, Ph.D.
    Chief Executive Officer

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