Each day until Aug. 18 Berkeley News will host a series of Q&As featuring 18 unsung heroines on staff from all corners of the campus. The series will culminate on Aug. 18 with a special edition of Berkeley Campus Conversations, featuring four remarkable female staffers:
- Cruz Grimaldo, assistant vice chancellor and director of the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office
- Sunny Lee, assistant vice chancellor and dean of students
- Mia Settles-Tidwell, assistant vice chancellor in the Division of Equity and Inclusion
- Charmin Smith, head coach of Cal women’s basketball
The fifth woman honored as part of this series is Alisha Klatt a training and instructional design specialist for UC Berkeley’s Environment, Health and Safety office.
You were nominated by several colleagues as an unsung staff heroine for “building a sense of belonging and empowerment for the LGBTQIA+ community at UC Berkeley and for being dedicated to diversity and inclusion.” How have you done this?
I feel so honored by the nomination and grateful to work with an inspiring team of volunteers for LavenderCal. I organize and co-lead monthly happy hours to help build connections within our campus LGBTQIA+ community. This is continuing the legacy of the previous and current volunteer coordinators, Sharon Page-Medrich and Cat Ming Hubbard.
During the happy hour gatherings, I facilitate discussions that allow participants to share how they find inspiration, meaning and contribute to the community. This helps foster personal and professional connections. I’ve also begun mentoring other LGBTQIA+ professionals on campus through LavenderCal.
Outside of work, I am a board member for the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP), a non-profit organization creating empowering representation for queer women, transgender and non-binary people of color in film. As someone who is mixed-heritage, I had the opportunity to learn video storytelling skills from this organization. I work with the staff and other board members to fundraise for video production workshops and help organize the annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival.
Who is a female staff member (non-academic) that you admire on campus and why?
I am inspired by Victoria Williams, who has coordinated 165 consecutive monthly Lavender lunches. She has shown incredible dedication to developing connections within the LGBTQIA+ community for over 13 years. I admire how Victoria has maintained ongoing engagement and enthusiasm for her work and volunteer efforts.
What future aspirations do you have at UCB?
I’m thankful for the staff organizations that have given me a sense of community personally and professionally. I’d like to increase my participation with campus organizations supporting social justice work. At UC Berkeley, I’ve been inspired by the dedicated volunteers from LavenderCal and other identity-based staff organizations. I’d like to collaborate with all these amazing folx to support intersectional community building.