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I am a leader, dedicated activist, and organizer for social change with 15 years of experience developing and leading advocacy and outreach campaigns, managing teams, working with diverse grassroots constituencies, utilizing various social marketing and outreach tools, and training, educating and empowering thousands of people.

I bring a unique combination of big-picture strategic thinking and intense detail-orientation to everything I do. With my experience in implementing nationwide advocacy campaigns, excellent customer service/partner relations, and management savvy, I can take your organization to the next level of public influence and impact.

Thought Leadership

I have been interviewed, quoted in articles, spoken on panels and guest blogged about my experiences as a nonprofit leader.  I have also presented on leadership and workforce development for local nonprofits, corporations and community groups including:


  • "More than anything, Elisa is always willing to stop and train/educate/explain something to me so that I understand exactly what is going on. There have been so many instances where I have learned and met amazing people, this is all because of Elisa and how seriously she takes my internship."
  • "Elisa is a natural leader and an incredibly caring supervisor. She made it a top priority to provide guidance and career development advice to entry-level employees such as myself."  
  • "I was impressed and delighted with [Elisa's] ability to get things done, her professionalism, her sense of responsibility, her thoughtfulness, and her desire to bring out the best in others -- all combined with a sense of humor and humanity."   
  • "Elisa is an incredibly energetic, enthusiastic leader who has demonstrated a strong vision and outstanding organizational skills in my dealings with her. She would be an asset to any organization lucky enough to work with her.”

Professional Experience


Director of Network Collaboration

Appleseed Network
  • Serve as primary liaison to 18 Appleseed Centers located around the US and in Mexico. Lead development and support of Appleseed’s Network Collaboration Model, designed to foster collaborative work among Centers to win high-impact victories. Organize, structure, and document discussions; recruit and coordinate work with pro bono partners; and oversee research to support collaborative projects.
  • Create work plan, budget, and timeline for major network building and collaboration project around immigration. Supervise development of policy priorities and advocacy tactics, manage work of consultant and fellow, and work closely with a partner organization to execute all parts of the project.
  • Lead outreach efforts to national and state issue advocacy communities, particularly the immigrant rights community. Work with these partners to disseminate one of Appleseed’s signature products, a Manual that provides guidance on protecting financial assets and families from deportation.
  • Plan events and convenings, including a successful event (~90 attendees) held in coordination with the Mexican Embassy and featuring the Deputy Ambassador from Mexico as well as foundation representatives.
  • Develop individualized cultivation plans for major law firm donors; serve as primary contact for several target firms, develop materials, and coordinate and track team cultivation efforts.
  • Wrote funding proposal that successfully secured $100,000 in support of immigration justice work.

Deputy Director of State Affairs

Justice at Stake
  • Provided extensive direct support on advocacy and lobbying efforts to state advocates; reviewed and tracked state legislation; and drafted statements, letters, and legislative testimony. Convened and led a national strategy coordination table and knowledge-sharing calls with state advocates from across the country.
  • Managed all organizational outreach efforts to national and state issue advocacy communities, including voting rights, environmental issues, LGBT rights, reproductive rights, labor, etc. Outreach efforts included identifying, speaking at, and attending conferences and events; working with existing networks to identify new contacts; and cold outreach via phone and email. Singlehandedly led outreach efforts to the criminal justice community, a new target for JAS, including developing new relationships and securing speaking opportunities.
  • Hired, trained, supervised and evaluated State Affairs fellow and interns. Received internship site supervisor award two consecutive semesters from The Washington Center for Internships & Academic Seminars.
  • Successfully directed all planning and execution efforts for 2015 Fair Courts State Summit (~150 attendees) including logistics; marketing; Planning Committee management; agenda development; outreach to speakers; on-site conference management, etc. Led all planning efforts for 2016 Summit.

Sr. Director of Client Services, Youth Engagement & Policy

Rescue - The Behavior Change Agency
  • Led team of 14 in executing youth engagement and policy change campaigns across the country and in Canada. Hired, supervised, trained, coached and evaluated both local and remote staff. Served as a member of the senior leadership team. Provided strategic direction, vision and goals for all youth engagement and policy initiatives.
  • Worked directly with clients at the state, provincial and local level to achieve youth tobacco and obesity prevention goals through a results-oriented and research-based proprietary youth engagement and campaign model. Managed additional campaigns with a focus on reducing adult exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Developed and implemented all aspects of advocacy campaigns including strategic planning, coalition building, execution of specific strategies, tactics and activities, and evaluation and reporting of results.
  • Created and managed budgets and supervised reporting and evaluation for all projects and contracts.
  • Supervised the growth of a movement of youth activists focused on fighting tobacco from 6,000 to more than 9,000 in less than 2 years.
  • Launched a youth engagement program from scratch for the company’s first international client.

Deputy Director of Government Affairs and Outreach

Smart Growth America
  • Worked with the Director and other senior leadership to implement strategic direction of government affairs and outreach work, particularly as it concerned the organization's various constituencies and advocacy partners.
  • Led a team in planning and executing all federal issue advocacy and appropriations campaigns.
  • Managed all work related to a major federal grant ($350K) including strategic planning, work plan development, team and budget management, and reporting. Ran workshops/trainings and provided technical assistance to partners on campaign strategy, community organizing, messaging, and coalition development.
  • Hired, trained, supervised, coached and evaluated Government Affairs & Outreach staff.
  • Served as primary contact for 50+ member organizations and other external partners; recruited new members to the coalition; managed all member benefits including members-only website, listserv, and database.

Outreach Manager

Smart Growth America
  • Worked with partners in 9 states to launch transit campaign efforts from initial needs assessment and work plan development through execution of state-specific strategies, tactics, and activities. Provided extensive campaign planning guidance, materials, training, and technical assistance to state teams.
  • Managed state stimulus campaign in 13 states & DC: provided strategic & tactical campaign advice to state partners influencing spending of transportation stimulus money, developed and disseminated materials and organized regular best practice/knowledge-sharing work sessions.
  • Standardized membership dues process and generated over $30,000 in dues in 4 months – a 500% revenue increase from the previous year.
  • Hired, trained, supervised, coached and evaluated staff and interns.

Coordinator, Outreach and Special Initiatives

National Council of Nonprofits
  • Directed all outreach, issue advocacy campaigns and coalition-building activities for the Nonprofit Congress initiative; wrote, edited and built action alerts, fact sheets, and advocacy toolkits. 
  • Co-authored, edited and supervised production of Work With Me: Intergenerational Conversations for Nonprofit Leadership, a workbook designed to help nonprofits identify and leverage the expertise of all generations in the workplace. Developed train-the-trainers curriculum based on the workbook and delivered it to partners. 
  • Led all event planning efforts for 2009 Nonprofit Congress event (450 projected attendees) including content, logistics, marketing, communications, outreach, sponsorship and related tasks.
  • Designed and implemented successful coalition advocacy campaign for the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 [PDF].

Outreach Associate

National Low Income Housing Coalition
  • Mobilized members and state partners on legislative campaigns through phone, mail and email contact. Created sample letters to Congress, letters to the editor, call scripts, website content, talking points and email alerts for each campaign. Increased activist participation in advocacy campaigns by 50%.
  • Coordinated major national and local efforts on voter registration, education and mobilization (Voterization) focused on homeless and low-income citizens. Worked with national coalition partners, distributed materials to participants, tracked outcomes and reported on results.
  • Hired, trained, supervised, coached and evaluated Outreach Interns.

Campus Coordinator

NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • Developed strategic plan, goals, timelines and grassroots action campaigns for Campus Organizing Program, ensured that timelines and goals were met and reported on results.
  • Coordinated, managed, issued grants and offered support to 20 state affiliate campus organizing programs and over 100 campuses. Remotely supervised several paid student organizers in non-affiliate states.
  • Planned and facilitated large national student conference, weekend trainings, student track at national conference and several individual workshops and training sessions involving more than 400 students and 50 staffers.

Campus Organizer

Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Organized and supervised 48 feminist activist student groups nationwide through phone calls, emails and visits to 46 campuses in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Increased number of groups by 25% in just nine months.
  • Facilitated 5 day-long training sessions and approximately 40 separate workshops on topics including leadership skills, recruitment, retention, budgeting, fundraising and event planning.
  • Developed content, coordinated logistics and mobilized students and community members to attend major national student conference (350 attendees) and three large coalition events (100 to 200 attendees each).


Leadership and Community Service

  • Member, Arlington County Neighborhood Complete Streets Commission, 2013 – present. Appointed Chair of the Commission in 2017.
  • Member, Transportation Commission, Arlington County, VA; 2010 - 2016.
  • Member, Leadership Council, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of DC (YNPNdc); 2010 - 2012.