qualifications & Experience


The Central Coast has a legacy of women who have represented this area in creating strong public

policy. I believe that my background and skills position me to continue that legacy.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. As such, I

have formal knowledge of how government, nonprofit, and private entities work together to create

public policy.


For the past 22 years, I have served as the Executive Director of Standing Together to End Sexual

Assault (STESA), formerly Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. In that role, I have honed administrative

and management skills. I am well versed in financial oversight. During my tenure, I have increased the STESA budget from $250,000 to $1,300,000. Throughout that time, I have maintained a positive

financial position for the organization with yearly unqualified independent financial audits.

In my role as Executive Director of STESA, I build relationships with local lawmakers to ensure they

understand and have the knowledge and tools they need to conduct public policy in support of survivors of sexual assault and under-represented members of our community.


Under my leadership, we developed programs at STESA for survivors of sexual assault and other

community populations that are culturally and linguistically competent. I can communicate directly with Spanish speaking constituents in the district to hear their concerns because I am bilingual/bi-literate in English and Spanish.

I have conducted public policy on an international level by working with women in other countries to

help them establish rape crisis centers in their communities. Some of these countries include Spain,

Puerto Rico, Japan, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Although the women are the experts in how

their legislative processes work, I provided them with effective strategy and talking points to present

and persuade policymakers about the importance of establishing these kinds of services for their

communities. In some cases, I was selected and formed a part of delegations that went to exchange



I have a strong understanding of state and federal regulations that impinge upon a wide variety of issues such as labor, the use of public funds, and legal compliance issues. These skills are strong, and colleagues call upon me to mentor them when they are learning these aspects of their jobs and responsibilities.

As a board member of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), I have worked on

public policy that affects survivors of sexual violence on a state and national level, such as creating a

tax check-off which provided funds to rape crisis centers in California and support services to survivors of sexual assault. Through CALCASA, I’ve worked with others to provide information and language for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to provide services to some of the most vulnerable in our communities, including farmworker, indigenous, and incarcerated women.

In creating public policy, I have worked with others to garner sponsors for legislative bills and

subsequently lobbied members of the California Senate and Assembly to support legislation pertinent to survivors of sexual assault. Further, I encouraged my colleagues in the field to end sexual violence to lobby their representatives and provided information about how to be effective in securing their support.

I have served as an Affirmative Action Commissioner for Santa Barbara County through which I

interfaced with the SB County CEO’s office as well as department heads. In this role, I helped effect

changes in staffing patterns to make them more open to people of various backgrounds, so that staff working for SB County could reflect the diversity of the population. At a city level, I was invited and have served on panels to hire two different Chiefs of Police for the City of Santa Barbara; the

recommendations went to the City of Santa Barbara Manager and subsequently to the City Council. In the first of these, I felt compelled to select a person of color to interface with the Latino population and build trust. He was also someone who had a strong background in community policing. In the second instance, I felt it important to select a woman Chief of Police. The intention was to have a leader who would prioritize the recruitment, training, and retention of women to the department as sworn officers.

I worked with the Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Families for the City and County of San

Francisco to set public policy priorities to disseminate a budget of $13M for community services for

some of the most vulnerable families in the area.

I worked at the San Francisco Foundation in the Social Services Program. At the foundation, we prided ourselves in developing policy that would shape the ways in which social services and advocacy was conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area. We also convened policymakers and community leaders, affecting the lives of families in the San Francisco Bay Area.


I have an intersectional perspective when it comes to the salient issues of our community. I look at

issues and how they intersect with other oppressions in our society. Through this lens, I work with

others to look at root causes of social issues so that the solutions can be viable and long-lasting.


Through formal education, community involvement, and civic engagement, I have learned how

government, nonprofit, and private entities can interact for the benefit of the community. I will use that knowledge and the legislative process to create positive outcomes for my constituents.


I am an advocate and an agent of social change. At its core, I believe that’s what the job of a California Assembly Member is. I will advocate on behalf of my district and on behalf of the residents of this great state.

Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.

Paid for by Elsa Granados for State Assembly 2020 FPPC #1421447