Press release

The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) today announced three key staffing changes, filling out a leadership team led by Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald.

  • Eileen Cubanski has been promoted to Deputy Executive Director, stepping into the role Senderling-McDonald held before becoming Executive Director in January of this year. Cubanski joined CWDA in 2009, bringing with her 15 years of state budget experience she earned as the California Senate Budget Committee Consultant for social services programs, Assistant Secretary for Program and Fiscal Affairs at the California Health and Human Services Agency, and a principal at the California Department of Finance. In 2019, she was named CWDA’s Director of Budget and Fiscal Policy, a position she will continue to fulfill in her new role.   
  • Paula Villescaz joins CWDA today to fill the newly created role of Director of Legislative Advocacy. Villescaz comes to CWDA from the California Health and Human Services Agency, where she served as Assistant Secretary for Program and Fiscal Affairs since 2018. An accomplished expert in Medi-Cal and safety net programs, as well as emergency and disaster response, Villescaz previously served five years as Principal Consultant for the Assembly Health Committee and advised several legislators.
  • Theresa Peña, CWDA’s Senior Human Services Policy Analyst since 2019 working in the area of children’s and older adults’ issues, has transitioned into a new role as Senior Self Sufficiency Analyst, where she will staff CWDA’s policy and budget advocacy in the areas of CalWORKs, child care, and housing. Prior to joining CWDA, Peña served as a Consultant to the California State Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee for health and human services programs, a Budget Analyst in health and human services programs at the California Department of Finance, and a staff member in the state legislature.

Cubanski and Peña began their new roles at CWDA as of May 1.

“I am tremendously proud of the team CWDA has assembled to lead our bold policy agenda forward. Eileen Cubanski, Paula Villescaz, and Theresa Peña bring outstanding policy, budget expertise and leadership experience to their new roles,” Senderling-McDonald said. “The human services programs our member agencies deliver have never been more important as California looks toward recovery from COVID-19, a deep economic recession and a year of traumatic violence that exposed the harms of deep structural racism and inequality in our state and nationwide.

“I look forward to working with Eileen, Paula, Theresa, and the rest of CWDA’s unrivaled team of human services analysts and advocates to combat poverty and inequality, address the harms of systemic racism and injustice, and improve the well-being of the children, families and Californians served by our members.”