Richardson, Elaine

Director of Diversity and Equity
San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

Ms. Richardson is the Director of Diversity and Equity at SANDAG. She has been at SANDAG for over 18 years and is responsible for numerous programs, such as the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Small Business (SB), Bench Programs for Architecture and Engineering (A&E), Construction Management (CM) and Planning, Labor Compliance, Apprenticeship Readiness Program, Social Equity (Title VI and Environmental Justice), and finally the external programs of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, she is also responsible for the Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program and the newly adopted Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). The mission of her team, the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), is to promote diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility in SANDAG programs, projects, and services. Through various program initiatives, ODE advocates for disadvantaged communities, fosters the growth of small and diverse businesses, and develops new workforce opportunities. 

Ms. Richardson is well-known throughout the San Diego region as an advocate for small and diverse businesses to have an equal opportunity to participate in SANDAG solicitations and awarded contracts. Currently, one of her main objectives is to further develop workforce equity for underserved and underrepresented workers in the San Diego region. She is dedicated to implementing programs that will remove barriers and level the playing field for all disadvantaged groups.

Ms. Richardson has received numerous recognitions for supporting small and diverse businesses. In 2020, she received the Small Business Administration (SBA) Jill Andrews Advocacy Award for her outstanding assistance to small and diverse businesses in contracting arenas.