Valley Family Center welcomes our new Executive Director Lorena Villalba, LMFT. Six years ago, Gary Bessler, Valley Family Center’s Executive Director advised the Valley Family Center Board of Directors that he planned to retire in June of 2020 after 25 years of dedicated service to the Center, 8 of those years as the Executive Director. After some deliberation the Board approached Lorena Villalba, LMFT, the Center’s Director of Clinical Services, with an offer to train her to become the new Executive Director in June of 2020 after Gary’s retirement. Lorena, a 17 year employee of Valley Family Center, then began the process of learning the Executive Director role by shadowing Gary, becoming a member of the Board of Directors, and attending weekly administration meetings with the Executive Director and Development Director. The slow transition process moved forward as planned for five years. Then COVID happened.
In June of 2020, Gary realized that the middle of a global pandemic was not the preferred time for a successful leadership transition. He agreed to continue as Executive Director until July of 2021 in order to maintain stability for the organization during an uncertain time. Beginning in April of 2021 Gary and Lorena have been leading Valley Family Center together, with daily trainings and meetings to ensure that the transition continues in a smooth and orderly process. Gary will end his tenure at VFC at the end of July 2021. We are so excited to see the exciting places Valley Family Center will go under Lorena’s leadership!