California Competes Leadership Steps into Governing Roles

Dear Friends and Partners,

As we move into the last quarter of the year, we wanted to share some updates regarding our Leadership Council and staff.

First, we want to congratulate California Competes Leadership Council member Julia Lopez on her appointment to the California State University Board of Trustees. She brings to the Board of Trustees a remarkable breadth of expertise across higher education, policy, philanthropy, and equitable economic and community development. We have no doubt that she will bring her fierce leadership and dedication to students to her new role.

Additionally, I was appointed to the Cradle-to-Career Data System Governing Board by Assembly Speaker Rendon last week, a role that I move forward with great dedication to ensure it allows for evidence-based, equitable policymaking and increasing the impact and effectiveness of our state, regional, and local governments. The development and implementation of a robust statewide data system has been a long-standing priority at California Competes, and I am excited to provide leadership and guidance for its next phase.

California Competes would also like to thank Bill Bogaard for his long-time service on our Leadership Council, from which he has now stepped down. As one of the Council’s founding members, he has had a profound impact on the organization’s history, impact, and trajectory. His expertise and leadership from his time as the mayor of Pasadena helped set the foundation for California Competes and guided us in advancing pragmatic yet impactful higher education policies.

We are also excited to welcome two new members to the California Competes team, expanding our capacity in research, policy, and communications.

Carolyn Ho joins us as our new Senior Communications Manager. Carolyn comes to us with nearly a decade of experience in nonprofit communications, including with John Burton Advocates for Youth, a policy and research organization, and most recently from the national business association Integrated Benefits Institute where she was Director of Communications.

Alejandra Acosta joins as our new Senior Policy and Research Analyst. She comes to us from New America where she conducted research and policy analysis on higher education. Before that, she worked at Lumina Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Alejandra holds a master's degree in higher education from University of Michigan and a bachelor’s from UCLA.

With strengthened ability for impact, California Competes looks forward to expanding our strategic partnerships and continuing our work to advance policies that will transform the state's system of higher learning into one that works for all.

Thank you for your attention to our progress and for your commitment to reimagining a 21st-century system of higher education for all Californians.


Su Jin Gatlin Jez, PhD
Executive Director
California Competes

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