Commentary & Analysis

Board Spotlight: Innovative Solutions for Social Good

What’s stopping us from solving some of the biggest problems facing our nation?

CES board member Sara Ponzio believes that tackling our country’s most pressing challenges will require a renewed focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Our country thrives on engagement by creative, thoughtful people of all ideologies who are not de facto long-shots because established institutions have pre-decided funding and support,” Sara said.  

“We’re losing out on an opportunity to collectively consider and apply innovative ways to tackle our problems when folks aren’t given a chance to be heard.”

As Deputy County Counsel for Santa Clara County, California, Sara has firsthand experience in how creativity can be used every day to improve the lives of real people and promote the social good. She considers herself fortunate to work for an organization that is closely attuned to the needs of its constituents and deeply dedicated to addressing problems facing our society.

“Seeing such a dynamic organization innovate to solve popular issues such as homeless housing has also made me a bit of an idealist in terms of elected officials, and the degree to which their policies resonate with the population’s concerns,” Sara explained.

Sara has always had a strong social impact focus and an interest in the inner-workings of government. As a high-schooler, she even took time away from school to work for her district representative in Washington, DC.

“I realized then that I loved public service and seeing how things got done. I enjoyed being able to help move things forward.”

After graduating from UC Riverside with a degree in History and earning her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law, Sara went on to become Partner at a boutique Bay Area law firm. She enjoyed her work, but the impetus to do something with a social impact led Sara to her current role with Santa Clara County.

Sara was introduced to the potential of alternative voting methods as a tool for solving our country’s political ills when San Francisco began using RCV. She found it intriguing and decided to look deeper into voting methods. Eventually, she learned about The Center for Election Science at a Board Match event and knew that this was the perfect board opportunity for her.

Sara is excited about her involvement with CES, as she sees approval voting as a way to make politics more civil while opening up the political conversation to more innovative ideas.

Sara says she believes so passionately in the cause of approval voting because there are so many creative, thoughtful people across America who have great ideas but who don’t have the opportunity to be heard, thanks in part to our choose-one voting method.

In addition to her passion for public service, Sara is a huge foodie who loves to practice yoga and travel. Some of her favorite travel destinations are our country’s national parks, and visiting Asia is high on her bucket list. 

Dedicated to serving others, Sara is also on the board of a nonprofit called BioLink Depot. It’s a small local nonprofit that recycles high-end science equipment from big companies into schools in the Bay Area.

We’re thrilled to have Sara join our board and bring her unique talents and insights to advancing the cause of better voting methods!