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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Torrie Taj


Child Crisis Arizona

Location: Mesa

Founded: 1978

Industry: Nonprofit/Social Services

Torrie Taj has dedicated her life to serving those in need, starting with a mission trip at age 14 during which she discovered her passion for helping others. Today, with a professional career spanning more than 32 years, Taj is CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, a nonprofit founded in 1978.

In 2015, Torrie was presented with a unique opportunity to lead two competing nonprofits challenged with declining revenues and duplicated services. Taj saw the potential for synergy and growth and orchestrated a merger, integrating two cultures into one organization. Her expertise in mergers and acquisitions proved invaluable as she navigated the complexities of the process, ultimately creating a stronger agency.

One of Taj’s biggest professional risks was “saying yes as a first-time CEO recruited to merge two 40-plus-year child welfare organizations and their long-time leaders and established cultures,” she said. “The Board of Directors tasked me with disrupting ‘status quo’ in order to change and scale programs to meet growing community needs.

“Through persistence, an appetite for growth and my optimistic enthusiasm, Child Crisis Arizona has transformed its array of services.”

Under Taj’s leadership, Child Crisis Arizona has experienced growth and innovation. She spearheaded initiatives to expand services offered, including early education programs, shelter facilities, child abuse prevention initiatives and support for teens transitioning out of foster care.

Taj has championed the creation of a new eco-friendly campus, implemented green initiatives and centralized operations. She is a problem-solver who continually seeks opportunities to fill service gaps and improve the lives of children and families, Taj’s team said.

“Another important risk I took was in shifting the agency’s thinking, branding and budgeting from a scarcity to abundance philosophy,” Taj said. “The shift of dreaming bigger and thinking broader in size and scope has helped us transform the agency to be able to respond to the ever-growing needs surrounding child abuse and future prevention.”
Taj has shifted the agency from a deficit to a surplus budget and added a three-year budget and capital project budget. The annual budget has increased significantly year over year and days of cash on hand improved more than 400% from 19 to 100 days, while the net assets grew from $9.1 million to more than $30 million. Because of the agency’s financial strength, employee engagement and benefits both have increased.

Taj has achieved numerous milestones in her career, but she considers her ascent to the CEO position as her proudest accomplishment. Starting as a volunteer in college and gradually working her way up, Taj’s dedication, adaptability, and hunger for knowledge have propelled her success. Her expertise in growing nonprofits is evident in the significant expansion of Child Crisis Arizona’s scope and services during her tenure, her team said.

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Torrie has a deep love for other cultures that is filled both professionally at work and personally. In 1991, she met her best friend at an ASU study abroad summer trip to Spain. Torrie desires to do more international travel and looks forward to someday owning a second home in Spain. This summer, she is embarking on the famous Camino De Santiago walk in Spain.  


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