Fresh Start Names Dr. Meka Allen Vice President of Social Services
By Brian O'Malley -
Wednesday Jul 27, 2022
Fresh Start Women’s Foundation has named Dr. Meka Allen as Vice President of Social Services in direct support of Fresh Start’s expansion of the social work department, establishment of the Watts Social Work Resource Center and growth of its Impact Program.
This promotion comes directly after Dr. Allen’s successful term as Director of Social Work where she helped triple Fresh Start’s client social work visits. In this same role, she also grew the department's capacity and competency through the strategic recruitment and engagement of experienced and dynamic full-time staff, dedicated volunteers, and innovative bachelor's and master's level social work interns.
As for the Impact Program, it is a science-based, evidence-informed model proven to disrupt intergenerational cycles of poverty. The program empowers women on the path to self-sufficiency by assessing and supporting them in five critical areas of their lives: family stability, health and well-being, financial literacy, education and careers.
During Meka’s time as Director of Social Work, the Army veteran and current adjunct Arizona State University professor, also helped grow Fresh Start’s presence in the Valley by developing protocols for upcoming satellite sites in Mesa, Surprise, and at UMOM New Day Centers.
“Meka’s promotion to vice president after just one year as director clearly reflects her quality leadership, innovation and drive to take Fresh Start to the next level,” said President and CEO of Fresh Start Kim McWaters. “We are confident in Meka’s ability to lead at the organizational level and are really excited to see how Meka and her team’s diverse experience, expertise and talent further advance our mission and provide even greater value to the women we empower.”
Her passion for the Fresh Start mission stems from her very own story. Over a decade ago, Fresh Start helped her gain her footing again after her divorce. After seeing first-hand, what Fresh Start could do for her, including helping her rediscover her self-confidence and successfully pursue a new career path, Dr. Allen decided she wanted to help others receive the same support that she did.
“As someone who has worked for Fresh Start and been a client, I truly know the difference Fresh Start makes in a woman’s life,” said Dr. Allen. “In my new role, I cannot wait to continue to help the social services team support women navigating life’s transitions and enable them to be heroes in their own lives as they achieve their goals and dreams.”
In her new role as vice president, and as a member of the executive leadership team, Dr. Allen will have functional oversight for social services and share organizational responsibility for shaping strategy, achieving results, developing people and teams as well as representing Fresh Start in the public in a variety of brand ambassador roles.
Additionally, she will oversee the development of relationships with Federal, State, and County reentry programs as part of an emerging Prison to Self Sufficiency program. She also chairs Fresh Start’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee introducing affinity groups and action steps towards enhancing culturally grounded service provision and work environment.