JOHANNA SILVA WAKI
Johanna Silva Waki is EMILY’s List State and Local West Coast Director.
Strategist. Advocate. Leader. Reformer. During her career, Johanna Silva Waki has embodied all these roles. Through various positions with non-profits, government agencies, and consultancies, Johanna has led initiatives to make legislative changes and promoted awareness and action regarding women’s health and empowerment. A tireless advocate for women’s issues with a commitment to planning, building, and executing strategic, winnable campaigns for pro-choice female candidates, Johanna has devoted her career to motivating others to act. Her proven history in public relations, advocacy, and non-profit management provides her with unique perspectives and insights into the most effective ways to bring about change, whether that is a change in government policies, a change in elected officials, or a change in public attitudes and perceptions.
In her current role with EMILY’s List, the largest resource for women in politics, devoted to electing pro-choice, Democratic women into office, Johanna partners with local, state, and regional groups and legislative caucuses to identify, recruit, train candidates, and build a pipeline of candidates that align with this mission. Leveraging polling data to create and administer training, she plans and launches campaign strategy, and works with individual campaigns and candidates to effectively manage their pursuit of office. She worked tirelessly to increase the number of Democratic, pro-choice women in both chambers of California’s state legislature. By 2018, the number of women legislators in California increased by 10%, and overall female representation in the state grew to more than 30%. In 2016, she led the effort to flip New Mexico’s House and Nevada’s state Assembly and Senate and increased the majority and number of women in Colorado’s State House. In addition to working closely with other Democratic candidates in the race, she advised then-candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who would ultimately out seat the incumbent and be elected as New Mexico Secretary of State.
In 2002, Johanna founded Hope Road Consulting, a full-service political consulting and public relations firm, which she led until 2015. One of her stand-out achievements was to manage Vote Hope 2008, which was the largest independent expenditure in support of Barack Obama for President. She led all fieldwork efforts in California, which included implementing data-driven strategies to identify potential voters. Her efforts included educating voters, increasing awareness, and improving voter registration rates among traditionally underserved communities in California.
In addition to her political activism and strategizing, Johanna is also a sought-after speaker and thought leader. Along with multiple speaking engagements and guest lectures, she was recently profiled by San Francisco magazine as a leader in campaign strategy. She is also a Board Member of Tides Advocacy and is a former Emerge California Board Member who now co-chairs the organizations’ Campaign Advisory Team (CAT). She is a founding member of PowerPAC, a social justice organization committed to building long-term political infrastructure for underrepresented communities.
An immigrant of Nicaragua, Johanna lives in the San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood with her parents, husband, son, and their loving Shih Tzu, Leo. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and La Raza Studies from California State University, San Francisco.