The state’s oldest pro-life outreach has a new face overseeing day-to-day operations. Mary Peterson accepted the role of interim executive director for Arizona Right to Life March 1.
Local Catholics may know Peterson’s name as founder and executive director of Maggie’s Place. She stepped down Feb. 1 after discerning the right time for a change.
“I loved the chance to help Arizona Right to Life figure out its next step,” Peterson told The Catholic Sun.
Arizona Right to Life is a non-sectarian, non-partisan nonprofit that has a healthy board of directors, she said, but has been without paid staff for a bit. Peterson will help create a vision to accompany its renewed focus on “respect, love and protect.” She’ll also look at legislative opportunities and how to build momentum.
Peterson said Arizona Right to Life has such a strong base of support and looks forward to building on that firm foundation. She will help the organization find its niche and role in helping other pro-life ministries be more successful.
Erik Twist, president of Arizona Right to Life’s board of directors, felt supporters “hit a grand slam” by hiring Peterson. He praised her disposition and temperament.
“I can’t talk about her without smiling,” Twist said.
He also noted Peterson’s “institutional wisdom,” 13 years of executive leadership and board management skills. Twist credited God’s grace for getting the organization to the point where Peterson could help with leadership, even if temporarily.
He saw what Peterson did with Maggie’s Place growing the network of homes for women who are pregnant and alone into a model and a thriving nonprofit. Some also know about her role as founding chair of the National Maternity Housing Coalition.
“She has a heart for those who are suffering and those who need Christian love. At her very core, she is about service, especially women in need at their most desperate hour,” Twist said.
He sees Peterson as a key part of taking the organization to the next generation for life. Arizona Right to Life has been around for 40 years adding its voice to pro-life issues regarding abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, assisted suicide and violence.