Pacifica Graduate Institute Welcomes Deneatrice A. Lewis, MS, as Vice President of People, Culture, and Belonging 

With Diversity Equity and Inclusion policies, programs, and initiatives under the microscope of legislative and political pressures across the higher education landscape, Pacifica Graduate Institute – with its motto to “tend to the soul in and of the world” – maintains its unwavering commitment to nurturing an environment in its depth psychological academic community where diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are integral.  This dedication is embodied in the announcement of its new Vice President of People, Culture, and Belonging, Deneatrice A. Lewis, MS.   

Through this position, Deneatrice will engage with students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and community partners to advance behaviors, attitudes, and policies that support an inclusive culture at Pacifica. Overseeing the Human Resources (HR) function of the Institute, the Vice President of PCB will identify challenges, craft strategic solutions, and integrate strategic goals into every aspect of HR and our organizational development, ensuring our Institute continues to lead in the field of depth psychology while maintaining a culture that values every member of our community.  

 “At Pacifica, our vision extends beyond academic excellence; we are dedicated to creating a sanctuary where the brightest minds and hearts unite to thrive both professionally and personally. Our community is the lifeblood of our institution—everyone’s growth and fulfillment are integral to our collective journey. It is with great joy and anticipation that we welcome Deneatrice A. Lewis, as our new Vice President of People, Culture, and Belonging. In her capable hands, I am confident that we will continue to weave a tapestry of diverse narratives into the rich mosaic of our campus, enriching our community and enhancing our shared sense of purpose and belonging.” Dr. Leonie H. Mattison, Pacifica’s President and CEO 

Deneatrice comes to Pacifica as an experienced HR professional who has worked in private and public educational environments.  Deneatrice’s passion for human resources and education grew through professional experiences at the University of La Verne (ULV), American Career College (ACC), San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD), Woodland Joint Unified School District, and most recently, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC).  While working in education, Deneatrice focused on her professional development and continued her educational pursuits.  Deneatrice is an alumnus of the University of La Verne, having completed undergrad and graduate programs in Leadership and Organizational Management, both with a concentration in Human Resources.    

Hired at the start of the pandemic as the Director of Human Resources at SBCC, Deneatrice met the challenges of that time to make advancements in systems, processes, and relationships across campus, leading her team with grace, integrity, and compassion. Then, in 2022, with the retirement of the VP of HR, Deneatrice was offered the opportunity to serve as the interim VP of HR, where she has served since.   

Many of her colleagues describe her as a calming presence in chaos, a compassionate and thoughtful leader who never forgets the humanity in HR while balancing the needs and mitigating the risks. As an equity-focused people leader, she recognizes that everyone’s story is different and brings value to the campus community and student experiences.    

Deneatrice has demonstrated a commitment to creating an environment that attracts and retains diversity, where employees, students, and community members genuinely feel included and have a secure sense of belonging. She is a deep listener who values learning about people’s journeys and aspirations. Drawing on Maya Angelou’s belief that “Beauty and strength can be found in diversity,” Deneatrice is “eager to join Pacifica in tending the soul in and of the world.” 

“I lead with my heart, an equity mindset, and a sincere and service-oriented demeanor. I intently focus on supporting faculty, staff, and management employees so that they can better serve and educate their students,” Deneatrice says. “I believe this is the type of leader that Pacifica Graduate Institute needs to help move the campus community forward, ensuring the employees within the institute are well positioned to meet its strategic goals.” 

Outside of her professional endeavors, Deneatrice enjoys spending time with her family, who live between Ventura and San Bernardino counties. She is looking for new adventures to expand her experiences and knowledge of people. 

Pacifica Graduate Institute warmly welcomes Deneatrice A. Lewis, MS, as Vice President of People, Culture, and Belonging and looks forward to the positive impact she will have on the institution’s mission of education and inclusivity.