View of Ahmanson Building entrance

Otis College Leadership

The College's academic mission and strategic goals are fulfilled through a consultative organizational structure that extends from its fiduciary Board through its chief executive officer (President), provost and vice presidents, deans, chairs, assistant chairs, directors, faculty, staff, and student leaders.

Reporting directly to the President, Senior Team members provide high-level expertise in their respective divisions and areas of support. Senior team members serve on the President's Council on a rotating basis and confer across divisions to ensure that work performed within each is well-informed. Similarly, senior team members support  the effective sharing of information with campus constituencies as part of Otis's system of shared governance.

Meet the Senior Team

Lawrence Aldava

Lawrence Aldava

Vice President, Marketing

Vice President of Marketing Lawrence Aldava previously served as the Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music, where he built and mentored a marketing team that increased revenue nearly 200 percent for summer intensive programs for high school students, and expanded social media engagement by 80 percent. Prior to his role at UCLA, Aldava served as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the College of Professional and Global Education at California State University, Los Angeles, where he developed strategic marketing plans for a diverse portfolio of extension and international programs. He is a lifelong Angeleno and received his BA from the University of California at Irvine and a certificate in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University. For more information see the Communications and Marketing website.

Allison Graff-Weisner

Allison Graff-Weisner

Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Allison Graff-Weisner, brings over 25 years of experience working across educational and cultural organizations. Prior to her role at Otis College, Allison served as the Deputy Director for External Affairs at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art helping to build a foundation for the organization’s launch. Prior to this, Allison worked for two decades with local and national chapters of City Year, an organization that helps students and schools succeed, while preparing the next generation of civically engaged leaders working across lines of difference. She served as the Chief Development and Engagement Officer at the national level, working closely with the Board of Trustees and staff across 30 sites to raise annual revenue and oversee multiple campaigns. Allison holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School where she was awarded the John F. Kennedy Fellowship and the Women’s Leadership Fellowship, and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from UC Berkeley.

Karen Hill

Karen Hill

Vice President, Human Resources and Development

Vice President for Human Resources and Development, Karen Hill, is an accomplished human resources leader with over 20 years' experience. In addition to her exemplary degree qualifications, she holds an M.B.A. from UCLA with an emphasis in Marketing, a B.S. in Business, a Senior Professional Human Resources Designation, Leadership Certification from the Center for Creative Leadership, and a Strategic HR Certification. Her prior senior leadership positions—at such firms/institutions as Sony, USC, and DeviantArt—include Senior Vice President, Human Resources/Diversity & Inclusion; Vice President, Human Resources and Development; and Executive Director, Human Resources. Hill also serves on several non-profit boards. Throughout her career, she has focused holistically on organizations, and developed congruent people strategies to produce positive results. She brings a verifiable record of leading workplace culture and employee engagement initiatives, along with expertise in designing diversity and inclusion strategies and integrating them into organizational culture. Hill's expertise also includes fiscally minded and data-driven human resources perspectives that add efficiencies through such areas as business development, employee relations, risk management, and vendor relationship contracts.

Ankush Mahindra

Ankush Mahindra

Vice President, Finance and Administration

Vice President for Finance & Administration Ankush Mahindra brings to his role an M.B.A. in Finance and a B.S. in Accounting & Finance, along with six years' prior leadership experience as Otis' Chief Information Officer and as Assistant Vice President of Finance for another institution. As an experienced Information Technology, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Administrative Operations & Finance manager, Mahindra also has 20 years' prior technical experience in project management, application development, and strategic planning for a variety of enterprises. Since arriving at Otis, Mahindra has successfully implemented a comprehensive institutional technology systems overhaul. Before coming to Otis, he had collaborated on the development and operation of an innovative STEM partnership school for grades 3–8; there, he also implemented a construction project, managed institutional budgets, and provided cutting-edge technology for flexible classroom, lab, and maker spaces. Mahindra is a proven, highly pragmatic, versatile, and detail-oriented team leader and manager whose interpersonal skills, unique technical expertise, and finance background allow him to lead complex projects for top quality results on behalf of Otis.

Dr. Nicholas Negrete

Dr. Nicholas Negrete

Vice President, Student Affairs and Campus Diversity & Inclusion

Vice President, Student Affairs and Campus Diversity & Inclusion, and Belonging, Dr. Nicholas Negrete serves as a cultural change agent for the College. Reporting directly to the President and serving as an integral member on the Senior Team, Negrete is responsible for advising, developing, coordinating, collaborating, administering, and implementing a variety of duties related to DEI for the College and within the fields of art and design. This includes research, program development, best practices, policy creation, new initiatives, and activities that demonstrate the College's commitment to being a truly welcoming, inclusive, and supportive working and learning environment. The AVP for DEI partners primarily with the President, Provost, and Human Resources and Development, as well as College administrators, the campus community, and external partners to foster and enhance the College's vision, branding, reputation, and strategic goals related to DEI. For more information see the DEI Council website.

Nicole Nicholas

Nicole Nicholas

Associate Vice President, Special Projects

Associate Vice President for Special Projects, Nicole Nicholas is an experienced entertainment executive who has worked with major media companies to impact their creative and strategic businesses and a former Board of Governor for Otis College of Art and Design. Most recently, she was a Senior Consultant with Cognizant Consulting, where she leads strategy, project development, and implementation planning efforts to address some of film & television studios' most pressing business challenges. Previously, she worked closely with the senior management team at Endeavor Content, to use data to establish creative and corporate best practices in the first year of the company. As a lead Creative Executive at Fox Broadcasting, Nicole was responsible for managing the annual development and production cycles for several television series and live specials, including MasterChef, So You Think You Can Dance, and the Teen Choice Awards. She also worked with the FNG Global Strategy team to source strategic opportunities and monetize content packages across the entire Fox Networks Group entertainment portfolio, which included delivering for the NFL on FOX and the award winning Breaking2 documentary for National Geographic. Nicole's media experience also includes roles in CAA, on the Programming team at NBC network and as the Managing Producer for Debbie Allen's Dance Academy. A proud Los Angeles native, Nicole earned her MBA from USC and Management Science & Engineering degree from Stanford University.

Yoi Tanaka

Yoi Tanaka

Vice President, Admissions

Yoi Tanaka, MA (she/her) is the Vice President of Admissions at Otis College of Art and Design. She is responsible for overseeing Admissions, Financial Aid and the One Stop teams at the College. Yoi brings over 15 years of enrollment management experience at AICAD institutions and a strong record of increasing enrollment through innovative engagement and yield strategies, implementing new systems and technologies, and championing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Prior to this role, she was the Vice President of Admissions ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Associate Dean of Admissions and Records at Santa Ana College, Associate Dean of Admissions at Otis College of Art and Design and Director of Admissions at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She holds a Master’s in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and a Bachelor’s from UC San Diego in History with Emphasis on Race, Ethnicity and Migration.