Margaret Leong Checca has been an active member of the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley for over 20 years and is a co-founder of our Women for Racial Justice Breakfast. She was formerly vice president, financial services for two real estate firms for many years and a CPA. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from CSU Los Angeles. Over the years she has taken on leadership roles as  board member, or chair of many organizations including Planned Parenthood of Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley,  Descanso Gardens, Cornerstone Theater Company, and Pacific Asia Museum. She was also the Interim Executive Director of the Pacific Asia Museum. She is currently on the Board of Directors of both YWCA Greater Los Angeles and USC Pacific Asia Museum.

Margaret has also long been a supporter of the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley as a volunteer. She has served in multiple committees, as a board member, and as board president. She and her husband Michael have been invaluable in driving donations for our Girls Empowerment programming. She also was a founding member of YWCA’s Founder’s Circle. 

She and her husband Michael have been  Pasadena residents for many years.


Denise Houlemard Jones is dedicated to public service and is very passionate about her community. Despite being sight impaired and having other health challenges and physical limitations, some of the organizations and projects for which she has taken leadership roles are the Pasadena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; City of Pasadena Northwest Commission; Community Health Alliance of Pasadena; Alkebu-lan Cultural Center; Pasadena Delta Foundation, Inc.; Pasadena MLK Community Coalition; and LaPintoresca Branch Library Associates. Mrs. Jones, who earned a B.S. degree in sociology and economics from UCLA in three years and a MBA degree in finance and management from USC, has also  volunteered for multiple organizations in the Pasadena community and has received numerous awards for her service to the community. These include Delta Leadership Award, Women In Action “Wind Beneath My Wings” Award and the YWCA Women of Excellence Award, the Altadena NAACP Social Justice Award, Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Judy Chu Congressional Woman of the Year Awards and Black History Parade Grand Marshall..

 In addition to a plethora of other community involvement, Denise has worked tirelessly for the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley for over 20 years. Jones has held many positions including member of board of directors, board secretary, and as the chair or member of multiple committees. She was also part of the team which created and distributed the Pledge For Humanity (now the Racial Justice Pledge). Denise’s greatest accomplishment at the YWCA was serving as the chair of 1st Women for Racial Justice Breakfast. She was a pivotal force in making this event a success.

 When she was not assisting those in need, she worked for many years as a manager in the corporate world, and an administrator in the college academics, and is now working as an independent contractor in the field of human resources, board development and grant writing. Mrs. Jones resides in Pasadena California with her husband, Troy Jones and has a daughter, Christina Bentley and a granddaughter, Kendall Bentley Dickerson.



Born in the Jim Crow South, Johari DeWitt-Rogers family moved to San Diego when she 13.   She went on to graduate high school and to attend Howard University where I received both Bachelors and Masters degrees.

 After starting her career at a high school where she assisted faculty in the development of instructional resources which were primarily photographic slides, she realized how much she preferred the academic calendar to the typical corporate calendar where there was no Spring Break nor Winter and Summer Break.

 After holding several jobs including working for the Pasadena-Foothill Valley YWCA as their public relations director, she began her career in academia at USC and later at Pasadena City College where she was Director of Media Services for 25 years before she retired. While at PCC, Johari was very active with The Association of Black Employees where she served as president twice and was also coordinator of the President’s African American Advisory Committee and the Black Heritage Room in Shatford Library which featured exhibits from Black history such as The Tuskegee Airmen.

During her years at PCC,  Johari was also an active volunteer with the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley serving on their Women for Racial Justice Breakfast Committee formany years and other committees as well. After retiring, she also became active with the Altadena NAACP where she was their education chair and fundraising chair for two years. In 2013, she joined All Saints Church where she became active with the Racial Justice Ministry and the Foster Care Program. Johari was also the lead writer in creating the Racial Justice Resolution which was adopted by All Saints Vestry in 2016. A component of the Resolution was the development of a Racial Justice Advisory Board to advise the Vestry on racial justice issues where she served as Founding Co-Chair of the Board from 2017-2019 and continue as a member of the Board. Fighting for racial justice is her passion which she says she will continue to be committed to for the rest of her life! 

She and her partner of 43 years Paul Rogers have two sons, Omari and Kofi, and a grandaughter, Kaitlyn Rose.



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