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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.


Judy Brown is a third generation native Californian, product of a military family, and a 35 year resident of Pasadena.  Following stints as a flight attendant, banker and grantmaking foundation administrator, she shifted focus to full-time mom of three and volunteer, ranging from Brownie/Girl Scout/Cub Scout leader and room parent to non-profit boards.  Over the years, these have included over 20 years of involvement with Mothers’ Club/Families Forward Learning Center, the Art Center 100 Executive Board and Descanso Gardens in a variety of volunteer capacities while her husband David was the Executive Director. 


Judy’s involvement with the YWCA Pasadena Foothill Valley began when she joined the board in 1994, serving as Secretary, Vice President and President during the years in which the organization left the Julia Morgan building, launched basketball for girls and shifted its focus from crisis intervention to prevention and a concentration on young women and girls. Beginning in 1998 she participated in a radical restructuring of the governance of the national YWCA, representing the Pacific Region as a founding member of the national board of dicrectors, including one year as Vice Chair. That work included creation of the national brand that stands today as well as development of new board policies, procedures and governance manuals, and a national marketing and communications campaign.


In 2006, this accumulated nonprofit experience led to a consulting practice offering governance and organizational support to nonprofit boards, including corporate secretarial services, board liaison, governance counseling and special project management. Clients have included Mothers’ Club, Women at Work, Descanso Gardens, The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, Center for the Arts Eagle Rock and 15 years with Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley.  She squeezes work around being Grammy to Jackson (9), Zoey (7), Evangeline (5) and Cassidy (3).  Judy has a BA from College of Notre Dame in the Bay Area and, at 74, she counts herself a proud life-long feminist and advocate for health equity and reproductive justice for all women.


Edith Grady is an Easterner who graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD, lived in New York City in the 1950s (where she met her husband Charles), and then settled in San Marino with Charles and her family more than 55 years ago.  The mother of a son and two daughters, she did many youth-focused volunteer activities in her early mothering years:  PTA, Little League, Brownies and Girl Scouts. She then became a very active MS Society volunteer when her husband learned that he had multiple sclerosis. She devoted herself so much to that cause that she became a professional employee of the Southern California Chapter of the MS Society for over 20 years, ultimately becoming the Deputy Director of the Chapter. She organized and oversaw numerous large-scale fundraising and patient services programs for the Chapter. She retired from the Chapter in 1993, but that was by far not the end of her active career in the community.


Edith became a Pasadena YWCA Board member very early in the 1990's and was President of the Board from 1994-96. At that time, the historic Julia Morgan building was sold; that necessitated closing down the also historic Wise Penny Thrift Shop. While these were sad times, this decision was a financially sound move. The YWCA opened an office at Walnut and Lake that enabled them  to continue the work of the Rape Crisis Center and produce new programs like Just for Girls. Throughout her years on the board, Edith devoted much time to bringing other community groups into the YWCA Week Without Violence and finding new, young, and diverse leadership.


Edith has also been a very active Pasadena Unified School District volunteer, a member of the PUSD Partners in Education (PIE) Advisory Committee, chaired PIE’s Volunteering Action Team which helped to recruit, train and place school district volunteers, and for many years was a volunteer tutor at Altadena Elementary School.


She is now living at the Villa Gardens Retirement Community in Pasadena




Rebecca Medina was dedicated to her community. Born of immigrant parents she is a first generation college graduate from Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in Psychology. She continued her education and received her Masters of Social work at the University of Southern California in 1998. During her professional career, Rebecca began working with children's services as a domestic violence crisis intervention specialist focusing on reducing the effects of domestic violence on children. Rebecca managed a crisis respite residential intervention program where she worked with sibling groups and medically fragile babies coordinating services with DCFS and DMH Wraparound services.  She was also a member of the National Association of Social Workers. 


Her impact continued in the community by developing partnerships with landlords to secure housing for adults with mental illness. Later, she would transition into administration to continue to improve child welfare at Casey Family Programs and the Los Angeles Unified School district. She advocated for children with special needs, high risk youth and children in foster care. She successfully impacted improvements in child welfare outcomes within LA County, Austin, Georgia and Rhode Island to ensure improved permanency outcomes for youth in foster care.  


She also had a private consulting practice where she helped provide clinical assessments and therapy to the underserved.  

Rebecca was a relentless community leader, serving as Vice Chair on the Commission for the Status of Women, served Racial Justice Committee at the YWCA Pasadena as chair and as a member, and as a Board Member from 2010 to 2011 and 2015 until her death in 2020. She also volunteered at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Gilda's Club,  Mt Sinai Hospital, and at PPSC Pasadena Unified School District. She was also an Active Volunteer Leader for Friendship Bridge which is an organization that is dedicated to advocacy, fundraising, education related to micro-lending to women in rural Guatemala.  

Rebecca lived in Pasadena with her 8 year old daughter Emma. 

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