City Manager David White has selected Paolo Velasco to lead the City’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as its Equity and Inclusion Manager. In this role, Velasco will strengthen a culture of equity and inclusion that builds on significant progress the City has made over the last two years, through efforts by Equity and Inclusion Officers (EIOs) in every City department.
“Paolo brings a wealth of knowledge and experience building programs and initiatives that raise up diverse voices and build a more inclusive institutional culture,” said City Manager David White. “We are excited to have him in Santa Monica to help expand our DEI efforts both inside the organization and within the Santa Monica community.”
Velasco comes to the City from UCLA where he has spent the past 19 years advancing DEI efforts on campus. Since 2012, he has served as Director of the UCLA Bruin Resource Center where he has led the development of programs and services focused on advancing the understanding and support of diverse and marginalized communities, promoting positive intergroup dialogue and ally-building, and fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity.
He has established programs serving diverse student communities including foster youth, students who have experienced houselessness, system-impacted students, student veterans, and undocumented students.
“I have dedicated my professional career to supporting individuals’ education and success, building and empowering communities, and advancing values of equity and inclusivity.
My experiences have taught me that the critical changes that are needed in our society can best be achieved when diverse communities come together and engage in the difficult yet inspiring work of coalition building,” said Velasco. “I am excited to join the
City of Santa Monica and to contribute to an organization and a community that is striving to cultivate a diverse, inclusive, and fair environment where everyone can thrive and feel a sense of belonging.”
As Equity and Inclusion Manager, Velasco will serve on the leadership team of the City Manager’s Office, working organization wide to build on the strong groundwork laid by the City’s equity team that stepped into action in 2020 to join the movement against systemic racism and to better live the City’s values of equity and inclusion.
Velasco has served as a manager, lecturer, research analyst, health educator, and training facilitator. He holds a master’s degree in higher education and organizational change and a bachelor’s in American literature and culture, both from UCLA.
He starts September 19 with an annual salary of $155,580.
Submitted by Constance Farrell, Acting Chief Communications Officer