Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Yolanda Benson - April 18, 2006

Yolanda Benson
Yolanda Benson, Deputy Secretary, California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

"Government as an Enabling Stakeholder in Our Present and Future Knowledge and Technology Economy: Politics, Business and Implementation"


The audio portion of Ms. Benson's lecture is available for download (iTunes Podcast).


Ms. Benson addressed initiatives and policies being undertaken by the State of California to encourage technology company and job development, retention and relocation to California, including the Governor’s current Strategic Growth Plan. Her presentation focused on: (1) efforts by the state to maintain and create jobs and to build the next-generation work force, (2) the economic impact of technology training in the State through universities and other enterprises from a perspective of both retaining and expanding the base of knowledge professionals, and (3) maintaining California’s lead in innovation and knowledge transfer across boundaries in a manner that preserves and increases the California economy on a global basis.

Yolanda Bazan Benson was recently appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to her current position of Deputy Secretary at the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, responsible for jobs, economic development and international trade. Prior to moving to the Agency, Ms. Benson served as a Deputy Legislative Secretary in the Governor’s Office during his first year in office where she handled issues related to base realignment and closure, building standards, consumer affairs, corporate governance, economic development, housing, public sector labor and trade.

Ms. Benson’s diverse background and experience includes more than twenty years of activity in the legislative arena, public relations, governmental policy, ethnic and coalition development and grassroots advocacy. Prior to working in the Schwarzenegger Administration, Ms. Benson was a legislative advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 15,000 California businesses. She was responsible for various policy issues regarding the protection of jobs, and the creation and retention of jobs in California. Ms. Benson’s experience also includes a variety of positions in state government, including working for several members of the California State Legislature and as a legislative liaison for the Department of Toxic Substances Control in the California Environmental Protection Agency. Ms. Benson has also been a legislative advocate for numerous diverse organizations and companies. She was responsible for effective communication and implementation of successful strategies for the various clients she represented. Her understanding of both the public and private sector brings a unique perspective and understanding on how to approach issues and for "getting the job done."

Ms. Benson is a board member of various organizations, including, but not limited to, the Latino Journal, Community Resource Project, CORO, the Latino Center and Adelante to name a few. She was born in Utah and is the daughter of an immigrant from Mexico. She grew up in Utah and New Mexico and began community college in Arizona. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Human Resources.