Emerge California Staff

Melanie V. Ramil – Executive Director

Melanie brings over 13 years of political and government experience with progressive candidates, initiatives and public policy to Emerge California. She has dedicated her career to ensuring that institutions embrace and reflect the diversity of the constituencies they serve.

In the political arena, Melanie has led and won multiple statewide campaigns, including for United States Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala D. Harris, helping Harris to secure the California Democratic Party endorsement by an unprecedented 78% of the vote during her 2016 U.S. Senate campaign. She also led successful campaigns for former California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, including his re-election as Insurance Commissioner in 2014 and his campaign to secure the California Democratic Party endorsement for Proposition 45, which sought to make health insurers justify exorbitant rate hikes.

Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to serve as Deputy Chief at the Bureau of Cannabis Control, helping to lead California’s newest agency in regulating the largest cannabis market in the world. Prior to that she served as Deputy State Director for United States Senator Kamala D. Harris, where she established the Senator’s five district offices and grew the Senator’s team statewide during her first year in office.

Melanie also served as Chief of Community Programs for Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones where she developed a national program that increased insurance company procurement from diverse suppliers and encouraged diversity on insurer governing boards. In its first few years, the Insurance Diversity Initiative increased procurement spending with California’s women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBTQ+ owned businesses by over $670 million. The Insurance Diversity Initiative was a first in the nation effort on supplier diversity and governing board diversity in the insurance industry and became a model for industry regulators across the state and nation. She also served as Dave Jones’ field representative in the State Assembly, acting as the Assemblymember’s liaison to the Asian Pacific Islander, Muslim and LGBTQ+ communities in the City of Sacramento.

Melanie serves as a volunteer Board Director for the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing Asian Pacific Islander representation in public service, community leadership and advocacy.

Melanie is a UC Berkeley alum and proud daughter of Filipino immigrants. Her first foray into politics and social change work was sparked by her family’s stories of injustice and discrimination. She has since dedicated her career and community service to altering the face of leadership within government and business, and to implementing progressive policies and programs that seek to increase the quality of life for all.

Melanie can be reached via email at


Lindsay Bubar – Director of Programs

Lindsay Bubar is a Los Angeles-based political consultant who is best-known for her work recruiting, training and advising women and progressive candidates as they run for office.

Lindsay has worked with a broad range of clients, including her pivotal role in the effort to flip California’s 25th Congressional District as Rep. Katie Hill’s Senior Advisor. Lindsay has extensive campaign experience in California, including local, state and federal elections. Some of her campaign work includes Katie Hill for Congress, Henry Waxman for Congress, Alex Padilla for Secretary of State, Sandra Fluke for State Senate, Mike Bonin for Los Angeles City Council, Wendy Greuel for Mayor and more.

In addition to her campaign work, Lindsay has consulted for political and non-profit organizations, including Emerge California, Sen. Barbara Boxer’s PAC for a Change, California Progressive Electoral Table, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Communities for a Better Environment and the California Leadership Collaborative.

Working to ensure we have full gender equality in politics, Lindsay served as President and Vice President of Political Action for the National Womens Political Caucus, LA Westside for more than five years, helping to elect pro-choice women throughout Los Angeles County. Lindsay is also on the Advisory Board of Running Start, an organization dedicated to bringing young women into politics. Lindsay also serves as a Project Partner for the Truman National Security Project and previously served as a Board Member for the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. She is very active in many local political organizations, including Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and NARAL Pro-Choice California.

Lindsay was raised in the San Fernando Valley and graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in Psychology, Business and Advertising. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, David Graham-Caso and their two sons, Caleb and Emmett.

Lindsay can be reached via email at


Sierra DeSalvia – Director of Development and External Relations

Sierra has dedicated her career to creating pathways to access that break down interpersonal and political barriers. Her background is rooted in mediation, negotiation, stakeholder engagement, and professional development training. This foundation has allowed her to create strong partnerships between communities and government agencies as well as support the next generation of leaders.

In Baltimore, Sierra designed and implemented programs for the State’s Attorney’s Office, police department, Baltimore Housing Authority Section 8, department of social services, correctional facilities, and public schools. She also conducted over 200 professional development trainings for a range of organizations including women’s groups and government employees. Sierra holds multiple training and alternative dispute resolution certifications and was ranked one of the top mediators in the state of Maryland.

In her home state of New York, Sierra focused on families and racial equity. She facilitated community-wide dialogues on race and power dynamics. In an effort to expose the vast inequities in public school funding and de facto segregation of school districts, she ran cross-district “shadow day” exchange programs for students, parents, and teachers. During this time, Sierra also managed the Family Court Mediation Office for the fourth largest county in the state. She supported hundreds of families by providing alternatives to court proceedings through a process honoring lived experience and self-determined solutions.

In California, Sierra has focused on promoting women in leadership, fundraising for nonprofits, and improving local policy. At a private recruiting firm, she stewarded hundreds of applicants and focused on placing women in high-level leadership positions nationally. At SPUR, an urban planning policy think tank, Sierra led the strategic direction of over 100 fundraising events per year and supported the policy team by designing and facilitating regional community engagement initiatives.

At her core, Sierra believes better leaders and better policies can alleviate community conflict and root causes of inequity. She is driven by the need to create a government that represents women and families from all walks of life.

Sierra can be reached via email at


Alicia Duque – Operations

Alicia’s interest in politics was sparked by her Colombian upbringing in an era of civil unrest and social injustices. Her mother’s political discussions with other women over coffee in their home helped inspire her abiding interest in politics and her belief that women in public office can bring about the change we so desperately need.

She has applied her organizational skills to propel mission-driven organizations forward throughout her career. Issues she has worked on include increasing access to voting, promoting housing rights, and cultivating civic engagement. She was thrilled to join Emerge California in 2018 as their mission of increasing the number of Democratic women in office is close to her heart and one she sees as increasingly vital in the current political climate.

Alicia’s other passions include art and music. She is a proud East Bay resident, the resident Emerge California photographer, and a lover of the Oakland art and music scene.

Alicia can be reached via email at