New Faces: Kimberly Mayer, CalSWEC Center Director

October 15, 2019

Kim MayerKimberly Mayer began her role as CalSWEC Center Director in October 2019.

Tell us about your professional background.
My professional background includes serving in leadership roles in a variety of sectors, including nonprofit, corporate, and government organizations, primarily in the Bay Area. My experiences in consulting led me to a position in Contra Costa Health Services, managing programs serving clients in behavioral health and CalWORKs. In 2008 I joined California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, and led several regional and statewide behavioral health workforce development projects. My work also included projects with DHCS and CDSS, providing technical assistance for CCR implementation. From 2017 to 2019 I served as lead behavioral health consultant to the California Future Health Workforce Commission, developing recommendations and strategies with a wide range of stakeholders.

What interested you in the position at Berkeley Social Welfare?
I am excited to lead CalSWEC, a statewide program with wide reach in California. I am passionate about supporting education and training for social workers in child welfare, behavioral health, aging and health in increasingly multifaceted roles, emphasizing cross-systems collaboration. As a social worker, I have experienced working with and have been mentored by professionals who embody the leadership skills needed in our current world. I am also very excited to be back at Cal, having completed my undergraduate degree in social welfare almost 30 years ago. I completed my masters degree in social work at Columbia University. Having experience in New York and California has given me a broad perspective and appreciation for our field.

What are you most looking forward to in your role?
Ensuring that CalSWEC is meeting the obligations to its partners, including UC Berkeley, the California Department of Social Services, the Regional Training Academies and universities in the consortium is critical. The fiscal environment in 2020 in California is very different than when CalSWEC was formed in 1990. I look forward to meeting the ongoing challenges in our day-to-day work, and also focusing on areas of potential growth for CalSWEC, particularly as it relates to behavioral health workforce development. I am very excited to return to Haviland Hall after 30 years, and work with Dean Burton and the School of Social Welfare.

What are some of the projects you're currently working on?
Priorities are quickly changing -- as I write this, we are in the third week of a mandatory Shelter in Place due to COVID-19. We are lucky that CalSWEC staff are accustomed to remote work. COVID-19's impacts on social work education and fieldwork have been swift, with campuses moving to online learning. Universities and counties are working together to find resources and implement remote field educational activities. CalSWEC has developed resources for alternatives to fieldwork, posted on our website. Our In-Service Training program is transitioning to remote training and learning platforms to support continued workforce development for counties. Similar efforts are underway in our Integrated Behavioral Health & Aging programs. UC Berkeley has developed tools for Instructional Resilience -- supporting online platforms for education and learning during times of campus disruption. Social workers are part of our essential workforce, and I believe this pandemic will drive continued innovation, and hopefully, long-term resilience.

What do you enjoy doing outside of Haviland Hall?
In addition to enjoying my extended family, I'm a big fan and supporter of theater, music and gardening. I have also served in a variety of board roles with several nonprofit organizations, and am past president of Contra Costa Civic Theatre in El Cerrito.