Diversity in a learning institution challenges racial assumptions, promotes critical thinking, and allows students to interact effectively with people from varying backgrounds. Representation of minority groups in key leadership roles, including faculty positions, inspires young people to break stereotypes and reach their full potential. Élida Bautista is a brilliant woman of color who had to constantly deal with stereotypes, expectations, and lack of opportunities despite her academic strengths as a student. Élida regarded education as a protest against people who tried to discourage and suppress her due to her race and skin color. She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology by not letting others dictate her path in life while competing with other well-resourced students.
Élida Bautista is the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at Berkeley Haas. She leads strategic initiatives for students, faculty, and staff to create an inclusive climate and equip students to lead in a diverse world.
This episode highlights the importance of diversity among the faculty and student body in a learning institution that produces global business leaders.
On why college is a big risk for students who come from low-income families
00:16:10] The expectation was to financially contribute to the family. Because I was making a choice to go to college and not be in a position to contribute financially, I also was not in a position to ask for anything. It felt like a risk because there was no choice but to succeed. Failure was not an option.
On creating programs that produce Ph.D. students and attract faculty who are rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion
[00:34:02] Ph.D. program takes at least five years, depending on the student. So by the time somebody joins the faculty ranks and is teaching in that core course, it might take a few years to see the effects of what we put down now. But we have to start at least, you know, obviously, this is overdue, but at the very least we need to start to invest in that now, so that we see the fruits of those labors down the road, while we simultaneously make Haas a place that’s appealing for faculty who want to do research that is rooted in DEI, who want to mentor students across a variety of identities that have continued to be under-represented.
On mentoring as a way for alumni and current students to get more involved and promote DEI
[37:12:92] Mentoring is always another way that people can give back. If you don’t identify as somebody from an underrepresented group and you are in a position of privilege and power in your respective organization and the leadership position – that’s the opportunity to find somebody in your organization or at Haas. To mentor them and help them have access to those pathways that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
(Transcripts may contain a few typographical errors due to audio quality during the podcast recording.)
[00:00:04] Chris Kim: Welcome to the OneHaas Podcast; I’m Chris Kim. Today we have Dr. Élida Bautista, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Berkeley Haas. Dr. Bautista received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan and leads strategic diversity initiatives for Berkeley. Élida, thanks for joining us, and great to have you on the show.
[00:00:25] Élida Bautista: Thank you for inviting me.
[00:00:27] Chris Kim: At Berkeley Haas, Élida, you’re the face and the champion for all things DEI. Could you maybe share a bit about what you do at Haas briefly and what your experience has been since you joined a couple of years ago?
[00:00:41] Élida Bautista: Sure. So I just was recently appointed the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, but I’ve been serving in that role as an interim for the past year. So part of what the work is that I’ve been doing at that level is carrying out our 5-year DEI strategic plan. The three levels of that are increasing representation, ensuring that we’re offering skills to all stakeholders, so students, staff, alumni, administration, and cultivating a sense of belonging through programming and events that we offer. So at the high level, I sit in the Dean suite and am part of the management team. So I’m able to weigh in on school-level decisions, as well as advise our Dean. I’d say on a day-to-day basis, some of my work is anything from advising students on their DEI-focused projects or startups questions. They might have consultations, supporting programming that is put on by either our team, the DEI team, or by some of the student clubs and centers and working with our faculty with our associate deans of academic affairs to address all of the three areas of our strategic plan with regard to the faculty.
[00:02:04] Chris Kim: That’s awesome. I mean, folks at Haas now probably know Élida. I don’t want to raise you up too high, but you’re really like a hero for a lot of us. I mean, for me, one of the first presentations I saw was when you came to our new orientation for students, and you were just sharing kind of what your vision was and the work you were doing. And it’s super motivating, and it’s awesome to have you as our Chief DEI Officer here at Haas, so thank you so much. I just wanted to throw that out.
[00:02:32] Élida Bautista: That really means a lot to me.
[00:02:34] Chris Kim: A little bit of a fan as well.
[00:02:37] Élida Bautista: Thank you. It’s been really touching and inspiring to see how the community has rallied around my appointment as a Chief Diversity Officer. I definitely have felt the support from our students, alumni, and staff, but also like the partnership, right? Nobody that’s doing DEI work is doing it alone. It really takes all of us collectively. It helps to have somebody who’s leading the pack and has a vision, but ultimately our day-to-day actions toward each other and how we show up in the classroom or how we show up in co-curricular activities, that’s where it really shows up. And so I just have appreciated all of the partnerships from my colleagues that lead other units and how they’re integrating this into their own strategic plans and visions and practices within their teams, but also, how much of this work our students and our alumni continue to do and how they show up and everything from our alumni chapters, offering programming that has DEI focus to programs that our students put together, and curricular activities that our students offer to their peers. So, yeah. Thank you.
[00:03:52] Chris Kim: Could you share about, a bit about your background? I know for folks who have heard it, I mean, it’s an amazing story, but would you share just where did you grow up and what was that experience like?
[00:04:01] Élida Bautista: Sure. If you’ve heard me speak anywhere, I tend to always share that I was born and raised in Chicago, but I’ll say a little bit before that: my parents are both immigrants from Mexico. My dad and paternal grandfather both initially came to the US as farmworkers through a program that the US contracted labor from Mexico. So that’s the origin story. At some point, my mom and siblings joined and came as undocumented. And then eventually, I was born in Chicago, and different policies and laws in place at the time allowed us to give them permanent residency and eventually citizenship. But I grew up in Chicago at a time when I think all of us in that generation were benefiting from the gains that were made across a variety of civil rights movements that happened in the ’60s and early ’70s.
And so, not perfect, but in that era, we had our first Black mayor. We had our first woman mayor. All of my teachers were of a variety of different ethnicities. I had a Mexican teacher, Puerto Rican teacher, Filipino, Japanese, several Black teachers, Italian Polish, and I went to a better-resourced school. I think now as an adult, I can think critically that it would’ve been better to resource the local schools, but I was fortunate enough to have access to a school that had a lot to offer for me academically, that was stimulating. And that allowed me to have different opportunities and to grow up in a community that was in the school community, I should say that was incredibly diverse racially, ethnically, but also we had a program for students in particular that were hard of hearing or deaf and other students with other limited mobility or other special needs.
And so, we were all together outside at Reese’s, speaking a variety of languages, eating a variety of foods, playing every kind of game. You mentioned being Korean, like a lot of the students I went to school with were Korean. So, so I had a lot of childhood games, like paper scissors, rock was Kibo to my family, and to me like to this day, my siblings, we all call it Kibo. Oh, wow. So yeah, so I think that really influenced and shaped just my experience in the world going forward.
[00:06:34] Chris Kim: That’s awesome. Were you cognizant of what that experience was like when you were growing up, or is that something you realized after the fact?
[00:06:42] Élida Bautista: Let’s see, I think as it was happening, I was certainly aware that it was different from what was happening at home. Right. So, the community I was growing up within was primarily a Puerto Rican community, but there were a lot of families that from the same town that my parents were from and all of our extended family as well. So I was cognizant, for example, that I was eating ravioli for the first time in the school cafeteria and trying to introduce my mom to it; she was not having it.
[00:07:13] Chris Kim: Maybe a little different experience.
[00:07:16] Élida Bautista: I grew up catholic, and one of my best friends on the bus was Taiwanese. And she was the first person I ever knew who was not Christian. Right. And she very clearly let me know that early on in our friendship like that’s not everybody’s thing, and I was like, “Oh, okay.” That was the first time I was aware that different people believed different things. Probably where it really sunk in for me was when we spent summers growing up in Mexico. And when I was a teenager, we moved to California to a predominantly Mexican town that was primarily a farm working community. And I think that’s where I realized how special unique that it experience was to have grown up in this particular period in Chicago.
[00:08:04] Chris Kim: That’s awesome. Could you talk a little bit about that transition? I actually had a very similar experience where I moved in high school, and it was a very different experience. How did that influence you and change your perspective or your experience, especially in those critical years in high school you’re learning and developing and maybe think about what’s after high school?
[00:08:22] Élida Bautista: Absolutely. Sadly, one of the things that made me aware of was that Mexican students get tracked into the non-college future. I was definitely a straight student leader. I was in the student go yearbook. I was a nerd, not surprising. That’s how you end up getting a Ph.D. But it was a battle at every level to get access to the classes that I needed to go to college. And even in the colleges I applied to, the feedback I was getting from teachers and staff by and large was that that was not a path for me. It was the narrative across that town in school where kids just didn’t go to college from there who looked like me. So the expectations of where I would end up were clearly conveyed to me, so I had to constantly resist and prove them wrong.
And luckily, I had a couple of folks who pulled me aside and gave me the roadmap of where I wanted to go and how to get there. So it made all the difference, right? You just knew one person. For me, that was my student government advisor, who also knew that I was interested in pursuing psychology. And she planted that seed in my head that I needed to go straight through from undergrad to grad school, that it would be much harder later to get a master’s degree in counseling or something, which was when I was in high school. That’s what I was aiming for to pursue a Master’s in counseling. And then, once I got to college, I refined that to be a doctorate in clinical psych. So yeah, that was a harsh transition realizing how under resource, how targeted, how much stereotypes impacted that perception and expectation, and limited opportunities.
[00:10:18] Chris Kim: I always want to ask this, Élida, especially for me, at least, and I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen, because I know it happens and I’ve experienced it myself. When you see a bright young person who’s doing amazing things and someone like you, a self-described nerd, but super active in it and has so much promise, why do you think you were getting that negative feedback in terms of, or maybe not the type of feedback that you might just assume? Hey, this person’s probably going to go to college and be super successful, but you were saying you were experiencing quite the opposite. What do you think was there or motivating that?
[00:10:53] Élida Bautista: That’s a great question. I think part of it was like tempering my expectations. Right? I had, for example, an English teacher who thought I was, it was sort of this message of like, who do you think you are that I wasn’t applying to any Cal State Schools. I only applied to UCS and private schools, and she thought I needed a backup plan and that I was kind of overshooting. Because we were in this agricultural community, which, to be fair, I had no idea what was happening in other high schools throughout California. We, for example, only had that one AP class, which was the English AP. Whereas, I was competing with students from high schools whose whole curriculum was AP classes by their senior year. And so maybe they had that in mind that if they were worried that I was going to fall flat or that I was aiming too high coming from a small agricultural town, for example, to go to like a UC Berkeley is a big leap, right?
In terms of retention and graduation rates for Chicano Latino students in the UC Berkeley system at the time, I mean at UC Berkeley specifically, I should say. I don’t know if it was just so outside their norm that they didn’t know it was possible. Right? But I also wonder how impossible it was for folks because nobody was advising them on which classes to take. But one quick example is I really wanted to take a French class, and you’re required to take a foreign language to get into a UC, for example. And my counselor refused to let me register for French and instead registered me for Spanish, for native speakers, and the rationale despite my protesting was that I would never need or be able to use French. It was like, where do you think you’ll go in the world that that will be useful?
And that as a Mexican kid, I should learn how to speak and write Spanish correctly. So this was coming from somebody who was not fluent, and therefore they were making assumptions about my ability to speak Spanish correctly, which were incorrect. I had learned to read and write in Spanish first, so grammatically, and Spanish is very strong in other ways. It was all just an annoyance and frustration for me that I wasn’t being allowed to learn something new that would give me access to travel and potentially live in French-speaking countries. It was beyond their imagination of what was possible for somebody like me. I was like, how the heck do you think you’ll end up in Martinique, Paris or, Quebec or something?
[00:13:35] Chris Kim: They definitely underestimated you because you did go to an amazing school, from what I’ve heard. Could you maybe share where you ended up going to college and how you ended up deciding where you wanted to study?
[00:13:47] Élida Bautista: I went to Claremont Mckenna College in Southern California. I had my heart set on UC Berkeley, and I was going to be on Berkeley, no matter what; I knew this was where I was going to fit in. Because I was that little radical teenager, you know? And there was an extended visit at Claremont where they housed me with two Chicanas who were doing really amazing service work. For example, one of the things they did was tutor the cafeteria women on their citizenship tests. And there’s just a real spirit there that I appreciated. But I think ultimately why I decided to go to Claremont instead of UC Berkeley at that time was what I shared earlier. They shared with me all those statistics about retention and graduation. And there was this, “you’re guaranteed to graduate four years from the Claremont Colleges.”
Financial aid was stable as somebody who was first-generation and low income, I really needed to know that I had that financial support. I didn’t have financial support from my parents. I needed to make sure that I was taking this risk by going to college and not going immediately into the workforce, which was their preference or there at the time, understanding what would’ve been best. So I didn’t have a safety net. And I felt like Claremont was a safer package as a whole. And because of the small class size, I also knew that I would have opportunities for doing research early on, which would then set me up properly to get into graduate school. So that’s what led me down that path.
[00:15:25] Chris Kim: That’s crazy. I resonate so much with it because my own experience is very similar. Could you share maybe with folks who aren’t familiar, especially for first-generation college students or folks who don’t feel like that they have that safety net? You said college was like a risk. Most people probably don’t associate college with a risk, but could you share maybe a little bit of what that experience was like and why you felt like it was a risk? I definitely have experienced that in my own journey, but I would love if you could just share what was going through your mind because I’m sure other folks might be thinking about that or experiencing that even right now.
[00:15:59] Élida Bautista: Yeah. Well, I think, for one, it was all the messaging I was getting from the staff and teachers in the high school, but the pressures at home were that we were low income on public assistance. And so, my older siblings had gone directly into the workforce to help contribute back to the family expenses. California is super expensive compared to Chicago, and we were living in a farmworker community. So my older siblings went on to do essentially office work and order to meet all the family needs, not just rent and bills, but also they were helping out with the kids essentially, which is the rest of us. So the lack of income from me was negative for the family.
[00:16:51] Chris Kim: You just feel this sense of pressure, and this may be a little bit of guilt?
[00:16:56] Élida Bautista: Yeah. Oh definitely. So it’s like the, so part of it, why it felt like a risk is like the expectation was we need you to financially contribute to the family because I was choosing to go to college and not be in a position of financially contribute. I also was not in a position to ask for anything. Right. So it felt like a risk because there was no choice but to succeed.
[00:17:21] Chris Kim: Right. Failure was not an option.
[00:17:24] Élida Bautista: Exactly. Failure was just not an option like I had to do well in school and continue getting scholarships. I was on the cafeteria meal plan, and my food in housing was coming from this school, and I needed to just keep moving forward and make sure that I was doing everything that I could to make sure that I was gonna get into a Ph.D. program, which was also just not necessarily guaranteed, even if you’re going to a Claremont. I had known other students ahead of me that had tried to get in over multiple years and hadn’t gone, being able to go directly from undergrad into grad school. And so I knew there were no guarantees, but I also knew I had just to make sure that I was doing my best. And actually, I should say, my mom always said, there’s no shame in coming back home if it doesn’t work out, just come back home. So it was definitely just my own internalized pressure. I was like, no, I’m not coming back home. I’m going to go have this adventure.
[00:18:22] Chris Kim: Sounds like a very familiar story. But you were successful, and it goes without saying, I mean you were successful; you did get into a Ph.D. program and graduated with a degree in clinical psychology. Can you talk a bit about what that experience was like and also moving pretty far away from where you were at the time and then maybe even what was that post-academic or post Ph.D. experience like because you had a really prolific experience, I think after both in research and also in practice as well?
[00:18:53] Élida Bautista: So yeah, I went to the University of Michigan for my Ph.D. I was 21 at the time if you can believe it. The saving grace was probably that Ann Arbor is just a four-hour train ride from Chicago, and I still had family and friends in Chicago. So there was kind of a home away from home, which was going back to my roots, but it was really hard at that point in my life. I really wanted to be closer to my family, but I also knew that Michigan was a top-three school in psychology. And my undergrad professors had essentially said like, if you want to end up working in the UC System or in California, it helps to go away for school. You’ll be seen as more competitive if you get your degree from some of these other schools.
And so, it felt like a sacrifice and a blessing. I mean I had a full fellowship. Michigan is very resourced for people to research with; they had a great faculty. I knew that one of the reasons I chose Michigan was that there were multiple faculty that I could research with that had areas of focus that I was interested in about ethnic and racial identity development, acculturation, et cetera. And so, it was the right place for me in that regard. And I had a lot of opportunities for not just research but also for clinical practice rotations, given how few Spanish speakers there are, I was doing a lot of community work, and I got to do a lot of my research, both in Detroit and in Chicago. It felt like it was a good place for me to serve the community that I care about in ways that I knew were at least increasing some of that access; much of the work I ended up doing was focused on trauma, basically community violence, and domestic violence.
I was primarily working with Black and Latinx, and primarily Mexican communities. I still have a lot of stories of children, youth, and families that I worked with while I was there. Subsequently, I spent a year at UC Santa Barbara doing a fellowship, finishing up my dissertation teaching in their Chicano Studies department. And then, I spent my career at UCSF for about 15 years. Yeah. So I did my postdoc at UCSF, and then they recruited me to develop and run a training program for graduate students and residents that focused on developing them as culturally congruent providers who were trauma-informed, serving the community in San Francisco. So we were based at San Francisco General Hospital, and I got to do a lot of really great creative interventions essentially in rotations that we built out there. So, both in our pediatric outpatient to school-based to community-based sites head starts. So it was all the things that I wanted to do when I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. and then toward the latter side of my career and I was on faculty most of that time. And I got to then work with the Vice-Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach to develop curriculum and training for leadership across UCSF and all of the various schools.
[00:22:18] Chris Kim: That’s amazing. Could you share a bit of what type of training or consulting you did with the folks in UCSF? I know for a lot of folks they may have experienced it, or they know of other folks who would’ve benefited from this training, but could you share a bit about that training and the impact that this type of training helps with either folks who are in the health system or even staff or other folks as well?
[00:22:46] Élida Bautista: Sure. So the training program was essentially a rotation year-long for graduate students in psychology or psychiatry residents. We had social work students at times, psychiatric nurses, and essentially all of our whole approach in that program was both in terms of the curriculum and our style of clinical supervision, our actual interventions, and how we conducted our evaluations, our assessment intakes was to have a culturally informed approach where we were partnering with families as the expert in their experience, right? So we operated from a framework of cultural humility and took it into consideration. What are the evidence-based interventions that were these based on in the research, and how might we adapt them to fit the communities that we’re serving, where there are multiple types of traumas, many more incidents of trauma that they experience. And how can we use that to understand what they’re presenting with psychologically?
And it was a mental health outpatient clinic for children, youth, and families. And predominantly, part of that approach was how do we meet them, where they’re at in the community to reduce that barrier of access so they didn’t have to come to the general hospital where we were physically located in an inpatient unit, even though we were in the outpatient clinic. All of that does to the stigma of receiving care or even seeking care is different from the lady that’s down the hall in the office at the school, right? Or I come to the head start and sit with them all. And so that was the approach to the training to become community providers at that kind of higher systemic level. It was with deans and chairs to understand these concepts, but also really change policies and processes on anything from admissions to hiring, to increase that representation across the health sciences.
[00:25:01] Chris Kim: That’s awesome. And I can imagine for so many folks who come from diverse backgrounds, they probably just appreciate even people considering that and taking that into consideration when you’re engaging somebody else.
[00:25:13] Élida Bautista: And concepts of illness, whether it’s physical or mental, are so culturally bound, right? Like we all have different understandings of what we’re presenting with, especially, and how to treat it. And so, even making room for a conversation about how people are going about treating themselves, right? Like who are the types of practitioners they seek out and how might we work with them? To ensure that we were supporting their mental health and their functioning by involving the community members, whether they are somebody who are more seeking out a spiritual person in their community. I was raised more with herbal remedies and essentially what would massage here, they were called sobadas, and so more like indigenous practices for me. Oddly enough, once I grew up as an adult, acupuncture was more accessible to me, but there’s such an overlap in that approach to understanding illness and treatment.
So it’s just making room; I don’t know what that looks like for you and the culture that you’re from. So I want to understand that so that we can come up with what’s going to work for you. I certainly know that mindfulness is an evidence-based intervention for trauma and PTSD, anxiety, et cetera. But what is meditation or mindfulness look like for you in practice? Maybe that’s singing on the gospel in your church, right? Maybe that’s not going for a walk in a neighborhood where it doesn’t feel safe to go for a walk.
[00:26:54] Chris Kim: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, in tech, we always talk about thinking about the user, but it’s almost the same way you’re using that evidence-based approach to say, think about the patient or think about the person. And that’s awesome. You had a great career at UCSF, but an interesting business school a couple of years ago, I thought it would be very good for us to bring you over into the Bay at Berkeley Haas. Can you share a bit about what that was like in that transition? Why did you decide to move, and what has that experience been like the past couple of years?
[00:27:26] Élida Bautista: Actually, Dr. Renee Navarro, who is the vice-chancellor of diversity and outreach at UCSF was the one that suggested I look at the job description. And at the time, I had actually multiple people in my life sent me this particular job description. And I was like, what is going on, Universe? Telling my initial conversation with her, I was like, I’m not sure I can see myself at a business school. I’ve been at the general hospital all these years. I very much saw myself as a community-based person, you know? And she said, well, just do me a favor, look at like really read the job description and look at the website. You might be surprised, like, you just think about it. Like, I just want you to actually, she’s like, maybe you just send in the application.
You can always say no, and she’s like, I think you’re gonna really like it there. And I think it’s a really great opportunity for you. You know she had been suggesting associate vice chancellor of diversity roles at some of the other UCs, and I just wasn’t ready to relocate to that level. And I think she saw this particular role because it was in the business school to be elevated enough to be a great opportunity for me in my career. And having so many people then follow up and send it to me as well. I was really just like, all right, let me look at this website here. And I was honestly just blown away. I had no idea that business school could look like this. And so what I like to say to my friends who are like, how did that happen?
For a business school, Haas is very Berkeley. For Berkeley, Haas is very much a business school, right? And so that’s where the growth and opportunity is in terms of our ability to pursue diversity, equity, and inclusion as a priority, and to be a role model and leader for other business schools. And when I first arrived, I certainly felt like we had a long way to go. There were some leaps that needed to be made, but I also found a whole community rallying in that direction, right? A community of alums of students, of both senior leaders who were just ready to partner. I think part of what happened as well-positioned me to be able to lead these initiatives. When I first arrived, all of the folks on my panel of interviewers were assistant deans of the various degree programs. And so, even in the interview process, I was being positioned as a peer who would be partnering with them to carry this workout, to ensure that it was being distributed through all our degree programs, through our alumni relations, our career management, and throughout our units.
[00:30:23] Chris Kim: That’s awesome. I mean, at Haas, for folks who haven’t been at Haas for a while or thinking about coming to Haas, Haas is really a different business school. It’s like heart and head; it’s the feelings, the business, the numbers, and the feelings; it’s all the right things you would hope for. I mean, not perfect for sure. All the right things you would hope to have in a leader, I think you can find at least one person, if not multiple people at Haas, who are great examples of that.
[00:30:51] Élida Bautista: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s our defining leadership principles are very accurately reflective of the culture is certainly there are pockets that we still need to continue to cultivate more belonging, the relationships and the pipelines and partnerships that will allow us to increase the diversity. So there is a lot more work to do, absolutely. But I am always reassured by the level of partnership that I see in who shows up. And I know there are also always going to be folks that are not quite sure or are worried about backlash or direction, but I can at least have a conversation with them about what’s behind that. And how can I address it and support them in getting beyond that fear?
[00:31:42] Chris Kim: What of the areas that you’ve been excited about or stoked about in terms of the progress that we’ve made at Haas, and what are some of the areas that we can definitely make more improvement or need to make more improvement from your view as our Chief DEI Officer?
[00:31:55] Élida Bautista: I’d say some of the areas that we’ve had significant gains are in our admissions process across our MBA program in particular, we’ve had some increases in representation for URMs, and that is absolutely due to the types of partnerships and our ability to increase that transparency and trust and acknowledge and own what had been those struggles. In the past, we were able to increase the amount of financial aid and scholarships that we could offer, which made us more competitive. So those were areas where I think we made some major gains. I’d say where we continue to have some challenges. And I’m excited about the opportunities to address these challenges is in our Ph.D. program and our faculty. Our ability to produce more diverse faculty across business schools is gonna rely on ensuring that we have a more diverse Ph.D. student body across business schools.
So I think that’s both a challenge and an opportunity to lead and model and support other business schools to do the same because we can’t be the only ones doing that. And then those students would get recruited obviously by other universities. So we also need to make sure that we’re bringing more people into the pool as a whole. And so we recently got a million-dollar gift from Allan Holt, class of 76, I believe. We’re using part of that to create an endowment for our scholarships, for students who commit to diversity, which we hadn’t had in the past; this will be a new endowment. And then the other portion we’re using toward creating a postdoc and supporting our faculty to increase diversity in their curriculum. So that’s the work that’s ahead of us; unfortunately, those are longer-term fixes like a Ph.D. program takes five years.
So by the time, at least depending on the student. And so, by the time somebody joins the faculty ranks and is teaching in that core course, it might take a few years to see the effects of what we put down now, but we have to start at least. Obviously, this is overdue, but at the very least, we need to start to invest in that now so that we see the fruits of those labors down the road, while we simultaneously also make Haas a place that’s appealing for faculty who want to do research that is rooted in DEI, who want to mentor students across a variety of identities that have continued to be underrepresented. I think one area that’s pretty glaring besides URM representation is the continued underrepresentation of women across our faculty and all our degree programs, to be honest.
That being said, I think the other challenge that we have is that we don’t have accurate data, and the campus doesn’t collect data on disability, LGBTQ status, and religious minorities. There are a number of communities that have been, uh, historically excluded that we don’t know to what extent they’re represented at Haas or at other business schools or in the graduate student ranks to be able to address those gaps meaningfully. But I think again like we’re trying to find ways to gather that data so that we can better track any progress and have that targeted outreach in the communities as well.
[00:35:48] Chris Kim: Élida, we definitely appreciate you coming on and sharing your story and everything that you’ve been doing at Haas. Anything you want to highlight in terms of the future, as kind of our champion, the face of all the good work that everyone’s doing here at Haas as well, and any thoughts on how alumni and our current students can get more involved and promote diversity equity and inclusion, not just on campus at Haas, but like out outside of that, even in the world that we live in.
[00:36:17] Élida Bautista: Thank you for asking that. I would say there are a number of ways that our alumni can be involved for one; they can hire Haasies of course. For our alumni who are excited about our initiatives and wanna help Haas really be a leader in this space and develop this reputation as the place to go, if you are interested in DEI scholarship, funding helps, partnerships, there are a number of events that we see corporate sponsors for all, particular plug for a recent scholarship fund that we have developed in partnership with the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Black MBA Association. And that will be to increase the diversity representation in our evening weekend program in particular. Mentoring is always another way that people can give back.
If you don’t identify as somebody from an underrepresented group, and you are in a position of privilege and power in your respective organization, in the leadership position, the opportunity is to find somebody in your organization or at Haas to mentor them and help them access those pathways that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Having somebody willing to give you that roadmap like my student government teacher did in high school. To say, here are the classes you need to take; if you apply to private schools, they’re going to have financial aid, so apply to private schools and then go directly to graduate school, if you can. That was the roadmap, that Intel, that I wouldn’t have otherwise known because nobody in my circle had graduated from college or pursued a graduate degree.
And so I think those are the possibilities for our alumni who want to know what I can do? How can I get involved? If you’re in a position to give at absolutely give, if you are in an organization with underrepresented folks, pull that person inside and see how you might be able to support them in their path, check in on them, and offer them opportunities to serve on a board or serve on a committee. That’s going to advance them in their career. That’s going to give them visibility. That will give them access to other leaders for those from underrepresented communities, who are like, I see what Haas is doing. I want to get engaged and involved; we are always looking to diversify the curriculum and to bring in more diverse voices. So, reach out and reach back, be a guest speaker in a class, connect with a faculty member connect with our speaker series. All of those areas of access are important. So yeah. Or reach out to me; I’d be happy to have a conversation with you about our initiatives. And if you want to get more specific steps forward, if there’s something that you heard that excited you, you can use an endowed chair.
[00:39:29] Chris Kim: We always say at Haas that you gotta put your money where your mouth is. So if we’re in it, we’re in it to win it.
[00:39:37] Élida Bautista: Yeah. And you mentioned that you’re in the Eagle course right now. I just wanted to say that they have a number of resources for the private sector that are playbooks that can be found on the Eagle website as well. If folks aren’t sure where to start. One of the things that are on the Eagle website is commitments that different alumni have made for how they will essentially get involved, in particular, in racial justice, but in DEI as a whole.
[00:40:04] Chris Kim: Absolutely. Yeah. I think we’ll try to include some of those links in the description so that folks can just see it and get connected as well. Well, Élida, it’s been so awesome to have you here before we end, I like to do some rapid-fire questions if you’ll be open to it. Not super controversial; maybe for some, they might be.
We’ll do one. First question, Chicago or California?
[00:40:35] Élida Bautista: Really. Are you’re going to say that’s not going to be controversial?
[00:40:40] Chris Kim: Not that controversial.
[00:40:41] Élida Bautista: You’re right at heart. I can’t pick, I guess, there’s, I love Chicago through and through, but I do love living in California. So that’s what I’ll say.
[00:40:56] Chris Kim: Yeah. As someone who used to travel to Chicago for work, I definitely understand the beauty and charm in Chicago. And I also do love living here. Second question, one person or leader you admire can be professionally or personally someone you admire or respect.
[00:41:13] Élida Bautista: I’m going to have to go with Harriet Tubman. A byproduct of growing up in Chicago when I did, I was obsessed with reading everything about her throughout my childhood. And I just think she was such an incredible leader in a number of ways. And I hold her in my thoughts often.
[00:41:32] Chris Kim: Second to last one, a memory or experience that you’ve had that just stays with you and is precious or something that you cherish.
[00:41:37] Élida Bautista: I got to be part of a lion conservation program in Zimbabwe, and I was at Victoria Falls. So just that time that I got to spend with the lion cubs daily was a life’s dream. And as part of that trip, I went down to Cape Town in South Africa for a few days and just got to sit at a table mountain and reflect on everything that had come about in my life at that point. And it was just really hard to believe, to be honest, I sat there and watched the sunset and just cried. I just can’t believe this is my life that I get to be on the other side of the world doing something that’s been in my dreams for years, which is to connect with lions and just being able to travel and have the means to do so was not what anybody would’ve imagined for my path given where I started. And so that particular memories is very precious to me.
[00:42:44] Chris Kim: That’s awesome. And then last but not least, one thing or something that either in your personal or maybe your professional life that you’re excited for when it comes to the future?
[00:42:54] Élida Bautista: I just became a homeowner. I can’t believe this is my life, and it’s just really, really exciting. So I’m looking forward to moving in and settling in and really calling this home in a way that feels stable. It’s pretty amazing.
[00:43:16] Chris Kim: Well, Élida, we want to just thank you again for being on the show today. I’m sure you’ve inspired a whole crowd of people as you inspire us at Haas every day. And we’re glad to have you and very appreciative and looking forward to all the amazing things ahead.
[00:43:32] Élida Bautista: Thank you so much. Thanks for inviting me, giving me a platform, and having a conversation really appreciate it.