Laura Cerruti headshot with winery background

Position Title
Chief Impact Officer (Strategic Communications and Reporting)

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
Mrak 129

In my role as Chief Impact Office, I have the honor of reporting on the great work that our division and the campus are doing to advance our campus's vision for diversity, equity and inclusion. My current projects include working with our K-16 Regional Education Collaborative and collaborating with our Campus and Community Relations team to launch IDARE on the Davis campus. I sit on our Vice Chancellor's leadership council and oversee our communications portfolio.

I have more than 15 years of experience in higher education, nonprofits and publishing. Throughout my career at the University of California, I have been fortunate to work with many smart, caring, and fascinating people, managing challenging projects and working on initiatives of strategic importance. I arrived at UC Davis in 2014 to support the committee tasked with writing a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion, then subsequently supported a committee to envision what it means for UC Davis to be a Hispanic-Serving Institution. My main role was to synthesize a significant amount of information, data, and ideas into materials relevant to the planning committee and their planning process. I led a design-thinking activity at several engagement forums (including one for nearly 300 people) that generated lively discussions and ideas for our work. I’ve also been responsible for telling the story of diversity at UC Davis through data, producing institutional research reports and data visualizations that look at our institution through a diversity lens. I was certified as a ProSci Change Practitioner in 2017, and I believe in the role of data in managing resistance and building awareness and desire for institutional transformation. I have served on the UC Davis Status of Women at Davis Administrative Advisory Committee (SWADAAC) since 2015.

I also spent over a decade at UC Press, the publishing arm of the University of California. As an acquisitions editor and the director of digital content development, I worked on emerging issues around scholarly publishing and digital media. I helped start a monograph publishing service for UC research centersrejuvenated the Mark Twain Publishing program, built out our global and multicultural poetry lists, and helped re-launch a natural history book series that served as the foundation for an expanded science publishing program. I was invited to present on some of these issues at national industry conferences, including the American Association of University Presses, the Associated Research Libraries, and the Charleston Library Conference. I was also an expert user of our title and inventory databases and helped design user interfaces and reports related to those systems.

I have an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley Walter A. Haas School of Business and attended UC Davis as an undergraduate student, earning a B.A. in English.

Why I do DEI Work

I want to be a part of solving big challenging global problems, where I'm constantly learning and growing. It's one of the reasons I was a book editor, why I acquired the books that I did, why I worked on issues related to digital scholarship and open access publishing, and why I have stayed in higher education for so many years.

I enjoy engaging people from different backgrounds who think differently than I do. I have actively pursued opportunities to consult with a company with a tech team in India, worked on a project for a Latinx nonprofit, and supported a team working on sustainable cities in the Middle East. Ultimately, these projects led me to a career in DEI, where I could also apply my skills as a writer, data wonk, and organizational specialist.

I have long believed our educational system is foundational to real and lasting change in the world, which is why I have committed my career to this field. In my personal life, I've enrolled my children in a dual immersion Spanish-English school because I believe supporting multilingualism and multiculturalism is good for brains and equity.

I have been fortunate to work flexibly, remotely, and part-time at stages in my life when my family needed me most. I want others to have these same opportunities. Transforming workplaces and classrooms to work better for working families is essential for social mobility and equity, and it will benefit our economy as a whole.


Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.


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