Appointment Announcement: Senior Advisor on Equity and Belonging

The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Stephen C. Sutton sent the following message to all Student Affair staff on 08/31/20:

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Layla Naranjo (she/her/hers) has agreed to provide leadership through a new role for the division as Senior Advisor on Equity and Belonging. Effective September 1st, the role will have a dotted reporting line to me and a direct reporting line to Assistant Vice Chancellor/Chief Operating Officer Jo Mackness. To ensure that this important work permeates our entire organization, Layla will be an ex officio member for the Student Affairs executive team as advisor and consultant, providing an anti-racist and equity lens to our discussions, decision-making, and processes. As part of her work, she will support the coordination of equity, belonging, and anti-racist work across the division; partner with campus leaders to align on priorities, strategies and resources; and chair our newly developed Divisional Advisory Board on Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging focused on combating discrimination, racism and anti-Blackness.

For the past several years as Senior Organizational Consultant, and under the leadership of Susan Roach, a growing amount of her work has focused on advancing equity and inclusion within the Division. While this will be the largest part of her new portfolio, she will also continue to serve the division as an organizational and performance consultant. Other aspects of her work, such as identifying and facilitating trainings and the professional development funds, will be managed by Sabina Morgan and others in the division.

While this new role will support our ability to envision, crystallize, and operationalize our efforts, equity and anti-racist work is the responsibility of all of us. We must continue to critically examine our complicity in the structures and systems that have been set up to exclude and marginalize BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), engage in our individual unlearning, and pivot into concrete changes in our policy and practice that will yield non-racist outcomes.    

About Layla
Layla has over 16 years of professional experience at UC Berkeley with a broad range of roles and at various levels within the organization including work on the recruitment, orientation, retention, and degree completion of underrepresented students as well as organizational development, leadership, and management. She leads with an equity lens, identifies needs for both students and staff, develops plans to address structural gaps, and implements successful and measurable initiatives.

In her most recent role as Senior Organizational Consultant for the Division of Student Affairs she worked with departmental leaders to impact organizational culture and provide tailored trainings. She also coordinated the professional development funds and launched the Collaboration and Belonging training series, which recently pivoted to focus on combating anti-Black racism.

Prior to her current role, she was the interim Associate Director for Residential Life where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of single-student housing. As interim Associate Director of Residential Life, Layla led the restructuring of processes to address inequities in their student staffing model. As a result, she leveraged and re-envisioned positions to provide access to student populations who had been unintentionally discouraged from applying.

For 12 years, Layla worked with the Incentive Awards Program (IAP) which focused on access, recruitment, retention, and degree completion of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. During her time with IAP, she held multiple roles serving as an outreach specialist to high schools to identify a diverse pool of applicants, an academic counselor, an assistant director, and ultimately the director.  As director of IAP, Layla led the development and implementation of several initiatives to increase the pool of underrepresented high school student applicants to UC Berkeley. As a result of her efforts, over 60% of IAP applicants identified as underrepresented (triple the campus average at the time), including 11% Black, 43% Chicanx/Latinx, and 88% Pell Grant or Dream Aid eligible.

Her experience on and leading CSAC (Chancellor’s Staff Advisory Committee) and, more recently, serving in the role as organizational consultant in the Chancellor’s Immediate Office gave Layla valuable insight and broad perspective of how to ensure the work of Student Affairs is always connected to, aligned with and mutually supportive of the overall campus vision.

Please join me in congratulating Layla in her new role.


Stephen C.Sutton
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs