Our Executive Staff
Arne Croce, Executive Director
Arne Croce has more than 35 years of experience in local government management in six communities. He was city manager of San Mateo California for 18 years, and was city manager of Los Altos California. Since leaving San Mateo in 2008, Arne has worked with the local government consulting firm Management Partners, performed international assignments in Iraq and Kosovo, and served as interim city manager for the city of Bell, CA, following that city’s corruption scandal.
Arne has been a trainer, facilitator and speaker for public agencies, associations and universities on topics including leadership, increasing management capability, managing change, communication skills, reinventing government, and developing public private partnerships. He received a Distinguished Service Award from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) in 2012 and was recognized as City Manager of the Year in 2006 by the California City Management Foundation.
Arne has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University Sacramento.
Heather Cleary, Chief Financial Officer
A San Mateo resident, Heather comes to the organization from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, where she served as controller and director of donor services.
In her role, Heather is responsible for financial operations and management, as well as the organization’s infrastructure, including fiscal planning, accounting and payroll operations, financial reporting and control, and risk management. Heather supervises building operations and office management staff, and the organization’s information technology maintenance and development.
Heather received her degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California. Even in her downtime Heather uses her analytical and organizational skills to teach financial literacy for different community programs and volunteers as a part of the CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) for San Mateo.
Kathleen Espino, Director Human Resources
Kathleen Espino joined Peninsula Family Service in 2012. As the Director of Human Resources she is responsible for the overall provision of Human Resources services, policies, and programs, as well as the overall day-to-day department administration. She is an operational and strategic business partner to the management of Peninsula Family Service. In her role she helps with recruiting and staffing, is a liaison for employees, and is a key player in helping with organizational development and transformational work.
As a Bay Area professional with 20 years of human resource experience in non-profit and for-profit organizations, start-ups, and high-tech companies, Kathleen’s broad knowledge and experience brings diversity and value to the organization. She has achieved certifications in various principles of Human Resources and attended the University of Phoenix in Business Administration.
Kathleen’s passion is to give back to the community by participating in various types of half-marathons for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and by helping to raise money for children’s education through fundraising events. She has helped in a variety of community service projects and is also a member of the Rotary.
Marie Fox, Development Director
Marie joined Peninsula Family Service on July 1, 2013. Marie’s professional development experience spans nearly 30-years in grassroots, educational, and international organizations. Most recently Fox was the Director of Development at the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy where she combined her love and passion for horses with her fundraising talents. Marie says, “When I’m not working, I’m riding horses.”
Prior to joining the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy, Marie was the Executive Director of Foothill and DeAnza Community College Foundation where she increased donor giving from $2.4 to $5.2 million. From 1998 to 2004, Fox was Vice-President of Development for ReSurge International (formerly Interplast), a non-profit organization that provides reconstructive surgeries to needy children in developing countries. While at ReSurge, Fox raised $3 million annually funded entirely from private sources. Prior to ReSurge, Fox served as Associate Director of Development for Stanford University Medical Center where she was instrumental in raising $89 million for a state-of-the-art Center for Clinical Sciences Research.
Marie holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work and Psychology from San Francisco State University and conducted her graduate studies in social work at Uppsala University – Uppsala, Sweden. She was born and raised in Redwood City and is a member of the San Mateo County Horseman’s Association.
Susan Houston, Director, Older Adult Services
As Director of Older Adult Services, Susan oversees the operation of six programs at Family Service and at the Fair Oaks Intergenerational Senior Center. She is a founding member and former president of Northern California’s Forum on Older Workers. She is involved in California’s Coalition for Older Working Women, San Mateo County’s Fall Prevention Program, the Steering Committee of the New Beginnings Coalition, and is a participating partner in Peninsula Works. A native of Denver, Colorado, Susan joined Family Service’s team in 1984. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both Social Work and Spanish from Chico State and has spent extensive time working with people with disabilities. Susan authored a weekly syndicated newspaper column called “Senior Savvy”, and was the 2006 recipient of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and Commission on Disabilities “People Who Care Award”.
Rob Lajoie, Director of Financial Empowerment
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Rob joined Peninsula Family Service at the beginning of 2012 after spending over 30 years in the financial services sector. During his financial services career at four local credit unions, Rob’s responsibilities included operations, lending and the delivery of affordable and high quality services to their members. In his current role, Rob oversees the Financial Empowerment Program, which offers job training and a variety of financial services to help hard-working families and individuals achieve and maintain financial self-sufficiency. Outside of work, he continues his community involvement by serving as co-chair of the Luminaria sub-committee for the American Cancer Society’s Pleasanton Relay for Life, and he has been a Kainos sponsor for the past 13 years. Rob received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from San Jose State University.
Christy Rodgers, Director of Early Learning
Christy joined our family at the beginning of 2014, taking over leadership of early learning program and its 10 child development centers in San Mateo County. She hold a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Service, as well as a California State teaching credential. She has worked as a Head Start preschool teacher, Supervisor of Education, Family and Health Services, and everything in between, bringing the unique experience of understanding every level of child development.