About Cristallea K. Buchanan

Cristallea BuchananCristallea K. Buchanan became the University’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer on August 1, 2021, overseeing a division that includes Human Resources, Mission and Identity, and Hispanic-Serving Institution initiatives. 

As Cal Lutheran’s first Vice President for Talent, Culture and Diversity, Cristallea K. Buchanan is guiding, accelerating, and integrating established and new diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) efforts across the University as part of a coherent, mission-driven strategy. 

Prior to joining the  Cal Lutheran leadership team, Cristallea was head of Inclusion and Diversity at American Honda. She has had over two decades of experience in leading diversity initiatives, shaping organizational culture, and providing executive coaching in corporate, nonprofit and education.

Cristallea has extensive experience in strategic planning and people strategy. She led employee learning and development programs for Southern California Edison and Five Acres, an agency serving abused and neglected children and their families. When she joined Cal Lutheran, Cristallea returned to education, where she started her career. She spent 16 years managing workforce development programs for the Los Angeles County Office of Education and El Camino College.

“DEIJ, for me, is really a calling,” Cristallea says. “The theme across my career has been to remove barriers whether they be personal limiting beliefs or systemic racism. I see the commitment to DEIJ from the diverse stakeholders at CLU and I’m grateful to be working in community with students and colleagues to move the needle forward in creating an inclusive campus where creativity and higher learning can take place.”  As a person of color and a woman of color, she understands the struggle and pain of exclusion, so this calling that she feels is very personal. 

Coming from a family that greatly values education, her mother brought her family to the United States from South Korea because she wanted all her children, especially her daughters, to have the opportunity to get an education. Cristallea earned bachelor’s degrees in mass communications and psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Science in global leadership from the University of San Diego School of Business Administration. Now with a family of her own, Cristallea’s 6 adult children from her blended family are strong DEIJ advocates challenging the status quo in their respective vocations. 

Cristallea’s personal approach to DEIJ is infused with both faith and philosophy.  She believes that this inclusive approach aligns beautifully with the University’s Lutheran values and is a competitive edge for Cal Lutheran. Her well-honed skill set is leading cultural change at Cal Lutheran, particularly related to DEIJ. As a change agent for the University, Cristallea invites the entire campus community to be part of the exciting and positive transformation and cultural change that is underway.

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