Photo of Laurel A. Mildred, MSW.

– Laurel A. Mildred, MSW

About Me

When I was young and new to the mystery of words, my father told me how gold is made. Perched on his workbench, I marveled that hot liquid metal surges up from the earth's core. His relatives all worked in California's Empire Mine, so it was family origin story as well as scientific thriller. I dashed off to relay it to my mother, and my reputation as a storyteller was born.

A friend once told me I've become an expert in 'splainin' things. I've leaned into that throughout my career as an analyst for the California State Senate, a leader in the non-profit sector and later when I formed a public policy consulting firm. Working with stakeholders and writing about issues, I've produced white papers, analyses, reports, fact sheets and more, developing a body of work and a track record of making complex issues actionable and clear.

This experience can be of assistance to you.

Legislative, Policy and Leadership


Mildred Consulting and Advocacy
10/08 – Current

Owner and Principal Consultant of a health and human services policy consulting firm providing leadership, public policy services, program development, strategy and advocacy to California health and human services programs that promote effective results for people. Specialize in leading collaboration among stakeholders, negotiating agreements, content development, production of political and policy events, virtual training, public speaking, leading diverse teams, research, analysis, excellence in written reports and communications, representation, and advocating for progressive public policy. Clients have included: the California Collaborative for Long-Term Services and Supports, Homebridge, LifeSTEPS, the California Association for Adult Day Services, the Alliance for Leadership and Education, the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, the National Adult Day Services Association, The SCAN Foundation, the California Healthcare Foundation, the Colorado Foundation, the National Council on Independent Living, the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging, CalPACE, Inter-tribal Council of California, the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, the California Rural Health Association, Orange County Behavioral Health Association and the California Institute for Mental Health.

A full description of my consulting work along with policy reports, samples of presentations and other information may be found at my website

During the period of 07/09 through 03/12, along with my consulting work I simultaneously held the position of Olmstead Advocacy Director (California Foundation for Independent Living Centers).

Olmstead Advocacy Director

California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
07/09 – 03/12

Led a public policy campaign under a grant from the California Department of Rehabilitation to educate policy makers in the efforts to implement the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision, which ensured that people with disabilities are entitled to live in communities rather than institutions. Headed a multi-stakeholder coalition, organized a statewide Olmstead conference in partnership with Disability Rights California, helped to develop the California Collaborative for Long-Term Services and Supports, and generated a final report summarizing opportunities for Olmstead Implementation on the eve of health care reform.

Executive Director

California Network of Mental Health Clients
07/07 – 9/08

Served as Executive Director of the California Network of Mental Health Clients, a statewide non-profit organization representing people with mental health disabilities. Responsible for the administration of a $700,000 program, including grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the California Department of Mental Health and the Wellness Foundation. Secured contracts for over $1.5 million in future funding for the organization. Developed administrative structure, supervised ten staff and consultants, created strong collaborations with mental health community leaders and organizations, initiated legal and public policy strategies, lobbied the legislature on critical priorities, served as spokesperson, and developed written program reports for funders.

Policy Consultant

Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission
03/07 – 06/07

Served as a short-term basis as a special project policy consultant to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission in order to develop, negotiate and present the Student Mental Health Initiative, which created a special initiative for mental health prevention programs for students, and to work with mental health stakeholders to develop a report and spending recommendations to direct $80 million toward eliminating stigma and discrimination against persons with mental health disabilities.

Associate Director –
Mental Health Services Act

California Mental Health Directors Association
9/05 – 2/07

Served as Associate Director to assist county mental health directors in their implementation of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act. Reviewed, analyzed and summarized policy documents, coordinated responses to decisions of the state Department of Mental Health, represented the Association to stakeholders and the public, advocated before the Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission, drafted position papers, advocacy letters and regulatory responses, facilitated negotiation and collaboration with a broad array of interest groups.

Policy Consultant

California State Senate
10/98 – 8/05

Initially served at the Senate Majority Caucus and then for 6 years at the Senate Office of Research, as a policy expert on issues of disability rights, implementation of the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision, mental health, developmental disability and substance use disorder. Initiated, wrote and staffed SB 130 (Chapter 750, Statutes of 2003, Chesbro), reforming practices of seclusion and restraints in California health facilities. Overall responsibilities included tracking and evaluating emerging state and federal policy issues, researching and gathering data, assisting Senators and committees in developing policy initiatives, writing briefing papers and reports, organizing informational hearings, drafting legislation and preparing background information and questions for the Senate Rules Committee for their confirmation hearings on Governor's appointments.

Social Work Experience

Earned a Master's Degree in Social Work concurrent with work in the Senate. These positions comprised graduate-level internships through the Social Work Division at California State University, Sacramento:

MSW II Intern

Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services,
Senior and Adult Services Division 8/04 – 6/05

Provided research, policy and grant writing support to the Division on issues involving Adult Protective Services, In-Home Supportive Services and the Public Guardian's office. Major activities included completing a federal Administration on Aging grant for a case management program for elders, participating in the Sacramento County Elder Death Review Team, and editing Sacramento's strategic plan for senior and disabled adults.

MSW I Intern

Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance,
Senior Nutrition Services 9/03 – 5/04

Performed intake, assessment and referrals for elder clients of Meals on Wheels. Specialized in clients with complex issues such as dementia and mental health problems, and worked with Adult Protective Services and local service provider agencies to assist them.

Fundraising and Political Experience

Early professional experience included community organizing, special events and fundraising as an independent political consultant as well as a staff member. Key clients, campaigns and political experience included the California Democratic Party event with President Bill Clinton, State Treasurer Kathleen Brown, Assemblymember Phil Isenberg, Senator Byron Sher, Jerry Brown for State Party Chair, United States Senator Barbara Boxer, the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute, Mayor Joe Serna, and then-Councilmember Darrell Steinberg.


Service Employees International Union
8/97 – 2/98

Independent Political Consultant

Laurel Mildred Consulting
1/90 – 10/98

Finance Director

California League of Conservation Voters
10/95 – 8/96

Finance Director

Assemblyman Phil Isenberg
2/89 – 11/90

Field Organizer

Jerry Brown for State Party Chair
11/88 – 2/89


Master's of Social Work Degree

California State University, Sacramento 2005

Bachelor of Arts Degree, Political Science

University of California, Davis 1987

Community Service

  • Founder, CSUS Resilience Fund for Students in Mental Health Crisis
  • City of Sacramento Management Academy Graduate
  • San Francisco State University Student Success Program Advisory Committee
    2010 – 2015
  • California Social Work Education Center Advisory Board
    2008 – 2009
  • Sacramento County Mental Health Advisory Board
    2001 – 2003
  • Mercy Hospice Volunteer
    2001 – 2002


  • California State Senate
    Honored on Senate Floor for Leadership and Advocacy 8/10
  • California Network of Mental Health Clients
    Public Service Award for Partnership in System Change 12/03
  • Phi Alpha
    Elected to the national Social Work Honor Society 5/04
  • Pi Sigma Alpha
    Elected to the national Political Science Honor Society 6/87

My 20 years in policy and social scientific writing give me a solid edge over generic freelance writers. I can provide technical, professional and business writing that sheds light on complicated information, garners meaningful responses and presents your work with the maximum impact. You can find a description of my services here, get more on my background or read brief samples off my writing.

You can also contact me directly for a free consultation about what you need. I look forward to hearing about your project.