Postsecondary to Prosperity: A Conversation About Transforming an Inequitable System to Fuel Opportunity

California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy hosted a live webinar featuring Executive Director Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education Dr. Lande Ajose, and ECMC Foundation President Peter J. Taylor.

The pandemic has made the need for new, innovative options in higher education clear and urgent. Highlights from California Competes’s new California Postsecondary to Prosperity Dashboard were followed by a conversation about building an inclusive and equitable economic recovery for California.


Dr. Lande Ajose

Dr. Lande Ajose is the senior policy advisor for higher education for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom where she develops the governor’s higher education policy agenda. Prior to her appointment, she served as executive director of California Competes. Her work in higher education began as an admission officer at Vassar College, where she recruited students nationwide and oversaw student yield and the campuses’ transfer program. At the James Irvine Foundation, where she was a senior program officer, Dr. Ajose oversaw statewide portfolios in workforce development and civic engagement. In 2014 Dr. Ajose was appointed to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by Governor Jerry Brown and served as chair for two years.

Peter J. Taylor

Peter J. Taylor serves as president of ECMC Foundation where he has led more than $165 million of investments in initiatives affecting higher educational outcomes, especially among students from underserved populations. Before ECMC Foundation, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the University of California system. He spent nearly 16 years in investment banking with Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, where he was managing director for the West Coast Fixed Income Group. Mr. Taylor is an appointee of Governor Jerry Brown to the Board of Trustees of the California State University system and has served on the boards of the Irvine Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, and the Parsons Foundation.


Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez

Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez serves as executive director of California Competes where she leads the organization’s work to develop nonpartisan and financially pragmatic recommendations for improved higher education and workforce policies and practices across California. Prior to joining California Competes, she served as Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento, where she remains on faculty. She also served as the Director of the CSU Student Success Network, Academic Advisor for the California Executive Fellows Program, and Associate Director of the Sacramento State Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Special thanks to ECMC Foundation, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, and all of California Competes’s generous funders: College Futures Foundation, Futuro Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and Lumina Foundation.