What People Have Said About Our Work

“California Disability Services Association has had the great pleasure of working with Laurel on a number of occasions over the years, but most recently she served as the project manager for a year-long training project, leading a remote team from Sacramento and Los Angeles. Laurel’s project management skills are exceptional!

We relied on Laurel to coordinate our team, consultants, presenters, and to maintain dialogue with our funding partners. At every step in the project, Laurel was ahead of the curve, anticipating problems before they could arise. She also proved adept at making quick pivots as priorities changed, leaning on her vast policy experience to ensure that the project delivered meaningful content to our audience and stakeholders. She always kept us on track with our reporting deadlines and coordinated all aspects of our data and resource development. Above all, Laurel facilitated an environment that allowed each team member to feel valuable and contribute to the best of their ability.

Working with Laurel was an absolute pleasure and the primary reason that our project was successful. She has our highest endorsement and we can’t wait to work with her again!”

- Barry Jardini, Executive Director, California Disability Services Association

“Laurel is one of the most thorough, responsive and knowledgeable consultants I have ever worked with. As an Executive Director it can be challenging to meet the competing demands of projects and it was incredibly reassuring to work with Laurel knowing that she was expertly dedicating the time, attention and skill to the project she consulted on. Her deep knowledge of the behavioral health system expedited the pace of discoveries on the project and she was able to guide major findings for a multi- sector project thanks to her fluency across public and nonprofit entities.”

- Abby Yim, Executive Director, Integrated Community Services of Marin County

Laurel and I worked on multiple projects and she has three characteristics that make her a successful consultant. She has a valuable ability to “read” people which gives her insight and understanding into what they want and say and don’t say. She is passionate and hard working about what she does which means your work gets 100% attention and a determined focus on what needs to be done. She also has a creativity and imagination which means she comes up with creative solutions, valuable alternative ways to solve problems. . .

- Les Hendrickson, PhD, National Medicaid Expert and Owner, Hendrickson Development

Laurel is very talented at helping organizations who want to better understand public policy and practical issues related to underserved populations. Laurel’s compassion and intelligence combine for a very powerful skill set, which enable her to obtain an in-depth and nuanced understanding of issues that could otherwise be politically charged. She navigates and defuses personal politics by connecting with people on the level of common humanity. She emanates integrity, which opens up doors to new ways of seeing things and relating to each other. Combine this with her intelligence and you know you’re going to get a good product.

- Judy Thomas, Emeritus Executive Director, Coalition for Compassionate Care of California

You will find Laurel Mildred’s work to be exceptional. Her superior and productive work is driven by her passion to analyze challenging situations and to find resourceful solutions that enhance the lives of individuals and the effectiveness of organizations.

Laurel diligently applies her superb oral and written communication skills to create an impressive and compelling style of advocacy. Organizations find that her services are reflective of their vision, well grounded in research, and efficacious for policy.

Laurel is recognized for her expertise in the fields of behavioral health, adult and aging services, and integrated health and human services. Equally importantly, she is known to be an honorable and ethical person.

- Bert Bettis, Health and Human Services Division Manager, Retired, Sacramento County

I was raised in the tradition that if you do not have anything nice to say about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all. That is why I have so much to say about Laurel, because her work is deserving of so much praise and commendation.

I met Laurel when I was a stakeholder in the State of California’s Mental Health Services Act planning and oversight process. To say that Laurel is an intelligent, adept and tireless advocate would be a gross understatement. She literally brought life to the issue of mental illness for so many bureaucrats, elected officials, and businesspeople who had a severe and persistent ignorance of the scope and impact of this issue.

In her work toward influencing public policy to be more appropriate and applicable to the community it affected, Laurel had to be a wise and compassionate educator, advocate and systems-navigator. Not only was she able to successfully impact the content and tone of this important public policy process, she did it in a way that exuded class and acumen. During the many discussions, which were often emotional and sometimes even contentious, Laurel had a natural ability to demonstrate a sense of purpose that was based on reason, empathy and mutual understanding. These abilities, unfortunately, are often lacking in the public policy arena and adding Laurel to any discussion is sure to bring about a sense of balance and credibility.

Public policy is one arena where experience is everything. Formal education and training alone can’t adequately address the myriad of complex and often obscure intricacies that are found in the process of crafting, implementing and evaluating policy. That is why having someone like Laurel at the table is so essential. The years of experience under her belt were hard-earned and the fruit of her labor is a mind that is well-versed in the continuum of policy work.

I can say without a single doubt in my mind that there are few people throughout my professional tenure whom I would judge to be as capable, as brilliant, and as perceptive as Laurel; and whenever possible I would definitely want her on my side of the table.

- Damian Chase-Begay, PhD, MS, Director and Health Officer, Missoula City-County Health Department

Laurel’s work is of the highest caliber – not only in her writing, policy analysis and communication skills, but also in her ability to forge consensus among a variety of interests. Her collaborative approach to problem-solving is a great asset to the policy arena. She has acquired an expertise in a wide range of issues, from Olmstead and civil rights, to mental health issues, as well as integrated health and social services for seniors and people with disabilities. She would be of tremendous value to any organization.

- Sarah Steenhausen, Deputy Director of Policy, Research and Equity, California Department of Aging

Laurel Mildred’s powerful and visionary efforts are contributing to the transformation of the behavioral health system across the State of California. I have had the pleasure of witnessing the impact of these efforts as Laurel has played a critical role in the establishment of the Student Success Program (SSP) at San Francisco State University, which I founded and now direct. The SSP is funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) to support students who are preparing for careers in the human services and who have experienced behavioral health issues or who come from communities that are underserved and underrepresented in the public health system.

Laurel was involved in the design of the Student Success Program from its inception and has continued to provide indispensable guidance as a member of the SSP Advisory Committee. Laurel’s commitment to community inclusion and empowerment have been critical to the SSP’s positive outcomes in increasing access and enrollment, enhancing retention, and maximizing the graduation rates of the students that we serve. This, in turn, has contributed to an expansion in the workforce of culturally sensitive providers with lived behavioral health experience – a central aim of the MHSA.

Laurel has also played a critical role in bringing to life the multimillion dollar statewide Student Mental Health Initiative (SMHI), a broad spectrum of innovative programs addressing student mental health and wellness have since been implemented throughout the public educational system from kindergarten through graduate school. These projects would not exist were it not for Laurel’s leadership with the Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission. I currently serve as the SMHI Program Coordinator at SF State University and have seen first-hand the wide range of benefits that Laurel’s endeavors have made possible.

Laurel has demonstrated excellence in these areas and is an extraordinarily influential policy-maker and advocate. Her efforts at reducing stigma and discrimination are unparalleled and her perspectives have been essential in moving behavioral health and the human services to a new and exciting frontier.

- Dina Redman, MPH, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Director, Student Success Program and Program Coordinator, Student Mental Health Initiative, San Francisco State University