A Farewell to Cathy
I’m writing to announce that after 33 years at Peace Over Violence, our Associate Director Cathy Friedman is retiring at the end of this month. The big change that we knew would happen someday is here.
POV has had the luxury and privilege of having Cathy Friedman work with us for decades and shape and grow it into the organization it is today.
Cathy is one of my closest associates and one of the original and integral builders of Peace Over Violence. Like many of us here at POV, Cathy first started as a volunteer back in 1986, and soon after was hired on as staff. The agency grew and expanded and in 1994, she became the Associate Director.
When I first hired Cathy, we had a staff of 7 people and a budget of 500,000. Now as she is departing, we have a staff of 65 and a budget of 5 million dollars. Quite a testament to steady and strategic growth!
Over the years, Cathy has brought her extraordinary writing talents and shared her calm and strong presence with everyone she has interacted with. Through her time creating budgets, developing programs and staff, moving offices, our name change, rebranding, and more, Cathy has remained steady and committed to our work and our field. She is an “I’ll do it” kind of person - always willing to help and work things out. She is a problem solver! She also has amazing focus and attention to detail. As a strategic thinker and grant writer, Cathy has benefited our programmatic growth enormously and her responsibility as CFO has helped us have clean audits every year. A famous story: when she was pregnant and went into labor in the middle of writing a grant, I had to rush the grant to the hospital so we could finish it just before she gave birth to her first child, Veronica. That is commitment! And by the way, the grant was funded!
One of Cathy’s most generous gifts to POV and to me personally has been to give a long lead time in planning for her departure and for us to conduct a thoughtful succession plan. She previewed me first, which allowed me the time to make my personal adjustment to this change. I’ve known for over a year that she would be leaving which meant we have had time to adjust and plan this transition together. We’ve been able to reorganize and stabilize the organization so that her legacy is intact.
I’m happy to announce we have a new Director of Grants and Compliance, Juliana Ferry, and a fairly new Chief Financial Officer, Vincent Gomis. We have also promoted Yvette Lozano into the position of Chief Program and Operating Officer. We have compiled a strong and capable team and I along with our Board of Directors feel confident with where the organization is and where we are going.
Cathy’s retirement is not at all a cliche’d retirement. She will continue to do wonderful and meaningful things with her time and life; she is pursuing her interest in gardening, art, travel, and she is teaching courses in both violence prevention and grant writing at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. AND she has promised not to go too far from POV and the people that love her (and are used to her)! In Cathy’s honor, we are retiring the title Associate Director and creating the title Associate Director Emeritus. She will be a new Advisory Board member and continue to be an asset and resource to POV and to me personally.
When asked why she has been at POV for this long, Cathy said: “I’ve always been given opportunities to learn and create and seek new programmatic and policy solutions - and that has kept me energized and interested.”
Through all of this, I still can’t believe I am losing my work wife! Cathy and I have worked together for decades now, and together with others we built this organization and have created a strong foundation for continued growth. Cathy’s legacy is strong and hopefully we will all make her proud as the organization continues to grow. We will miss her greatly - but we know where to find her :)