Executive Search

Berkeley Executive Search
Berkeley Executive Search logo

Berkeley Executive Search is the internal executive search service at the University of California, Berkeley. Our goal is to search, identify, and present qualified and diverse candidates to our senior leadership and hiring authorities. We partner and advise, and we work diligently and with integrity and service-focus.

Berkeley Executive Search logo About Berkeley Executive Search

Berkeley Executive Search (BES) is an executive search program that began at the University of California, Berkeley. We provide our services to the entire University of California (UC) system. As employees of the UC, our goal is to contribute to the higher education missions of teaching, research, and public service, which are shaped by discovery and knowledge advancement. We are driven by the spirit of California entrepreneurship and the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Senior executives and leaders in higher education have the opportunity to directly impact campus communities and cultures and the effectiveness of their organizations in serving faculty, staff, and students. With that understanding, BES is committed to searching for the right matches between the institution’s current and future critical needs and the people at the specific time of their career and life to contribute to the leadership in serving the campus and missions.

From our background with the UC, we bring a mixture of: understanding of broad education institutional goals and needs, nuances of higher education organizational structures, and a commitment to the missions, values, and access of higher education. We possess experiences and expertise in the opportunities and challenges associated with searching for and recruiting senior level talent for a large, matrixed, research intensive academic campus. We are aware of the importance in building relationships with hiring authority and various stakeholders associated with each search as well as in advising prospective candidates with the navigation of organizational complexities and their career goals. We work to ensure the strategic alignment between the hiring authority and organization with the individual who will bring value and leadership to their team, the organization, and the institution.

As each search is different, we partner and collaborate with executives, hiring teams and search committees with diverse perspectives to understand the function, the critical business needs, and the desired outcome and impact for the ideal candidate(s). We engage with hiring authorities and their stakeholders to learn how best to partner & provide support. We research and learn about the organization and position, advise on the role and the search strategy, conduct extensive nationwide outreach to strengthen and diversify the pool, and manage the complex process steps to strive for alignment among the search participants for a positive and successful outcome. We work to include excellence and inclusion in each of our searches. We understand complex higher education structures and its challenges and opportunities. We have demonstrated successes in filling various senior level and challenging searches.

Please contact James Kao, Assistant Director, Berkeley Executive Search, regarding Berkeley Executive Search at j.kao@berkeley.edu.

Berkeley Executive Search logo BES’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

BES understands successful organizations thrive with a diverse workforce. BES is committed to equal opportunity and has a history of providing diverse candidate pools. All applicants receive fair and impartial consideration without regard to race, sex, gender, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic data, or other legally protected status. Our process is consistent and compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requirements.

Candidate diversity is a focus at all stages of the search starting with understanding campus underutilization. BES searches for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. Through our efforts, BES has shown that we have increased the strength and size of applicant pools, the number of diverse candidates, and the percentage of affirmative action goals met in the searches we manage.

BES conducts a process mindful of equity and inclusion at every step. From identifying search committees with representative diversity to screening, interviewing and selection that incorporates inclusive language, process, evaluation and engagement. We not only lead with inclusive practices but also advocate for innovative best practices to ensure an inclusive thought. This also incorporates the training and tools to address managing unconscious bias in the hiring process.

When you work with our team, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners.

Of the 25 searches Berkeley Executive Search has completed in the first two years, the people hired were 56% female and 52% person of color; 80% were female, person of color, and/or individual with disability.

Berkeley Executive Search logo Searches

Open/Current Searches

BES is devoted to and driven by the values held by the institutions we work with and we work to include excellence and diversity in each of our searches. We are committed to searching for the right matches for both the institution as well as the candidate. Below are our current ongoing searches.

Executive Director, Communications & Media Relations (0409U) #45635

Executive Director, Computational Precision Health (0379U) #45602

UC Merced Dean of Extension #JPF01451

Chief Curator BAMPFA (0421U) #43631

Senior Editorial Director, University Development & Alumni Relations (0409U) #43543

Executive Director, Financial and Capital Planning (0214U) #42387

UC Merced, Executive Director of Campus Life (0548) #42696

UC Irvine, Chief Curator Langson IMCA (0422) #37984

UC Santa Barbara, Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Chief HR Officer (0626) #32702

In general, if you are interested in a future senior-level position at UC Berkeley or in the UC System, please feel free to share your interest and information with us at executivesearch@berkeley.edu

Applicant Resources

Below are some resources applicants might find helpful while engaging in the search process with BES: 

Diversity Statements for Applicants

Interview Preparation

Completed Searches

Berkeley Executive Search has managed and advised on various senior-level searches across campus. We have also advised on other projects and re-organizations. The senior-level, executive and challenging successful searches that have been managed and supported by BES are below.

As of December 2022

Academic Affairs

• Director of Teaching & Learning Excellence, RTL, Undergraduate Education

• Senior Advisor to the EVCP, Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost

Central Administration

• Assistant Vice Chancellor & Campus Architect, Capital Strategies, Administration

• Associate Chief of Staff, Chancellor’s Office

• Chief Procurement Officer, Administration

• Director of Housing Development & Leasing, Capital Strategies, Administration

• Executive Assistant to the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Office

• UC Berkeley, UCPD, Chief of Police


• Senior Assistant Dean of College Relations & Development, College of Chemistry

• Assistant Dean for Development & External Relations, School of Public Health

Executive Leadership

• Chief Innovation & Entrepreneurship Officer, Research

• Chief Curator, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive


• Associate Vice Chancellor & Controller, Finance

• Associate Vice Chancellor of Financial Planning & Analysis, Finance

• Chief Financial Officer, Haas Business School

• Chief Financial Officer, Student Affairs

• Director, Finance and Business Services, Chancellor’s Office

• Executive Director of University Partnership Programs, Finance

Health Services

• Compassionate Crisis Response Manager, Health Services CAPS

• Associate Medical Director, Health Services

Human Resources

• Academic HR Analyst 5 (Campus Expert), APO, Vice Provost for Faculty

• Assistant Dean for HR & Administration, Haas Business School

• Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, People & Culture, Administration

• Director of Labor and Employee Relations, People & Culture, Administration

• Director of People, Performance, and Culture, IT, Administration

Information Technology

• Associate Chief Information Security Officer, IT, Administration

• Associate CIO & Director of Student Affairs IT, IT & Student Affairs

• Associate Vice Chancellor & Chief Information Officer [Campus CIO], IT, Administration & EVCP

• Director of DevOps & Learning Spaces, RTL, IT & Undergraduate Education

• Director of Productivity & Collaboration Services, IT, Administration

• Director of Research IT, RTL, IT & Undergraduate Education

• Enterprise Systems Architecture, IT, Administration

• Executive Director for Campus Applications & Data, IT, Administration

• Executive Director of Campus IT Experience, IT, Administration

• Executive Director of Research, Teaching, Learning (RTL) & Chief Academic Technology Officer, IT & Undergraduate Education

• Executive Director of the UCPath PMO at Berkeley, Administration

• Functional Director for Student Information Systems, IT, Administration

• Technology Program Office, IT, Administration

• Technical Director for Enterprise Applications, IT, Administration


• ADA Section 504 Compliance Officer, Administration

• Associate Campus Counsel, Chancellor’s Office

• Deputy Director & Deputy Title IX Officer, OPHD, Chancellor’s Office

• Director of Audit & Advisory Services, Chancellor’s Office

• Executive Director of Civil Rights & Whistleblower Compliance, Chancellor’s Office

• Principal Campus Counsel

Student Services

• Assistant Dean for Diversity & Chief of Staff, Graduate Division

• Assistant Vice Chancellor & Chief of Staff, Equity & Inclusion

• Assistant Vice Chancellor & Chief of Staff, Student Affairs

• Assistant Vice Chancellor & Chief Operating Officer, Student Affairs

• Associate Dean of Students and Executive Director, ASUC Student Union, Student Affairs

• Director, Disabled Students Program, Equity & Inclusion

• Director of Graduate Admissions, Recruitment, and Enrollment, Graduate Division

• Executive Director, Early Childhood Education Program, Student Affairs

• Senior Director, Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement, Equity & Inclusion

• University Registrar, Enrollment & Student Affairs

Research Administration

• Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Administration & Compliance, Research

• Executive Director, Center for the Science of Psychedelics, Research

• Executive Officer, Space Sciences Laboratory, Research

• Regional Director for CHAMPS, Berkeley Regional Services, Administration

• Regional Director for BEST, Berkeley Regional Services, Administration

• Regional Director for SHARE, Berkeley Regional Services, Administration

• Regional Director for ProS, Berkeley Regional Services, Administration

• Regional Director for BEARS, Berkeley Regional Services, Administration

Other Searches

Executive searches we have advised on / supported, in partnership with a search firm, are:

• Associate Vice Chancellor for HR & Chief People & Culture Officer, Administration

• Director of the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

• Executive & Artistic Director, Cal Performances

• Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost (EVCP)

• Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR)

Executive / hard-to-fill searches we have worked on in other UC campuses are:

• Counseling Psychologist (Black Student Focus), CAPS, UC Santa Barbara Student Affairs

• Director of Procurement Services, UC Santa Cruz Administration & Finance

• Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Strategy, UC Merced EVC Provost's Office

Berkeley Executive Search logo About the Team

James Kao picture

James Kao

James Kao is a Cal alum and possesses a Masters in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in London. James joined UC Berkeley Talent Acquisition Team in 2015 and currently manages Berkeley Executive Search. At Berkeley, James has successfully partnered with committees and project managed searches for various departments, cross-functions, project teams, and reorganizations. James took on executive searches where he advises campus executives and recruits for senior-level staff roles and now manages the BES program and team. Before coming back to Berkeley, James was part of the management team in visitor services at MoMA in New York.

Elizabeth A. Mosley

Elizabeth A. Mosley, Sr. Executive Search Advisor, joins us from Covered California, the health insurance marketplace for the state. During her tenure, she led recruitment efforts for numerous senior leadership searches including finance, IT, EEO, external affairs, and program integrity roles, and served as the HR representative on the Statewide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. Prior to her time with Covered California, Elizabeth was part of the UC Davis Executive Recruitment team. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Master's degree in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Elizabeth has a passion for leading diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Harrison Chan photo

Harrison Chan

Harrison Chan, Sr. Executive Search Advisor, is a Cal alum and returned to his alma mater after some time in the technology sector as an operations professional in San Francisco. Harrison returned to UC Berkeley to join the Talent Acquisition team in late 2017 and transitioned to Executive Search shortly after. While supporting the Talent Acquisition team, Harrison’s role included support for the Finance and Administration divisions at Berkeley. His tenure with the Executive Search team began in supporting the function with administrative, research, and sourcing activities, but has since grown to directly leading, managing, and advising on searches for Berkeley and other clients.

Esha photo

Esha Bharati

Esha serves as the Talent Acquisition Advisor at People & Culture. Esha has her MBA in Human Resources Management and is experienced working in the Talent acquisition space and advising on hiring best practices. As a collaborative partner, Esha offers consultation and recruitment support to various departments on campus and is dedicated to ensuring compliance while promoting fairness and equity in the hiring process. She is also a part of the Berkeley Executive Search team that provides services to the entire University of California system in hiring senior executives and leaders.

Woman with long dark hair and glasses smiles at the camera

Tracey Frink

Tracey Frink, Executive Search Advisor, started working in the People & Culture department at UC Berkeley in 2019, shortly after she joined the Berkeley Executive Search team. She received her BA in Anthropology from UCLA. Tracey provides administrative and research support to the Executive Search Team. Prior to joining BES, Tracey worked for a labor employment law firm in the Bay Area providing administrative support to firm attorneys and the firm administrator.

Kento Ashton photo

Kento Ashton

Kento Ashton, Executive Search Associate, is a thrice-deployed military veteran of 8 years who specialized in the field of communications. He had the chance to serve as the Executive Assistant to the Assistant Chief of Staff of Communications at the Command Element of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Kento had his start at UC Berkeley serving the front desk of People and Culture in 2020. He joined Berkeley Executive Search in 2021 as administrative and research support.

Brazile Clark photo

Brazile Clark

Brazile Clark, Executive Search Associate, a former UC Berkeley student-athlete, returns from face-paced environments that implement strategies and organizational visions that have high impacts on various communities. Brazile previously worked for the City of Oakland analyzing programs and communications for equity, efficiency, effectiveness and use. She also supported executive-level personnel in numerous fields, both private and public. Brazile began supporting Berkeley Executive Search in 2021 as they continue to take on various high-level roles.

Jacob Solis Headshot

Jacob Solis

Jacob Solis, Executive Search Associate, a Psychology and Cognitive Science major at UC Berkeley. He previously worked as a student assistant for the Talent Acquisition Team, where he was able to support recruiting efforts in various capacities. Jacob is excited to continue working for UC Berkeley as an executive search associate and is passionate about bringing dedicated and innovative people to support UC Berkeley’s culture and mission. 

Alex Gomez picture

Alex Gomez

Alex Gomez, Director of Talent Acquisition, is a Cal alum. He has been at UC Berkeley for 17 years, moving from student to administration. Alex received his BA in Anthropology, and since graduating has been working in the recruitment and talent acquisition space. Alex was the inaugural recruitment supervisor when Shared Services at Berkeley was established and built the team as well as processes from scratch. He sponsored the creation of BES in partnership with HR leadership. He is passionate about bringing in talent to support the missions of Berkeley in teaching, research, and public service.