Lester Olmstead-Rose


San Francisco

Lester (he/him) helps nonprofits and foundations think about the direction they’re headed and how to move in that direction. He specializes in strategy development and business planning, working collaboratively with clients to design detailed, but practical, plans for the future. He is a co-author of The Nonprofit Business Plan. Lester excels in helping organizations explore tough issues and address what might otherwise be the unrecognized barriers to success.

Lester’s keen sense of both big-picture strategy and everyday organizational dynamics is informed by his past experience, which includes both being an executive director and serving as a secretary. He is proud of his achievements as an executive director of a nonprofit serving the LGBT community, where he helped grow the organization and its ability to advance a mission he cares about directly. He values his time as a secretary, a role he wears proudly because he sees how it shares many elements of consulting in its focus on providing flexible support to enable the success of others. His consulting clients have included Y USA, John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund, San Diego Natural History Museum, Win/Win Network, and the Sobrato Family Foundation.

When Lester talks about projects that exemplify this type of success, he always includes working with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and its Parks for People programs. Through that project, Lester guided the development of a cohesive strategic framework for a collection of local programs operating nationally, agreement on expansion priorities, and adoption of an implementation plan.

Lester’s background includes nonprofit management and public policy. Prior to  joining La Piana in 2005, Lester was director of government and public affairs at Pacific Gas & Electric Company and served as executive director of Community United Against Violence. He was also legislative assistant to San Francisco County Supervisor Angela Alioto. Lester has an MBA from Golden Gate University, a BA in Religious Studies from Stanford University, and also studied at the University of Salamanca. Lester’s nonprofit board service includes SPUR, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Intergroup Clearinghouse.

Lester is available as a speaker on nonprofit strategy. He has presented sessions for such diverse hosts as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators.

Learn more about Lester in this La Piana Consulting staff interview.