Red Suit helps clients advocate and communicate effectively toward public policy results that improve the lives of Californians. Our firm’s mission-driven culture prioritizes community and customer service that is uniquely responsive, strategic, and relationship-driven.
Red Suit works with a team of strategic partners to provide an array of services and expertise, including the following:
Lobbying – Red Suit uses its strong relationships in the State Legislature and Governor’s administration to lobby on behalf of its clients on a wide array of topics. The firm also offers services in Washington, D.C., considering the fact that many members of the California Congressional Delegation are former state legislators with whom Kristin previously served.
Public Policymaking and Budget Advocacy – While the art of advancing public policy and negotiating the state budget process can seem mysterious, Red Suit translates Capitol jargon, deadlines, and practices into everyday language, breaking down the players and processes into terms easy for clients to understand and navigate. Our firm prides itself on being able to serve clients in any and all subject areas, though we have particular expertise in Healthcare, Water, Agriculture, Education, and Budget Advocacy.
Political Strategy – In order to strengthen relationships with key players, one must understand politics and participate in political action in strategic and meaningful ways. Red Suit advises clients on how, when, and with whom to participate in political activities – no matter how big or small a client’s budget. Red Suit can also build support for or against a ballot initiative campaign.
Coalition Building and Grassroots Mobilization – Kristin is a consensus builder who can bring disparate parties together to achieve results, as evidenced in part by the role she played in helping negotiate the 2014 water bond. From farmers to environmentalists, business to labor, Democrats to Republicans, Kristin knows how to arm the right messengers with the right messages to build effective coalitions and mobilize supporters.
Strategic Communications and Message Development – The foundation of success for nearly any desired outcome in business, politics, public policy, education, or philanthropy is the effectiveness of one’s communication. Red Suit has over 20 years of experience in developing effective messaging and communication strategies, including talking points, opinion-editorials, social media campaigns, white papers, speeches, and more.
Crisis Communications – Timely, transparent, concise, and frequent communication to the media, involved parties, and key stakeholders is critical when facing any organizational crisis. Red Suit offers clients dependable, trustworthy, and effective services for successfully overcoming a crisis – whether its related to a product, an executive, an employee, or other matter.
Media Training and Speech Coaching – Red Suit can take one of people’s greatest fears – public speaking and talking to reporters – and build confidence and skill among the individuals at any company or organization. Whether for a single individual or a team of people, Red Suit can customize a speech coaching session or media training seminar that will result in better delivery and effective communication – two essential factors for any successful operation.
“Kristin and I served together as Minority Leader and Speaker of the Assembly, and over time became forever friends. She is an incredibly skilled negotiator and never quits or gives up. When we have a conversation, we can get things done while respecting each other’s roles and positions.”
- Toni Atkins, Pro-Tem Elect of the California State Senate
“I respect Kristin and her positive approach to advocacy. Her ability to help partisans communicate with people in a better way is a benefit to the State of California. Kristin’s leadership changed the way Democrats and Republicans work together.”
- Brian Dahle, CA State Assembly Republican Leader
“Kristin is a unifying force and has outstanding relationships inside and outside of the Legislature. She is a passionate advocate for students and higher education.”
- Ricardo Lara, California State Senator and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Kristin is someone I trust to give me accurate information on an issue – which can be rare in politics. She and I are allies on a wide variety of policies and will be lifelong colleagues and friends.”
- Adam Gray, California State Assemblyman and Chair of the Moderate Caucus
“Kristin has been a role model to so many women in our state. She is a driven and intelligent leader who is good at building bridges and is also a lot of fun.”
- Cristina Garcia, California State Assemblywoman and Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus
“Kristin brings out the best in people and has an intimidating ability to message. My constituents still call her their all-time favorite speaker. She was a transformational leader in the Assembly, and we had a great time leading our caucus together.”
- Scott Wilk, California State Senator
Honest – Red Suit believes in being relentlessly honest with its clients, accurately assessing the feasbility of success and what it will require, and keeping clients well informed of progress, challenges, and opportunities along the way. Red Suit will not mislead or overpromise, so clients can trust what they will be able to achieve with the resources they dedicate to any project.
Strategic – Effective advocacy and communications requires well thought-out and customized plans, tailored to the needs of each particular client and project. As a former state legislator herself, Kristin (as founder and principal of Red Suit) values and has particular expertise in building effective strategies because she understands how members of the Legislature think.
Results-driven – Red Suit is laser focused on outcomes and delivering measurable results and solutions to problems.
Relationship-focused – People good at politics and advancing public policy have learned how to build solid, trustworthy relationships. Red Suit values and promotes the strength of relationships as fundamental to success.
Hard-working – At the end of the day, hard work matters and pays off. At Red Suit, team members are expected to give 100 percent effort to each client served.
Fun – Work is more fulfilling when it is also fun. Red Suit believes in providing a fun environment and positive attitude for clients, partners, and stakeholders.
KRISTIN OLSEN, PRINCIPAL
Kristin Olsen founded Red Suit, LLC, after terming out of the California State Legislature in 2016, and now seeks to help others effectively work within the government sphere and political landscape. The relationships she has developed and the experience she has gained over the past 20 years as both a Capitol staffer and an elected official at the local and state levels, including as Minority Leader of the State Assembly, along with her experience as a trade association executive and higher education administrator, make her uniquely suited to help clients navigate the key players, policies, politics, and processes of state and local government.
While serving as one of the top four leaders in the Legislature, Olsen developed a statewide reputation as a dynamic, forward-thinking leader – “the sort of person the Republicans need” (LA Daily News) and whom Democrat Governor Jerry Brown described as “pragmatic and effective.”
Olsen served as Assembly Republican Leader from 2014 through early 2016. In this capacity, she was the Caucus’ lead negotiator on major policy and fiscal issues, led its political and campaign efforts, and was its principal spokesperson. In her San Joaquin Valley district, Olsen earned high marks as a bipartisan consensus builder whose “party affiliation was of less importance than her Valley affiliation” (Modesto Bee) when working on issues of regional concern.
Olsen currently serves on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors and on the Board of Directors for CA Women Lead that recruits and trains women to pursue appointed and elected office.
Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Olsen served five years on the Modesto City Council (2005-10). Professionally, she served as the Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs at CSU Stanislaus (2006-2010), and as the Senior Communications Manager for the California Restaurant Association (1999-2004). Her first job out of college was as a legislative aide and press secretary in the State Senate.
Olsen graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Westmont College and is a strong voice for a well-rounded, liberal arts education.