With a team of 13 full-time staff, a handful of consultants and a Washington, D.C.-based legislative advocate, CWDA plays an invaluable role in shaping human services policies and programs on the state and federal levels. Meet the team Advancing Human Services for the Welfare of All Californians.

925 L Street, Suite 350
Sacramento, CA 95814
Office: (916) 443-1749
Fax: (916) 443-3202

Cathy Senderling-McDonald
Executive Director

Cathy Senderling-McDonald was named Executive Director of CWDA effective January 1, 2021 – following the retirement of long-time Executive Director Frank Mecca.

In this role, she leads the association staff in working with the CWDA Board of Directors and partner organizations to promote legislative, budget and policy changes that improve human services programs and the delivery of those services.


Job Opportunities with CWDA

Human Services Policy Analyst/Senior Human Services Policy Analyst

CWDA is seeking a Human Services Policy Analyst. The Human Services Policy Analyst is responsible for a range of policy analysis, implementation, and advocacy activities, with an emphasis on the policy areas of child welfare and adult services.  

Please select the document link to see full position description and application information.

Position open until filled.


Eileen Cubanski
Deputy Executive Director

Eileen Cubanski joined CWDA as a Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst in 2009 and was promoted to Director of Budget and Fiscal Policy in January 2019. Eileen serves as CWDA’s lead budget and fiscal staff, working with county and state staff to conduct fiscal analyses on county human services issues and develop methodologies for distribution of more than $5 billion in state and local realignment funding. 


Diana Boyer
Director of Policy for Child Welfare and Older Adult Services

Diana Boyer joined CWDA in 2005 as a Senior Policy Analyst and was promoted to Director of Policy for Child Welfare and OIder Adult Services in January 2019. Diana specializes in the program areas of In-Home Supportive Services, Adult Protective Services, Child Welfare, and Foster Care.


Kristen Davis
Fiscal Policy Analyst

Kristen Davis joined CWDA as a Fiscal Policy Analyst in 2019, working with county and state staff to conduct fiscal analyses on county human services issues and develop methodologies for distribution of more than $5 billion in state and local realignment funding.


Grace Gomes
Liaison, CMIPS II Project

Grace Gomes joined CWDA as the CMIPS Project Liaison in 2014 and works with the state, counties and CMIPS Project Office to ensure counties’ needs are represented during the Maintenance and Operations Phase of CMIPS. Grace joined the CMIPS Project early on as a county representative during the initial procurement and design, development and implementation stages of CMIPS.


Paula Villescaz
Director of Legislative Advocacy

Paula Villescaz joined CWDA as Director of Legislative Advocacy in May 2021. In addition to overseeing CWDA’s legislative policy and advocacy, Paula also serves as one of CWDA’s federal liaisons. She has expertise in emergency response and disaster preparedness, response and recovery, and also helms this area for the association.


Jenny Nguyen
Senior Self-Sufficiency Policy Analyst

Jenny Nguyen joined CWDA as Senior Self-Sufficiency Policy Analyst in December 2020, specializing in the program areas of healthcare and nutrition.  

Prior to joining CWDA, Jenny served as a Staff Finance Budget Analyst in health, human services, and general government programs at the California Department of Finance.

She began her career as a Capital Fellow at the California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity.


Traci Metcalf
Executive Assistant

Traci Metcalf joined the CWDA team in March 2019 as an Executive Assistant, performing senior-level professional and administrative work in support of the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director, as well as CWDA board members and staff.


Eric Nielson
Executive Liaison, CalHEERS Project

Eric Nielson is the CWDA Executive Liaison with the California Health Eligibility Enrollment Retention System (CalHEERS) project.  He represents the 58 County Human Services agencies, their business requirements and system needs at the CalHEERS project.


Theresa Peña
Senior Self Sufficiency Analyst

Theresa Peña joined CWDA as Senior Human Services Policy Analyst in March 2019, focusing on the program areas of In-Home Supportive Services, Adult Protective Services, Child Welfare, and Foster Care.

Prior to joining CWDA, Theresa 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 Legislative Aide in the California State Assembly. She began her career in the State Capitol as a Senate Fellow.


Christiana Smith
Director of Information Technology Policy

Christiana Smith joined CWDA as the Information Technology Associate in 2014, and was promoted to Director of Information Technology Policy in January 2019. Christiana works with the state, counties, and automation projects to ensure counties’ needs are represented in developing and maintaining systems that support the work of county human services staff.


Missy Talbot

Missy Talbot joined the CWDA team in January 2020 as a receptionist, focusing on administrative work supporting the Executive Assistant and CWDA directors.

Prior to joining CWDA, Missy worked in the customer service industry while earning her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Humanities from California State University in Monterey Bay. After graduation, she moved to Limerick, Ireland, where she received her Master’s in Creative Writing.

916-443-1749 Ext. 211


Weston Tountas
Legislative Assistant

Weston Tountas joined the CWDA team in January 2020 as a legislative assistant, supporting CWDA Directors and the CWDA Legislative Committee.  

Prior to joining CWDA, Weston worked for the American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), as a legislative writer. He earned a B.A. in History from Bard College in 2018.

916-443-1749 Ext. 216


Tom Joseph
Director, Washington, D.C. Office

Tom Joseph is Vice President of Paragon Government Relations, heading up the firm’s health and human services practice and overseeing various aspects of the firm’s operations. His lobbying expertise, experience, and knowledge are reflected in an impressive 30-plus year history representing local governments.