Following a rich and varied professional career at some of the leading institutions in higher education, Charlene L. Aguilar (she/ella) applies her many talents to identifying mission-driven, transformational leaders for public and private institutions – from college and university presidents and vice presidents to provosts and deans. She brings considerable knowledge and experience to equity and inclusive excellence and to the recruitment of cabinet-level diversity leaders in the non-profit landscape. Charlene has received multiple firm-wide quality awards in recognition of her striving to meet clients’ needs, support for candidates, and standards of excellence while exemplifying firm values of honesty, integrity, and transparency.
Before joining WittKieffer in 2015, Charlene held numerous higher education administrative leadership posts. She served as director of undergraduate education initiatives and special assistant to the executive vice provost now president at the University of Washington, where she also was on the executive council of the Latina Faculty and Professional Staff Group. Previously at Stanford University, she served as associate director for an interdisciplinary academic research center focused on the intersections of that research with LatinX communities and led fundraising initiatives for the Center garnering grants from Ford, Rockefeller, and Irvine Foundations. In addition, Charlene was director of undergraduate admissions at Santa Clara University; served on the dean’s leadership cabinet at the University of Chicago Law School; and was responsible for steering several initiatives to drive a culture of student access along with a climate of belonging at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Charlene engages as an active advocate in public service locally and nationally. Across noteworthy volunteer roles in the community, she has provided insights on strategic governance, policy, and programs as a trustee of diverse non-profits committed to racial and social justice, school boards, and community foundations. Currently, she is on the board for St. Joseph High School in South Bend, IN. She served more than ten years in varying capacities including Board Chair for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. In addition, she has completed the eCornell certificate program in Diversity and Inclusion, which focuses on improving employee engagement, counteracting unconscious bias, and fostering an inclusive work climate.