Meet UCOP: Q&A with Ombudsperson Callale Concon
October 13 is Ombuds Day — a recognition of the ombuds profession that aims to improve public awareness of ombuds, connect ombuds in their respective communities and encourage the greater use of ombuds programs and services.
UCOP’s local Ombuds Office is led by Ombudsperson Callale Concon, who began working at UCOP in October 2021. Over the past year, Callale has provided individual and group counsel to staff, as well as partnering closely with UCOP Human Resources and the Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging around efforts to make UCOP a safe and equitable workplace for all employees. She also developed UCOP’s first Office of the Ombuds Charter Agreement (PDF).
Link recently sat down with Callale to learn more about her role.
Q&A with Callale Concon
Link: Can you explain in a nutshell what the Ombuds Office does?
Callale: The Office of the Ombuds is a safe and confidential resource for all members of the UCOP community to discuss, clarify and voice UCOP-related concerns. The ombudsperson will listen without judgment, help people identify and untangle their issues, and help to explore and strategize possibilities for informally addressing their concerns. Visitors to the office always choose their path of resolution. The Ombuds Office empowers individuals and groups to overcome disputes, conflicts and barriers that stand in the way of reaching their full potential and thriving at UCOP.
Link: What are some common reasons that employees contact the Ombuds Office?
Callale: Sometimes individuals just want to talk in a safe and confidential space. Some may want to explore options and strategies before going through formal channels. No matter how big or small your concern may be, the Office of the Ombuds can help. All conversations are voluntary and confidential.
Link: How do I know if I should contact the Ombuds Office or HR?
Callale: The Ombuds Office is an excellent place to start. If you are unsure of what to do or uncertain about which office can appropriately address your concerns, the ombuds can help direct you. As an informal office, the ombuds will listen to your concerns, provide information, can help you develop options and approaches and refer you to other resources, if needed.
Link: If I reveal an issue to the Ombuds Office, will the information I share be passed on to my manager, colleagues I mention, UCOP leadership or others?
Callale: Keeping a person’s identity confidential and maintaining people’s trust is essential to me. I can guarantee confidentiality and promise not to act without the consent of the individual, even for complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination (with the exception of an imminent threat of physical harm). As part of my role, I provide information to UCOP leadership on general trends and patterns of complaints and concerns for the purpose of preventing escalations or recurrences. This reporting does not include any identifying or specific information about those who have made complaints. More specific details about confidentiality and reporting are outlined in the Office of the Ombuds Charter Agreement (PDF).
Link: How does your work at the Ombuds Office tie into UCOP’s anti-racism initiatives?
Callale: As an organizational ombudsperson, part of my function is to advocate for relieving systemic inequities and implementing constructive changes. As colleagues, we must work together to begin to address problems that have lingered for years in order to move through them differently and together. My work complements and aligns closely with UCOP’s anti-racism initiatives, especially in promoting a culture of acceptance, fairness, respect, transparency and representation by all members, reflecting the unique and diverse communities we serve. I look forward to working with the Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging to partner on initiatives that integrate cultural intelligence and accountability.
Link: What inspires you about your work?
Callale: I am inspired by many things about my work. I particularly enjoy creating opportunities for people to see and hear one another so that they can envision creative ideas to improve something or build something new. I am inspired when someone has a moment of clarity and wisdom, and is able to embrace what is essential to them. The gratification of helping and empowering individuals and groups is at the heart of my work. It makes it all worth it.
For questions about the Ombuds Office, contact Callale at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-587-6130.Tags: Callale Concon, Ombuds Office