December 6, 2022
The California Lawyers Association (CLA), the state’s largest voluntary bar association representing thousands of attorneys, announced today that Olga Diaz has joined CLA’s Senior Executive Team as Associate Executive Director of Inclusion, Outreach, and Strategic Initiatives. In this newly created role, Diaz will execute the vision of the Board of Representatives to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the California legal community through training, advocacy, affinity bar partnerships, and education to positively impact the future of the profession.
“The State Bar of California recently reported that 66% of California’s 195,000 licensed attorneys are Caucasian. As the Bar Association for California’s attorneys, CLA must set the standards for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession,” said Oyango A. Snell, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director for CLA. “Olga’s decade-long experience in ensuring equity and inclusion to professional pathways will ensure that the CLA, and our members, are at the forefront of welcoming all to our profession.”
As a member of CLA’s senior executive team, Diaz will ensure the association fulfills its strategic mission to champion and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout CLA and the California legal industry. The position involves nurturing external relationships with affinity bar associations and other organizations, developing training and education programs, and ensuring CLA is positioned as an inclusive leader throughout the state.
The CLA’s Board of Representatives recently approved a strategic plan that champions DEI in California’s legal community as a strategic pillar. The plan calls for new program investments to positively impact the current and future of the profession by incorporating DEI strategies throughout CLA’s governance policies, membership recruitment and retention efforts, leadership opportunities, educational panels and speakers, and strengthening the pathway for representatives from historically marginalized groups to pursue a legal career.
“Olga’s role is central to executing our strategic plan and positions the CLA as a leader in moving past performative diversity and mission statements that the legal profession has accepted as the status quo. With Olga’s expertise, CLA’s members practicing throughout California will become a more inclusive organization and position the CLA as DEI experts in our fast-growing industry,” said Snell. “We welcome Olga to the CLA family and are excited to collaborate with her on strategic initiatives to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in our own organization and throughout the legal profession.”
First in her family to attend college, Diaz received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University. She is completing a doctoral program in organizational change and leadership at the University of Southern California.
Diaz, who started at CLA last week, most recently worked at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, where she served as Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Student Affairs. She previously worked in public accounting and data analysis and research and for 10 years owned a small business. She also brings experience as a public servant and trailblazer in North San Diego County, having been the first Latina elected to the Escondido City Council, where she served constituents for 12 years.