Lisette Garcia named assistant VP of diversity, inclusion and belonging

November 02, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Lisette Garcia has been named assistant vice president of diversity, inclusion and belonging reporting to the vice president for Human Resources. Garcia, who has almost a decade of research and leadership experience in corporate diversity and inclusion, most recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) in Washington, D.C. Garcia will begin her appointment on Nov. 23.

Garcia has a wide range of experience in overseeing operational work, designing and implementing strategic plans, fostering community and corporate partnerships, conducting research and leading data collection and analysis and designing tools and processes for measuring diversity-related efforts in corporate practice. Before her most recent role as executive vice president and chief operating officer at HACR, Garcia held multiple leadership roles at the organization, such as senior vice president, senior director of research and communications, and director of research. Before her time at HACR, Garcia served as a study director for the Women of Color Policy Network in the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She began her career as an adjunct professor in sociology at Montclair State University.

Garcia began her career at HACR by serving as the sole member of the research institute, tasked with revitalizing the institute and charting its strategic plan. She expanded the institute to include three full-time team members, produce numerous publications and conference presentations on the institute’s original research, and advance HACR’s Corporate Inclusion Index, which is widely viewed today as the key source for information on Hispanic inclusion in corporate America. As Garcia steadily progressed within leadership positions at HACR, she began working directly with corporate partners to assess and report out on their diversity plans and goals to C-suite stakeholders.  

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Lisette Garcia to Penn State. Her skills and expertise will be essential in the development of new initiatives that will support diversity, inclusion and belonging across the University, and her collaborative approach will allow her to effectively engage with others doing diversity, inclusion and belonging work at Penn State,” said Lorraine Goffe, vice president for Human Resources and chief human resources officer. “I look forwarding to working with Dr. Garcia and am confident her efforts will make a strong and lasting impact as we continue working to create equitable and inclusive work environments throughout the Penn State community.”

The role of assistant vice president for diversity, inclusion and belonging is designed to support University leadership’s ongoing commitment to fostering and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion. In this role, Garcia will lead the development and implementation of strategies to improve diversity, equity and inclusion to create a culture of belonging at Penn State, while partnering with Human Resources leaders in the areas of talent acquisition and talent management with the goal of integrating equity and inclusion into University policies, programs and services. This new role will also partner with other leaders across the organization, serving as a resource to those doing diversity, equity and inclusion work within their units to create common goals, introduce consistent ways of measuring progress, and establish an integrated approach to diversity at Penn State. 

“I am excited to join the HR team and to have the opportunity to serve the University as the new assistant vice president for diversity, inclusion and belonging. This work is fundamental to the University’s mission and I am eager to get us moving towards greater diversity, inclusion and belonging across all campuses in the commonwealth,” said Garcia. “As the commonwealth’s premier land-grant institution responsible for providing transformative educational opportunities to our students, it is crucial that the faculty, staff and technical service employees reflect the diversity that exists in our broader society. Only through fully embracing the value diversity, inclusion and belonging bring to the table, will we be able to continue to positively impact the world through education, research and engagement.”

Garcia is an active member of the Southern Sociological Society, where she serves as a member of the executive committee and as chair of the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion task force. She also serves as chair of the equity and inclusion committee for the American Association of University Women. Garcia is a member of the Minority Fellowship Advisory Panel in the American Sociological Association, and in recent years, she served as a member of the organization’s Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy Advisory Panel. Garcia received the NCID Exemplary Diversity Scholar Citation for her contributions to diversity-related research, practice and teaching, and she has been the recipient of numerous academic awards and honors.

Garcia received her doctorate in sociology from Ohio State and her master’s degree in sociology from Virginia Tech. She also holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in labor and industrial relations and another in sociology from Penn State.

Last Updated November 02, 2020