Promotional Spotlight: Andrea Espinoza

October 5, 2023

Andrea Espinoza, AV FFA Regional Director

For October’s promotional employee spotlight, I am delighted to introduce to you Andrea Espinoza LMFT PsyD, Regional Director for the Foster Family Agency (FFA), working out of our Lancaster location.

Andrea started her career at Penny Lane in February 2016 as Intensive Services Foster Care Program (ISFC) Therapist. After spending two years in this role, she was promoted to the ISFC Clinical Supervisor and has been in this role the past 5 years. Since her time with Penny Lane Andrea has been an integral part of the team and has proven she has what it takes to be a strong, competent leader. She leads a team of direct staff of 15, as well as another 24 indirect staff members.

Andrea has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree and a PsyD degree in marriage and family therapy and is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California. She is currently teaching as an adjunct professor at Alliant International University and has a part time private practice, specializing in couples sex therapy.

Please help me congratulate Andrea on all her accomplishments!

-Lori Reid, Penny Lane Centers

What was your journey prior to coming to Penny Lane (PLC)? 

Before Penny Lane, while completing my journey to become an LMFT, I worked in Long Beach for Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) as well as an inpatient DV shelter for women and children. In these settings, I gained lots of experience in helping different types of family systems to heal from their traumas. Although it was a lot to drive 97miles (one way!) I enjoyed the work I did, especially in the DV shelter. Empowering women and children helped motivate me to commit to that drive for a few years. 

What brought you to PLC?

Honestly the Beatles connection tugged on my heartstrings as I am a bit of a Beatles enthusiast myself (all 3 of my children are named after the Beatles). Once I saw that the company was founded by a woman, designed to empower family systems, and would not require me to use any freeway systems to get to the site, I decided to throw my hat in and see if I could fit in at the agency. Shoutout to Vickie and Andrew who initially interviewed me, then Jen Lane and Cathy who gave me the final ok!! Thanks!

What is your favorite aspect of working at PLC?

I love being at an agency that was founded by a woman, that fosters collaboration and commitment to our community, and that empowers me to provide the best care to those I meet. I have had the pleasure of being on the same team for a few years, and they help me to maintain my commitment to the field and the agency. I love the folks I work with!

What was the path to promotion like for you?

I was very fortunate to have been given multiple opportunities for promotion within the agency. From my own experience, giving my best enabled me to be considered for promotion. First, in promoting from Outpatient Therapist to Clinical Supervisor, I was introduced to a whole new set of skills that challenged me to grow. Then being supported in my decision to return to school to obtain my PsyD in Marriage and Family Therapy during Covid while maintaining all my job duties was a learning experience. Finally, being promoted to Regional Director of the FFA where I am still learning as I go. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I was given.

How did the PLC team help along the way?

I know I would not be where I am today without the various PLC teams that helped me on my way. From the clinical supervision I received while still at the clinic in the role of Outpatient therapist(shoutout Debbie & Jeff & Ken!!) to the knowledge learned in my role as a Clinical Supervisor (shoutout Catrina!!) as well as the dedicated determination of my ISFC folks (SHOUTOUT ISFC!!), I could not have been so empowered to continue to learn and grow.

What were some benefits that PLC offers that you took advantage of to further your education / career with PLC?  

I definitely took advantage of all the programs Penny Lane has to offer. From the sign on bonus to license renewal, education reimbursement and qualification for the PSLF program, I use/used the mall and am so appreciative that I am at an agency where all these resources exist for me to use. 

What has been the most difficult part of your new role thus far?

In my current role, adjusting has been difficult but manageable so far (Shoutout Charito &Stephanie!). I lean on my teams and my supervisors to help me find the ways. This promotion was not something I envisioned for myself, but when the opportunity was presented, I wanted to see what I could do in the role. The FFA can be a difficult department as we deal with so many systemic issues daily. Although this has been a challenging adjustment, I am happy to be in a position where I can elevate the voices and concerns of others to ensure all the families, we work with are supported as best we can. I am looking forward to what I might be able to accomplish in this role.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I have heterochromia and one of my eyes is 2 different colors.  

What event in your life shaped you significantly?

I am a survivor of domestic violence. Obviously, this shapes us in many ways, but for me, it helped to determine that I wanted to be in a field that helped women to feel heard and supported in their lives. When we help support women, we help support their kids and families too, which I hope will help us all to end up with more healthy, happy, and functional members of society.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” It isn’t always easy to make the right choice, but taking the easy way out is worse and can cost you more in the end. Also, ‘Don’t let the Muggles get you down’ 😊

What do you appreciate most about Penny Lane?

I appreciate that I can be myself. I can discuss questions and concerns I have and am encouraged to provide the best care. I love being surrounded by folks who care about helping others and taking the extra step to make someone else’s journey a bit more manageable. The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" comes to mind, I have appreciated the village’s support in my professional development.

Please share something you are grateful for. 

I am so grateful to have had the opportunities to work with such AMAZING people these past few years. In the FFA, I have felt safe, heard, understood, and valued. I am beyond grateful to have had these people impact my development. Thank you all so much!

-Andrea Espinoza, Penny Lane Centers