We are so very proud to announce that our Peer Services Manager, Mary Martinez, has won the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence’s (CPEDV) Emerging Leader Award. The award is meant to go to someone who has worked or volunteered in the domestic violence movement for at least three years and is a person who makes a positive influence in the field through either informal or formal leadership roles. Winning this award also shows that the Mary demonstrates leadership skills in her team, organization, community, and region.
After completing her B.A. in Sociology at San Francisco State, Mary Martinez wanted a meaningful career that spoke to her interest in the intersection between systems of oppression and domestic violence. In 2008, Mary began work at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. as a volunteer, dedicating hundreds of hours supporting survivors on the support line via peer counseling, safety planning, and resource help. Mary later moved into the position of Crisis Line Supervisor where she oversaw the general operation of the 24-hour support line, which includes training and supporting dedicated volunteers. Mary understands that working the 24-hour support line can be challenging and emotionally draining, yet she also recognizes that W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s support line is, many times, the first outlet a survivor uses to speak out about their abusive situation, and allowing them that space to process is extremely powerful. She looks forward to working with volunteers and teaching them the tools they will need to become great peer counselors and quite possibly the next generation of domestic violence leaders.
She also oversees the Children’s Program which incorporates ‘A Window between Worlds’ art workshops to help children build self-esteem and personal power after witnessing domestic violence at home. Check out ‘A Window Between Worlds Art Project‘ she created to express her understanding of power dynamics.
Since 2010, Mary has been the Peer Support Service Manager at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. She is also currently a part of the Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program, a state-wide program for domestic violence managers and mid-managers. Upon her acceptance, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteers interviewed her about her acceptance and this is what Mary had to say:
“As someone who gets excited over the smallest things, being accepted into Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program was over the ‘Sound of Music’ mountains excitement for me! I was surprised when I found out I was one of twenty individuals picked amongst 60 applicants because of my tendency to be a little hard on myself, and I heard the other applications were really strong. But, being notified of the exciting news was some good validation for myself. I can’t wait to connect with the others from Cohort 3 and develop some skills on how to be an effective leader not only at W.O.M.A.N., Inc., but in the anti-domestic violence community!”
Mary understands fully how emotionally challenging domestic violence work can be, and one of the things Mary values most about working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is that despite a variety of challenges, their team makes sure to bring humor wherever necessary and appropriate. As an emerging leader, Mary also understands the importance of self-care and strives to make it a point to have boundaries between work and personal time as well as to teach others in the field to do so, as well. For Mary, personal time means living in the city that she loves, San Francisco, where there is always something affordable to do, and being an avid drag, and more specifically, San Francisco drag enthusiast who has a deep admiration for Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor.