Human Options has impacted the lives of more than 500,000 people affected by relationship violence.
In 1981, four women founded Human Options and gave life to a vision focused on ensuring people could feel safe in their own home. Forty years later, the organization is at the forefront of a collective county-wide response to those threatened by abuse in Orange County.
We ignite social change by educating Orange County to recognize relationship violence as an issue that threatens everyone, advocating for those affected by abuse, extending a safe place for victims, and empowering survivors on their journey of healing.
We are committed to a future in which every person and family in Orange County experiences safe, healthy relationships and lives free of fear.
Diversity: We embrace different perspectives and the lived experiences of others.
Respect: We recognize dignity as a basic human right.
Curiosity: We cultivate an appetite for knowledge and understanding.
Ingenuity: We actively work to create original and inventive solutions to further our mission.
Individuality: We call on the unique gifts of others for igniting social change.
Department of Justice Accredited
Human Options is a Recognized Agency through the Department of Justice. Members of the Human Options Legal Advocacy Team are partially accredited through the same program, and have a limited capacity to provide direct representation around immigration matters such as U-Visa and VAWA applications. Please visit https://www.justice.gov/eoir/recognition-and-accreditation-program for more information about this program.
Corporate Partners and Sponsorships
Maricela Rios-Faust, MSW, LCSW,
Chief Executive Officer – Human Options
As Chief Executive Officer, Maricela Rios-Faust provides vital leadership, support and vision to the continued growth and success of Human Options. Since 2006, she has capitalized on her 30-year experience working with vulnerable populations and been a key driver in Human Options becoming one of the most comprehensive domestic violence service providers in Orange County. Her commitment comes from a desire to raise her daughter in a world where relationship violence is not tolerated. Recognized as a leader in the field and non-profit sector, Maricela currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Family Violence Appellate Project, OneOC and Orange County’s Continuum of Care Governing Board. She co-chairs the Orange County Domestic Violence Death Review Team, serves on the Orange County Women’s Health Project Advisory Board and is a member of OneOC’s Board Diversity Task Force. Maricela is a member of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. In 2021, she was named one of Orange County’s Most Influential for her leadership on increasing awareness of impacts of the pandemic on domestic violence survivors.
Esq., Chief Operations Officer
As Chief Operations Officer, Sara Behmerwohld provides leadership, oversight, and management of Human Options continuum of integrated programs and services. Since 2013, she has capitalized on her experience working with survivors of relationship violence to help establish Human Options as the most comprehensive domestic violence service provider in Orange County. Her passion for the work stems from a lifelong commitment to ending gender-based violence, beginning with a volunteer position at an Orange County-based domestic violence shelter at age 14. She is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the University of California Hastings College of the Law and a member of the California Bar. She served as the Chairperson for the Legal Issues Subcommittee of the Orange County Family Violence Council and is an alumnus of the Women’s Foundation of California Solis Policy Institute and the HOME (Housing Opportunities Mean Everything) cohort, a group comprised of leadership from domestic violence organizations across California working to eradicate women’s homelessness. She is also a member of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. Sara’s strengths are Relator
Command, Self-Assurance, Intellection, Input.
Stirling Hunter is the Finance Director at Human Options. He oversees the overall financial health of the organization and performs the accounting, banking, grant invoicing, and financial reporting for the organization. He joined Human Options, and the non-profit world, in late 2019. His prior experience included many years in aerospace program finance management where he managed program budgets, schedules, cost accounting, proposals and contracts. He also has 9 years’ experience as the financial officer for a commercial real estate company. Stirling is a graduate of USC and enjoys motorcycles, surfing, music, and spending time with his wife and grandkids.
Human Resources Business Partner
As the Human Resources Business Partner with Human Options, Lisa Gestoso oversees recruiting, organizational development, policy implementation, and employment law compliance. She joined Human Options, and the non-profit sector, in 2021. Lisa received her B.Sc. in Public Health from the University of California, Irvine and has over 10 years of experience in training and development. In her free time, Lisa enjoys trying new experiences, spending time, and creating memories with her daughter, husband, friends, and family. Lisa’s strengths are Analytical, Deliberative, Relator, Restorative, and Achiever.
As Executive Administrator, Victoria assists the CEO, Board Of Directors, COO, Sr. Executives, Management and Staff in providing executive support services, as well as, managing the business office operations alongside her executive partners. Victoria has over 27 years of experience in administrative assistance and office management. Her eclectic background, which helps her be a service to others, includes underwater navigation and sonar work, due diligence work in corporate appraisal, project specialist, and working in community services with local Orange County cities. All of these experiences have lead to the passion of helping others achieve their goals. Victoria earned her BA in Liberal Studies Western Civilization, Thematic Plan Non-Profit Management at California State University, Fullerton. In her free time, Victoria loves spending time with her Husband, learning about history (5th Generation Southern Californian), taking care of family, friends and neighbors, learning anything new and dreaming about travel one day. Whenever possible, she tries to enjoy beautiful Orange County nature walks and the ocean. Victoria’s strengths are: Developer, Arranger, Belief, Responsibility, Context.
Board Of Directors
Latham & Watkins, LLP
Susan L. Heller
Greenberg Traurig Global, LLP
Jacuzzi Group Worldwide
President (ret.) Passco Companies Development LLC
Senior Vice President General Counsel, Glaukos Corporation
Dr. Liza Eshilian-Oates, MD
Regional Director, SCAL Family Violence
Prevention Program Kaiser Permanente
Newmeyer & Dillion
Senior Vice President
Corporate Marketing, Irvine Company
Co-Founder & Chief Excelerator
Digital Fast Forward
Sr. Litigation Paralegal
Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo
Canada/Opex Lead Fortive-ASP
Farzad and Ochoa Family Law Attorneys, LLP
Vice President, Global Communications & Public Affairs Strategy, Edwards Lifesciences
Attorney, Managing Partner
Schilling Law Group, PC