The Division of Equity & Inclusion (E&I) has filled three important leadership positions–one in partnership with the Division of Student Affairs (SA)–and I'm writing today to share the good news. Please join us in officially welcoming Divisional Finance Lead Charles Ho (he/him), Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Executive Assistant Villy Somthida (she/her), and Director of Engagement for the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AA&PI) Thriving Initiatives Dr. Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani (she/her).
The Divisional Finance Lead advises and offers recommendations about financial analysis, budget development processes; and business services. An influential leader, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Executive Assistant is a skilled integrator, communicator, and organizer who manages long- and short-range strategic planning while directing all business aspects of our immediate office team. As a shared position between E&I and SA, the Director of Engagement for the AA&PI Thriving Initiatives will provide strategic thinking, collaboration, and planning around developing a campus-wide AA&PI Thriving Framework.
Charles starts today, coming to us with an extensive background in finance. He has worked for notable companies and organizations in the healthcare, education, and retail industries–most recently at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. As someone who believes in the transformative power that comes from the kinds of responsive resources, programming, and mentorships E&I is known for, Charles looks forward to helping us advance campus DEIBJ goals and priorities.
Villy was one of the Division’s very first staff members, serving as executive assistant to former VCEI Gibor Basri starting in 2007. Until her departure in January 2021, she played a critical role in creating a lasting infrastructure for our division. For the past two years as Executive Assistant and Chief Administrative Officer for President Michael Drake’s Executive Office, Villy managed all departmental functions and special projects. We look forward to welcoming her back to campus on April 3.
Dr. Tsuchitani joins the Division at a critical time as we begin pursuing Asian American and Native American* Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) status. Her deep understanding of belonging and justice as a faculty member in the Department of Ethnic Studies–as well as her thoughtful contributions to advancing UC Berkeley’s priorities in centering antiracism as a core institutional value–will lead to more responsive supports for Asian American & Pacific Islander campus communities and campus broadly. Her first day is April 3.
My thanks to Interim Associate Vice Chancellor Elisa Diana Huerta (they/them/elle) and Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor, Julian Ledesma (he/him) for each leading these successful searches for our new colleagues. The way in which they centered our values and showed up with care affirms to me that E&I and SA are expertly positioned to create a campus where everyone–students, staff, and faculty–feels and knows they belong.
We know that this takes all of us, so I thank you for your partnership and am excited that we have new colleagues joining us in those efforts. Again, please join me in welcoming them!
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion
*The term "Native American Pacific Islander" used by the federal government in this context means any descendant of the aboriginal people of any island in the Pacific Ocean that is a territory or possession of the United States. For more information, see federal definitions here.