Testimonials

Testimonials

Strategies for Social Change (SSC) has been a partner in The National Latina Institute for the Reproductive Health’s growth as an organization and our leadership over the course of a decade. They helped catapult NLIRH from a small organization with a handful of staff and a limited budget, to a dynamic and national entity with multiple offices and a multi-million dollar budget. Elsa and her team have been a vital resource for NLIRH over the years and has become a member of our ‘familia’.

Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)

“SSC has transformed how CCR’s senior staff works together as a team. Elsa is helping us understand and analyze our organizational dynamics, strengths and weaknesses and guiding us in identifying the changes we need to make. The key is that she’s there to keep us on track, but we’re the ones that have to do the work. That’s a recipe for lasting change.”

Vince Warren, Executive Director

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

“After working closely with SSC on a feasibility study, the American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, New Jersey, was able to move past some significant hurdles into successful new relationships and more organizational stability. Our experience with the SSC team was extraordinarily positive, they facilitated deep and challenging yet enjoyable conversations that helped our team and our work at AFSC grow stronger.”

Amy Gottlieb, Program Director

American Friends Service Committee

“Elsa is a gifted steward for any leader seeking real and lasting personal transformation. I met Elsa while I was the executive director of Domestic Workers United. At the time, I faced all- too-familiar challenges for any young leader heading up a large and high profile organization. With Elsa’s guidance, I was able to clearly identify and address the challenges as well as the opportunities for much-needed change.

She posed the tough questions and helped me build up the confidence I needed to take on a course of action that I could stand by. Her deep-rooted commitment to social justice and to the leadership of young women of color in particular are an important foundation of what makes Elsa such an amazing coach. She has steadily encouraged me toward developing and implementing a vision of myself as a leader in the broader movement for social justice that was hard for me to fathom.

Elsa is one of the most ethical, straightforward, and strategic consultants with whom I have had the honor to work. She practices what she preaches, and her assessments are grounded in real-world experience. Any organization, project or leader who works with SSC will not only be guaranteed top-notch attention and care but also guidance that will help you to be truly effective and grow in the ways that you need the most.”

Priscilla Gonzalez

Move to End Violence Initiative, Sponsored by the NoVo Foundation

I highly recommend SSC. I have worked collaboratively with Elsa and have seen first-hand the results of her consulting work. She is a trustworthy, straightforward and skilled management coach. I am impressed by her ability to weave interpersonal challenges and solid management principles into solutions that meet the unique needs of social change leaders. Elsa’s management strategies are a smart investment and her coaching skills can help leaders overcome barriers to reaching strategic goals.”

Elizabeth Toledo, President

Camino PR

“If you look up ‘herding cats’ in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Elsa working her strategic planning magic on our diverse group of the public-interest attorneys, community activists, and others who are on our Board of Directors and staff. Combining her vast knowledge of non-profit best practices with good humor, she kept us focused on developing tools that have helped us better advocate for environmental justice in New Mexico. We recommend Strategies for Social Change to any social justice group looking for top-notch organizational development help.”

Douglas Meiklejohn, Esq., Executive Director

New Mexico Environmental Law Center

“Having worked for close to 20 years as a community affairs manager at two major corporations, I can tell you that I’ve participated in many strategic planning retreats. But the one we just completed with the National Puerto Rican Forum is the best I’ve ever attended! It was enjoyable and meaningful because it was so well planned and designed to be fun. Even the ice- breakers were well thought out. SSC’s facilitation was most impressive…thank you!”

Eric Soto, Board Member

National Puerto Rican Forum

“Strategies for Social Change has been transformational in the development and sustainability for our national organization! The SSC team has provided clear and practical strategies for our short term and long-term goals and needs. SSC has helped A CALL TO MEN to refocus and redefine our direction and truly empowered us to succeed. We are grateful for the leadership, vision and expertise of Strategies for Social Change.”

Ted Bunch and Tony Porter, Co-Founders

A CALL TO MEN

“Working with Strategies for Social Change to find a new CEO and President for our small but fierce policy advocacy organization was truly a team effort. SSC guided us with extraordinary expertise, insight, encouragement, and transparency throughout the leadership transition process. The result of was a leadership transition process that was productive, respectful, thoughtful and ultimately, very fruitful. Saying farewell to a beloved leader and finding her successor was no easy task, and SSC stuck with us every step of the way.”

Liza Fuentes, Board Member

Reproductive Health Technologies Project

The National Latina Institute for the Reproductive Health (NLIRH) is a vibrant, focused, strategically positioned organization today only because we had the enormous fortune of finding Ms. Elsa A. Ríos, President of SSC. 

During a period when it was not even clear whether NLIRH would continue to exist, SSC helped us rebuild the organization from the ground up, strengthening our Board, creating a viable and sustainable fundraising strategy and helping us to develop a dynamic programmatic vision and a strategic impact plan. SSC’s assistance was invaluable, multi-faceted, and always consistent with the goals and vision of the Board. Words are truly not enough to describe both our debt and gratitude to SSC.

Catherine Albisa, Esq., Former Chairperson, Board of Directors

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)

“The National Women’s Alliance would like to express our sincerest gratitude for your training at the Young Women of Color Executive Director Retreat, your workshop received rave reviews from participants. To be sure, your expertise and participation were an integral part of the success of the retreat. We appreciate all of the time and energy that you devoted to ensuring that participants had an excellent opportunity for learning. We look forward to working with you in the future!”

C. Nicole Mason, Former Executive Director

National Women’s Alliance

“Four years after we started the organization, we needed outside help to see if we were really being as successful as we thought. Carmen Rivera’s assessment was smart and illuminating. It gave us the affirmation we needed to move ahead. She helped us look at our internal staff structure too, gave us solid tools and advice to analyze our patterns and worked with us to reorganize in more sensible ways.”

Maria Jobin-Leeds, Founder and Chairperson

Access Strategies Fund

“I wanted to express my gratitude for your magnificent work on the project. I have been hearing more and more positive feedback about the report, and in particular, on the importance of the policy recommendations section you developed. Thank you for going the extra mile for this report, your commitment means a lot to us!”

Sudha Acharya, Executive Director

South Asian Council for Social Services

“GALAEI has provided HIV-related services since 1989 to the Latino and LGBT communities in Philadelphia. Over the past few years, the agency has experienced transitions in leadership, resulting in its being at a critical juncture.

I joined GALAEI as the Executive Director in December, 2009 and knew that I would need guidance and support from someone with expertise, not only with non-profit management, but with providing HIV services to marginalized communities. The first person who came to mind was Elsa Rios whom I knew to be incredibly gifted, empathetic, goal-oriented, and knowledgeable about how to successfully lead an agency through challenging times.

In a very short amount of time, Elsa equipped me with the skills I needed to effectively run GALAEI. She instilled in me confidence, strategic thinking, and the ability to pause and reflect. Elsa was patient yet challenged me to consider my actions and decisions. She was encouraging and honest. And Elsa was always present—when talking with her I knew she was giving me her undivided attention. I will recommend her services time and time again.”

Elicia Gonzales, Executive Director

GALAEI: A Queer Latin@ Social Justice Organization

“With just one hour of coaching with Elsa I was able to create a much more effective plan for leading my board through some critical discussions. Elsa helped me to set effective, realistic, and achievable goals for the discussions. Without her assistance I would not have gotten the outcomes that I had, getting the board galvanized around a course of action that is best for the organization.”

Nadine Duplessy Kearns, Former Executive Director

New Community for Children

“The executive coaching I receive from Elsa Ríos has been invaluable. As I manage the multiple roles I play within my organization there’s little time to reflect on or protract the decision-making process. As our agency grows, managing the day-to-day operations has become more complex.

The weekly executive coaching process has helped me to increase my self-awareness, prioritize my role as well as the agency’s needs, and in turn make confident decisions as I move our agency closer to its mission and long-term sustainability. In addition, I’ve found a culturally competent coach that simultaneously understands the needs of our multiple and diverse stakeholders and also understands my need as an executive director to live a balanced healthy life.”

Joanne Smith, Founder and Executive Director

Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)

“Our coaching experience with Strategies for Social Change was invaluable. The breadth and depth of their experience and organizational wisdom helped us strengthen our organization and cultivate new leaderships skills at a time of critical transition. Learning from someone who understood the nuts and bolts challenges nonprofit committed to social transformation made all the difference.”

Quentin Walcott and Sally MacNichol, Co-Executive Directors

CONNECT

“Strategies for Social Change led a dynamic and engaging workshop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for ten Emerging Female Leaders working in the HIV/AIDS field in Puerto Rico.

The quality of the curriculum content and materials were superior; Elsa and Joyce led the workshop (in Spanish) with confidence, yet they were so relatable and connected with the female participants wonderfully. Participants reported that this leadership training far surpassed the quality of other workshops they had attended.

As the funder for this workshop, I was pleased with how interactive (and fun) the workshop was for participants, and at the same time provided women with crucial knowledge and skills that will aid them not only in their individual career progression, but will strengthen HIV/AIDS community-based organizations in Puerto Rico.”

Stephanie Cruse, MA, Program Manager

AIDS United

Lotus for Ignit

Ideas that
Ignite Change

“If there is no transformation inside of us, all the structural change in the world will have no impact on our institutions.”

— Peter Block

“Any organization, project or leader who works with SSC will not only be guaranteed top-notch attention and care but also guidance that will help you to be truly effective and grow in the ways that you need the most.”

— Priscilla Gonzalez

Move to End Violence Sponsored by NoVo Foundation