Announcing the School's First Chief Diversity Officer
Welcome, Monae Roberts
Monae Roberts joined UC Davis Veterinary Medicine last week as the school’s first Chief Diversity Officer. They have previously served on the main UC Davis campus as Director of the LGBTQIA Resource Center and a program coordinator at the Cross Cultural Center. After a brief stint off campus, Roberts is happy to be back in an academic setting where they enjoy collaboration with like-minded people.
“Even if we don’t always share the same points of view, I find the university a more open environment, where folks are willing to learn and grow,” Roberts said.
They began collaborating with members of the veterinary medicine community after being tapped in 2018 to present at the Iverson Bell Symposium — a weekend diversity summit for veterinary professionals.
“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work is my calling and passion,” Roberts said. “It’s important for me to create positive change in the world in some way. With a supportive team alongside me, I feel I can do that here.”
In their experience of working with individuals and groups on DEI issues, Roberts said one of the biggest challenges to overcome is fear.
“People worry…what if I mess up and do the wrong thing? My hope is to support everyone through that. The fact is, we will all mess up. We’re human and won’t get it right 100% of the time. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I still mess up. It’s about how you mess up and how you move forward, being able to sit in that discomfort, owning your mistakes, and figuring out how to be better in the future. That’s what creating change is about. But if we don’t take that risk, then we will stay stagnant. This school didn’t get to #1 by staying stagnant. My hope is to be here to hold your hand. We can mess up and move forward together.”
Roberts is also excited about being involved in K-12 outreach and finding more ways to expose under-represented communities to careers in veterinary medicine. They look forward to supporting new initiatives, policies, and practices.
“This position is the perfect intersection of things I really enjoy,” Roberts said. “Right now, it’s about listening and gathering as much information as possible to see where we can go.”
Roberts lives with their wife, two kids (10 and 16), and two rescue chihuahuas, Howie and Ginger, in Sacramento.