The ODI works within a paradigm of shared leadership where partnership and reciprocity are encouraged and cultivated so that each of us may bring our unique voice to the conversation. We aim to embody and model the ideals of equity, diversity, and inclusion within our community. We support our CIIS family through what is often challenging work, while maintaining an open and inviting heart. Please see our bios below to learn more about each one of us, and please do not hesitate to visit us in person.
Rachel Bryant, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Rachel D. Bryant serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco, where she earned a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Community Mental Health. Her passion and research interests situate her life-work and scholarship at the intersection of social justice, education, and psychology. She is working to facilitate closure between knowledge production in institutions and the need for knowledge in communities traditionally excluded. She serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Master’s in Counseling Psychology and Undergraduate Studies Programs at CIIS. Rachel is also a Core Member of the Healing Clinic Collective, which provides loving traditional healing sessions to people from especially traumatized populations in the Bay Area. As a teacher-student, Rachel honors the wisdom and intelligence of everyday people, the human body, and the natural world. She confidently believes that all people have the innate wisdom and intelligence to serve as healers and educators in their communities. When Rachel is not working, you can find her creating multimedia artworks, gardening, or in the kitchen experimenting with soul food from around the world. She lives in East Oakland with her daughter.
Felipe Restrepo, Program Manager
As an immigrant from Colombia, I have had a first-hand perspective of what it is like to be a minority in the United States. I have developed a passion for equity, as well as an awareness of the fact that there is always more for me to learn about my privileged identities and the ways that I can cause harm when these are not being addressed. I am committed to growing and changing in order to become a more whole, caring, and loving human being; the task is not easy, as there are layers upon layers of conditioing that must continually be met. I have a deep respect for underrepresented groups; my experience as an ESL student, my professional background working with autistic youth, and my spiritual practice inform a sensitivity toward the struggles lived by racial minorities, those who come from low-income backgrounds, disabled people, and people of LGBTQ identities. Along with understanding and honoring our differences, I am simultaneously called to explore how unity moves through our diverse expressions, and how to gracefully hold the paradox of our shared spiritual essence with the diversity of the struggles that arise in our day-to-day lives. I am honored to be in a position such as this, where I take part in making a difference in people's empowerment through their education. I am a graduate of CIIS' School of Undergraduate Studies, and am currently a graduate student in our Integral Counseling Psychology program. I am passionate about meditation and spiritual development, I enjoy writing and recording music, love reading, and am a visual artist.
V Pham, Program Assistant
V Pham is a current student in the Master’s program for Expressive Arts Therapy at CIIS. As a queer-identified American-born daughter to Vietnamese immigrants, they have a lived experience of walking between identities, floating neither here nor there. Queer enough? Straight enough? American enough? Asian enough? Fast forward some number of workshops, festivals, and late night conversations later, they have come to realize living through sensation rather than identity is much more aligned with their values. V has noticed continued alienation and othering in conversations around diversity and inclusion and sees the need for deeper, more authentic communication across difference in the current socio-political climate. Through their work as Program Assistant, they hope to create space for folks to practice tuning in with one another, with an emphasis on present moment awareness and emotional sensitivity. At the core, V believes we must first be deeply in connection with ourselves before we may be in connection with others. V's preferred modes of self-expression include journaling, dancing, doodling, and speaking gibberish with friends and strangers alike.