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UCOP welcomes Lalitha Sankaran as director of the Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging

UCOP EVP/COO Rachael Nava sent the following message on April 4, 2022:

Dear UCOP Colleagues:

I am very pleased to announce that following a national search, Lalitha Sankaran has accepted our offer to be UCOP’s first director of the Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging (OWIB). Lalitha’s first day in the role will be April 11.

Lalitha Sankaran, Director, UCOP Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging

Lalitha comes to UCOP from San Mateo Medical Center (SMMC), where she led the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). In that role, she was accountable for developing and implementing DEI initiatives and meeting employee engagement goals. She has a strong background in connecting with staff and leadership across the organization. While at SMMC, Lalitha developed training programs to advance dialogue and understanding of complex and critical issues such as gender identity and the Black experience in America. In addition, she introduced the use of data dashboards to track progress against measurable objectives. Before SMMC, Lalitha served in Kaiser Permanente’s National Diversity & Inclusion office for 10 years. Lalitha holds two master’s degrees, in public health and social work, and is on the Board of Directors of SafePlace, a not-for-profit agency providing rehabilitation services to survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

As UCOP’s director of the OWIB, Lalitha will be very focused on strategies that continue the full implementation of all 19 recommendations of the UCOP Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF). She will also foster staff engagement and advise leadership on equity and inclusion, as UCOP continues its work toward being an actively anti-racist, inclusive and equitable organization. Lalitha will report directly to me, with a dotted line reporting relationship to Vice President/Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Yvette Gullatt.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the search advisory committee, who gave their time and expertise to this important recruitment, including Yvette Gullatt, who chaired and served as the equity advisor for the committee; Sun Cotter from University of California Health; Trish Dolan in the CFO Division and representing the UCOP Staff Assembly; Steve Garber and Ola Popoola in Academic Affairs; Erin Reynolds in UC Legal; Ghanya Thomas in IT Services and representing the UCOP Black Staff and Faculty Organization; Guenter Waibel in the California Digital Library; Helen Young in University of California Health; Nancy Pluzdrak in UCOP Human Resources; and Cathy O’Sullivan in the Immediate Office of the COO. And special thanks to Sally Gelini and Kimberly Joseph from UCOP Human Resources for their expert talent acquisition support and teamwork. I also want to acknowledge the significant contributions Francesca Galarraga made to the UCOP Anti-Racism Task Force Report and to the development of this role when she served as an organizational consultant for culture, engagement, diversity and inclusion.

Lalitha’s office is on the 9th floor (9402) of the Oakland/Broadway building (adjacent to the UCOP Ombuds office). Please reach out to Lalitha after her start date to welcome her to UCOP. I’m thrilled to have her join our team.

Best Regards,
Rachael Nava
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer


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