Celia VanDeGraaf

Executive Director, Center for Survivors of Torture


With twenty years of executive management experience in the wellness field, and more than nine years in a leadership position at Center for Survivors of Torture (CST), Ms. VanDeGraaf has a history of ethical organizational leadership, sound fiscal management, critical thinking, and supervisory expertise. Ms.VanDeGraaf has promoted growth for CST through a business format that provides clear goals, action items, and measures of success. She is the recipient of the prestigious Ed Wendler Award for outstanding service in the immigrant community. Grant writing and fundraising are proven strengths, securing over one million dollars in funding for CST. She believes in health and personal wellness and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in health management from St. Edward’s University. Her Master of Arts in Counseling from St. Edward’s University, equips Ms. VanDeGraaf with the ability to incorporate her clinical understanding into her principled business practices. She has pursued post-graduate studies in Organizational Leadership and Ethics from the School of Management and Business at St. Edward’s University.

Brief statement why you have accepted appointment and what you would consider to have been a successful tenure when your term:


My personal goal as a council member is to help with the implementation of fun and creative action items to help the organization to grow into 2016. I will help with the prioritization of tasks with the notion of looking for a few immediate successes for the organization.  Public relations and diversity in our community are my interests.

It seems that this is going to be an exciting time for the organization and non-profits in general. I am well versed in working with social media and the Austin community.  I am a member of One Voice, which is made up of executive directors throughout Austin, TX.   Living in Austin since 1982, I have made thousands of contacts in diverse communities.

Brief statement on your sense of the Center’s impact for its first 15 years and its potential for future:

My sense of the organization for the last fifteen years is that it has been successful. The foundation was geared toward training new leaders, educating the community about non-profits in general, and non-profit employment.  Additionally, it has been a resource for non-profits that require consultants.