Pam Whitehead

Pam Whitehead
52, Architect-Owner of Sage Architecture, Inc. and Executive Director of Triumph Cancer Foundation


FAVORITE LOCAL CAUSE? Triumph Cancer Foundation ( – this nonprofit and cause has been a part of my life for almost 12 years. Our Foundation provides a 12-week fitness program to adult cancer survivors to help them in regaining strength and stamina after cancer treatment. I became embedded in the cancer community after my own diagnosis in 2000, and the subsequent diagnoses of five other members of my family within a 5-year span. This was my wake-up call about the impact a cancer diagnosis has on a person’s life.

The most important thing I learned was that once treatment is completed, the journey has just begun. Cancer treatment takes a toll on a person’s body, but the current treatment protocol doesn’t provide the necessary tools for a survivor to recover.

That’s where Triumph Fitness comes into the picture. We are that safety net for the cancer population, providing needed guidance on how to exercise safely and rebuild not only strength and stamina but also confidence. Our folks workout with certified Triumph Fitness instructors who are trained in cancer recovery. Developing Triumph Fitness and keeping it available at no cost to the community has been the biggest challenge of my life, but it has also been what I am most proud of. Knowing that your work has helped someone get strong again – and seeing firsthand the impact of Triumph on a person’s life, has been incredible.

WHICH LOCAL SACRAMENTO WOMAN INSPIRES YOU? Cecily Hastings (Publisher of Inside Publications) – because she came up with an idea to create a means to share real stories about Sacramento in an effective and personal way, and has continued to expand upon the concept year after year, keeping us engaged as a community and enabling us to hear diverse voices and points of view.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE IN SACRAMENTO IN FIVE YEARS? Putting on my other hat, as an architect, I would like to see more communities embracing modernism and encouraging diversity in design. Cities and neighborhoods are more lively when they evolve naturally and when architecture evolves as well. I think the development of the Golden 1 Center was a huge step in raising the bar for commercial core of Sacramento, which will bring an influx of exciting architecture. Commercial architecture is being given a freer reign. I would love to see some of the restrictions loosened on residential design so we can really start weaving together a broader tapestry of design styles in our residential neighborhoods. Cities like Austin Texas have done this exceedingly well. Sacramento, even though it is in California, is still a little too conservative when it comes to architecture. We are starting to push the dialogue when it comes to art in our community, which is fantastic. Well, in my opinion, architecture is an art form, and we have yet to explore the full potential of modern architecture and how it can enhance communities.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED? “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” I have had this quote on my computer monitor since I was diagnosed with cancer almost 17 years ago.

ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO A SACRAMENTO WOMAN IN HER 20’S? Carve out a portion of your time to get involved with a cause that speaks to you. The volunteer time spent will be paid back 100-fold through the impact you can make on someone else’s life. Find your passion and commit to it.

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