An ardent advocate for community empowerment and self-reliance, Elaine has more than 40 years of professional experience in research, communications, and project management. In addition, she has over 30 years of experience in community work, with a special interest in cultivating equitable local food systems. She began her career in community work coordinating volunteer drivers for Meals on Wheels in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She spent 13 years managing the downtown farmers’ market in Bloomington, Illinois, one of the first markets in the state to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments. Based on lessons learned from the farmers’ market, she spearheaded a successful effort to establish Green Top Grocery, a community-owned cooperative grocery store in Bloomington, where she also served on the founding board. Originally from San Antonio, Elaine moved back to Texas in 2014, settling in Georgetown. She and her husband Mike worked with Southeast Georgetown Community Council (SEGCC)–now GTX Connect–to establish an immigration legal services office to serve low-income families. This program received accreditation from the U. S. Department of Justice and began serving clients at the end of March 2021.