Corporate Training Blog

An Interview with Torrie Taj of Child Crisis Arizona

Torrie Taj, Child Crisis Arizona
Torrie Taj serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Child Crisis Arizona and is a guest presenter at the Fall 2017 Leadership Boot Camp.

Torrie is a passionate and dedicated professional with more than 25 years in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy. Driven by meaningful work, she has dedicated her professional life to bettering the community through strategic partnerships and connecting resources to those in need. As CEO of Child Crisis Arizona (CCA), Torrie provides support and leadership to talented staff to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect, creating strong families and safe kids. Torrie started her career in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer in 1991 and worked her way up, overseeing a variety of human-service programs before heading to lead CCA in 2015. Torrie encourages all her staff to give back through volunteer work in the community. Leading by example, Torrie enthusiastically serves on the Board of Association of Fundraising Professionals, is a current volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and teaches at ASU, her alma mater . . . Go Devils! For fun, Torrie loves spending time with her three children, enjoys gardening, and loves, loves, loves to travel!

Please tell me your story. How did you get your start?

In my last semester at ASU, I was interested in finding meaningful work at a nonprofit organization. I found a full-time role at Girls Residential Treatment Center (now called A New Leaf). For 3 years, I worked in various roles. I discovered my strengths were connecting people and building processes. I moved into administrative roles where I focused on fundraising, marketing, and process improvements. During my 23 years in the organization, we grew from 50 employees to 250 and started several new initiatives including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and affordable housing for low income families. Two years ago, I was recruited into Child Crisis Arizona as their CEO. 

What are your three leadership principles that have contributed to your success?

  • Positive attitude and open to change
  • Hardwork
  • Strong work ethic

To continuously develop our organizational culture around the principles I strongly believe, I model the behavior by demonstrating that it is okay to take risks, that we are open to change, and are transparent about our goals.

What are your favorite questions to ask those you lead?

I approach everything from a position of strength and will find the silver lining. My questions reflect that attitude: What is the opportunity in this? What can we do differently? My two acronyms I like to use are WWW (What Went Well) and EBI (Even Better It).

What are the keys to developing the next generation of leaders?

  • Encourage supervisors to be direct with their feedback. Provide one-on-one feedback in the moment, not 3 months later or in an annual performance appraisal. By building a culture that allows them to openly share and receive feedback, employees and supervisors have the opportunity to explain their decision-making process.
  • Provide professional development to your employees, specifically your high performers, through training, conferences and other development opportunities.

What do you do to break away from the everyday hustle of work?

I am a big sister with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America organization. I enjoy cooking and gardening with my little sister. I also participate in Zumba classes three times a week, which allows me to focus on something completely different from my professional world. I make sure to take family vacation time to travel with my three children and spend time with my boyfriend, who is also my best friend.

Torrie Taj presented at the MCOR Leadership Boot Camp on the topic of ‘Empowering an Unstoppable Team’.


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