Board Members

As mature experienced women in the community, we have a desire to share our life’s journeys with adolescent girls. We feel that it is our responsibility to equip them with skills that will allow them to make positive decisions in their lives. We are committed to doing this not just with disciplines, but by life example.

  • Yolanda Pruitt

    Yolanda Pruitt has been a promoter of women’s rights as early as Junior High School in Los Angeles, California, where she successfully changed school policy for young ladies. Helping women better their lives is her passion. In 1974 she received a full scholarship and attended Loyola Marymount University in Southern California, where she studied psychology. In 2010 she returned to school and received a degree in Arts and Humanities with Honors, from Monterey Peninsula College, a BS in Collaborate Health and Human Services with a concentration in Public Administration with Distinction in her major. She is now continuing her education at the University of San Diego, in pursuit of her Masters degree in Nonprofit Leadership Management. She was also member of Leadership Monterey Peninsula, class of 2015. Yolanda has been involved with teen groups and homeless shelters for women for several years on the Monterey County Peninsula. She is also an advocate for the under-served communities. For an extended length of time she has worked to make a difference in the lives of young ladies, by helping them discover their self-worth and acquire skills that will improve the quality of their lives. In 2010 she founded Ladies First a nonprofit organization; a mentoring program for adolescent teen girls. In addition to being the Founder of Ladies First, some of the projects that she has successfully worked on are: Coordinating fundraisers for community members with financial challenges, facilitated a workshop for the NAACP Youth Summit, worked on the committee for political awareness, worked with Environmental Justice on environmental safety issues, presented motivational seminars for Hamilton House women’s shelter along with helping with several community food distributions. She is also a member of the NAACP, and sits on the Education committee.
    Salinas, CA
  • Vanessa Littleton

    Board chair
    Dr. Vanessa Littleton is an Assistant Professor at California State University Monterey Bay in the Department of Health, Human Services and Public Policy. With more than two decades of public sector experience, Dr. Littleton is dedicated to the equitable delivery of public services to disadvantaged populations. As a recipient of the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, Dr. Littleton graduated from the University of Central Florida with a PhD in Public Affairs with an emphasis in health services management and research. While matriculating, she conducted community-based research, developed policy recommendations, served as president of the PhD Student Association, and was the editor of the Public Affairs Review. Prior to graduating, Dr. Littleton participated in a study abroad program to Seoul, South Korea, where she studied public management and learned about Seoul’s innovative approaches to public management. Dr. Littleton has extensive experience in non-profit management, community engagement, and public policy. Her areas of specialty include the following: strategic planning, program evaluation, logic model development, qualitative and quantitative analysis, community health impact assessments, structural equation modeling, geographic information systems (GIS) mapping, board development, and employee training. Her primary research interests include racial and ethnic health disparities, social equity and cultural competence. In addition to her doctoral degree, Dr. Littleton holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Northwestern State University. Dr. Littleton is a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society and the American Society of Public Administration. She is the proud mother of Peter Lopez II (U.S. Air Force, veteran), Marcus Lopez (U.S Army, veteran), and Camryn Littleton (Monterey County Public Schools, student).
  • Annalisa Mitchell

    Executive Director
    Annalisa Mitchell has earned several degrees and certifications. Among them are: B.A. Criminal Justice, A.A. Child Development, and Administrative Justice, Licensed Substance Abuse Specialist and Clinical Supervisor; Certification for Domestic Violence, and now serves as the Director of Behavior Modification Program at Correctional Training Facility. She also works as DUI facilitator at Sun Street Center. Annalisa was also awarded counselor of the year for the State of California. Annalisa has a passion to guide underrepresented youth in her community, ensuring that we are very much interested in them and that they know they are vital to us. She believes in always considering the rights of others before her own feelings. Annalisa is purposed to make a difference. In her role as Board Chair she conducts meetings, oversees governance and programs, and budget in conjunction with Founding Executive Director. Statement: Ladies First the best investment we can make for the future. Instilling in our young women, to believe in themselves and they can achieve unbelievable things.
    Seaside, CA
  • Joy Rubey

    Joy Rubey joined the board of Ladies First in the summer of 2017. She brings with her over 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, having served as a board member, a service volunteer, executive staff, grant writer, and trainer for a wide range of nonprofit organizations dedicated to the arts, education, recreation, public health and social services. Between 1997 and 2004 Joy was self-employed as a fundraiser and organizational development consultant, working with numerous public and nonprofit organizations and coalitions across the Monterey Bay region. She has been a Lecturer in Nonprofit Management at California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) since 2004, and also periodically leads workshops for the Center for Nonprofit Excellence of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. ​ Joy served as the Executive Director of the Monterey County AIDS project from 1988 to 1997, and as the Director of Administrative Services and Interim Executive Director for the Mid-Peninsula Support Network for Battered Women from 1986 to 1988. She was Program Developer for Manteca Community Action Programs and Services – an academic and life-skills training program for developmentally disabled adults – from 1980 to 1984. Joy is passionate about social justice, and is committed to creating a world where people of all races, faiths, nationalities, abilities, and gender identities are treated with respect and dignity, where difference is an opportunity not an obstacle. In addition to wanting to support the organization’s founder Yolanda Pruitt (a student of hers at CSUMB), Joy joined Ladies First because she wanted to help ensure that girls and young women of color in Monterey County have the chance to grow and develop in healthy ways, to learn about their options, to explore their interests, and to discover their own potential.​
    salinas, CA
  • Patricia McFadden

    Dr. Patricia McFadden is a Management Analyst II with the Monterey County Health Department, Public Health Bureau. Dr. McFadden graduated from Capella University with a PhD in Public Service Leadership with an emphasis on leadership communication and employee impact. She began her professional career of over 29 years as a Speech Pathologist working in the Public Schools in Northern Georgia. Dr. McFadden moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1988 and continued working in the public sector as a Coordinator in Santa Clara Adult Education. During her tenure with Santa Clara Adult Education, she began her grant writing and continued grant writing as she began working as an Executive Director of various nonprofits throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey County for over 19 years. Dr. McFadden has served as Co-chair of the California State Medi-Cal Administrative Activities and Targeted Case Management Consortium, Editor of California Alliance of Information & Referral Services Newsletter, Co-Chair of Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority’s Disability/Seniors Committee for Transit, Chair of the Monterey County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Member of Community Action Partnership Collaborative of Monterey-Peninsula, YWCA Pacific Region Board of Directors, and San Jose Homeless Advocacy Alliance. Dr. McFadden has 20 years of experience of board development, strategic planning/restructuring, mentoring of youth and career guidance, grant writing, ethics in leadership, creating multidisciplinary work teams, budgeting, program evaluation, change management, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and case management. She received her B.S. in Speech Pathology from Alabama A. & M. University and M.A. in Speech/Pathology with emphasis on Communications from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is happily married to her husband, Michael for over 12 years and she currently serves with her husband who is Pastor of House of Prayer Ministries of Monterey Peninsula since January 2016. She is a strong advocate for giving back to the community and committed to sharing information that would promote partnerships.