Lalitha Sankaran

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Lalitha Sankaran leads the UCOP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) department with the charge to lead EDI and anti-racism efforts across UCOP. She is currently focused on architecting and executing a long-term unified strategy to advance shared ownership of EDI efforts and advancing a culture of anti-racism at UCOP. 

In her prior roles, Lalitha led the newly established Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at the San Mateo Medical Center, County of San Mateo, where she developed a roadmap and strategic framework for the work. She also partnered with teams across Kaiser Permanente to drive inclusion of patient demographic data, specifically sexual orientation and gender identity in approximately 10M electronic medical records.

Lalitha is a first-generation immigrant who values alone time and appreciates the power of good chocolate in her everyday life. In her professional practice, Lalitha identifies as an imperfect leader, a deep listener, and a continual learner.

Dennis McIver
EDIB Program Manager

Dennis McIver leads, develops and maintains the overall strategic plan for the staff affinity and employee resource groups (ERGs). He works with ERG and affinity group leaders to center employee voices and interests while ensuring alignment with, and advancement of presidential objectives and UCOP strategy. Dennis partners with key stakeholders, ERGs and Human Resources to strengthen ERG infrastructure and lead delivery of an annual ERG Summit to enhance ERG leadership competencies and advance UCOP’s anti-racism and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) agenda. He is a vital contributor to the UCOP anti-racism and EDI strategy and plan and organization-wide initiatives and priorities.

Dennis joined UC in 2015, and his experience in higher education includes finance, academic advising, athletic compliance, admissions and academic records. Dennis' UC service includes nearly seven years at UC, Riverside before coming to UCOP. He has extensive experience as a staff leader, and currently serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA). He also co-founded the Black Leadership Alliance Council at the University of California (BLAC@UC).

Dennis earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Maryland where he was an inaugural recipient of the Geppi-Aikens award, and member of the Green and Grey Society. Dennis also earned master’s degrees from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and University of Baltimore. He is pursuing a PhD in Leadership Studies at California Baptist University where his research examines higher education staff leadership development through employee resource groups.

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Dennis enjoys learning new things, watching documentaries and travelling with his wife. His greatest accomplishments include returning to school after 15 years and driving across the U.S. by himself in less than two days.

Anne Marie Ferruzzi
EDI Business Partner

Anne Marie is an EDI business partner and serves as a strategic advisor to UCOP divisions and departments in their assessment, planning and execution of EDI and anti-racism goals and initiatives.

Prior to UCOP, she worked with the UC San Diego Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer investigating minority health and health disparities through the School of Medicine, where she supported cultural competency initiatives and an education pipeline for underrepresented minority students and faculty to diversify the health care workforce. She also led EDI professional development and initiatives for one of California's largest public-school networks, focused on post-secondary preparation and empowerment among its majority BIPOC students.

Anne Marie graduated from UC San Diego and completed fellowships in Leading for Equity and Rebel Host Leadership with the National Equity Project, and is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and improving health and education outcomes for historically marginalized populations.

Anne Marie identifies as a multi-racial, cisgender, heterosexual woman, originally from the Bay Area, and loves to salsa dance, scuba dive, rock climb and play piano.

Natalie Rios
Administrative Officer

A member of the University of California community since 2019, Natalie Rios joined UCOP as an administrative officer supporting the Strategy and Program Management Office (SPMO), Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) department, and Systemwide Community Safety from UC Merced, where she worked alongside the chancellor’s office supporting executive leadership.

As an administrative professional, Natalie has over 20 years of experience leading teams, people, projects and processes. During her time at UC Merced, Natalie helped lay the foundation for the executive support team, assisted with important dignitary visits, and helped ensure leadership had the proper day-to-day executive support while working with campus leadership and key partners.

Prior to UC, Natalie worked for local faith-based nonprofit organizations for over a decade, serving her community of Merced, California. She worked closely with her community, coordinated volunteers to provide services and support others, and managed fundraisers.

Natalie earned her bachelor's degree in business, with a project management focus, from the University of Phoenix online while working a full-time job. She thrives in project leadership roles and bringing teams together to reach goals. She is known for sharing excitement for teamwork, camaraderie, encouragement, and excellent problem-solving skills.

Natalie also brings a positive attitude with a passion for networking and collaborating. In 2023, she spearheaded the UC Merced Ladies on the Move Team through the UC Walks Challenge, which placed UC Merced ahead of the curve against all UC campuses.

Natalie is a Latina, heterosexual woman, who enjoys spending her free time in the gym, running, relaxing on a beach, finding good food to eat, or spending time with her son and daughter-in-law.