Heather Finlay guides the work of the Y


Heather Finlay brings a track record of the successful management of projects and people to her appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of San Diego County.

Upon her selection to the YWCA Board of Directors in 2006, she served as board secretary as well as a member of the executive committee, which is charged with the responsibility for daily oversight of agency operations and management. She also served as the Board’s Real Estate and Construction Coordinator with the responsibility for overseeing the YWCA’s real estate assets, including the acquisition, development and construction of Becky’s House II, a multi-million-dollar 14-unit transitional housing facility for victims of domestic violence and their families, It opened in 2007.

Finlay was a real estate developer for 20 years and was the first female development partner for JPI, one of the largest builders of multifamily communities in the United States.

Finlay received a bachelors degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas in Dallas. She and her husband, Greg Flores, live in Carmel Valley with their dog, Bryce.

What brought you to Carmel Valley?

It is beautiful, it is centrally located, and it receives lots of sunshine and cool ocean breezes.

What makes the area special to you?

I like the fact that there are still horse ranches in Carmel Valley and trails on which to ride. I also enjoy the proximity to the beach and the amount of sunshine we receive.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Carmel Valley?

I would like to see more restaurant selections. I eat at Sammy’s way too often!

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by intelligent people who speak and act honestly and sincerely.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I am intrigued by great strategists – those who have overcome amazing obstacles. Winston Churchill, Cleopatra, and Alexander the Great would all be on my invitation list. But I would also invite the victims of domestic violence and homelessness that the YWCA serves because of their strength and ability to overcome incredible hardship.

Tell us what you are currently reading.

I am reading Frances Cole Jones’ new book, “The Wow Factor.” I read her first book, “How to Wow,” and it has insightful suggestions about successfully presenting ideas and persuading your audience.

What is your most prized possession?

I have my grandmother’s engagement ring, which I cherish. She was a strong and engaging woman who died very young. I would invite her to my dinner party, too!

What do you do for fun?

I really enjoy great food, so I eat. Food is one of the greatest ways to experience different cultures and traditions. It is one of the best social activities for getting to know people. I also like to travel to other cities and experience the architecture there. Travel is another wonderful way to learn about other cultures.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

While I am very proud of being the first female partner of a large real estate development company and for the awards that some of my projects received, I am most proud of helping to complete Becky’s House® II (transitional housing for domestic violence victims) and for being the CEO of the YWCA. It is an honor to help children and their mothers funnel their strengths into happy and productive lives.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Diplomacy is the act of letting others have it your way.