By Jesse Rosales
Cora Culla is set to retire from her position as the executive director of Associated Students, Incorporated at the end of the fiscal year in June.
Culla has been with Cal Poly Pomona for 27 years and has been a part of the expansion of the Bronco Student Center and the creation of the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex.
She is known by those who work with her as a figure of leadership as well as a friendly face.
Culla’s retirement was originally set for the end of December but was requested by the vice president for Student Affairs, Lea M. Jarnagin, to extend her position until the end of June in order to make a smooth transition for the next executive director.
Culla’s replacement has not yet been chosen.
During her extension, she will assist with hiring for open management positions in human resources and financial services.
She will oversee legislation compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and the rise in minimum wage.
Culla will also assist with providing leadership on preparing budgets for ASI, the BRIC and the BSC for the upcoming year.
A major focus for Culla is helping the current student leaders in ASI meet their goals for the year to ensure the success of students and faculty.
“Those moments that I will always treasure would be all of the work with the students and the staff in terms in everything that they do to serve the students on this campus,” said Culla.
ASI is the student government on campus that owns and operates the BSC and also provides the services and events of the Bronco Events and Activities Team.
Culla strongly believes that participating in ASI benefits a student’s career.
“To me, I think the significance of ASI an auxiliary is the fact that it provides so many opportunities for learning leadership and development for students,” said Culla. “Whether the students are student leaders in ASI government or they’re student employees, or they’re students who choose to engage in the programs we provide. I feel that through these opportunities we’re able to really help build the skill sets that students need so that they can be sought after by employers and they can prepare themselves for their career.”
Culla takes inspiration from former ASI directors such as Walter Allen, a current council member and former mayor for the city of Covina, and Jose A. Gomez, the current executive vice president and chief operating officer for Cal State L.A.
“It’s just really amazing to see them grow and then now be very positive contributors to society,” said Culla. “And then those who are in the mentoring and teaching profession, they’re paying it forward by teaching the young people of today.”
As Culla prepares to step away from her role as ASI director, she plans to spend more time with family and looks forward to new possibilities.
“I plan to maybe spend a little bit of time traveling and definitely spending more time with my family,” said Culla. “And if the right opportunity presents itself, I would not be opposed to doing part time consulting or professional support that is in line with my expertise.”
Patricia Guevera, an employee with ASI’s Marketing, Design and Public Relations Department said that Culla is “constantly dropping in to the M.D.P.R. office to say ‘hi,’ see how things are going or to make conversation.”
“We look at her as our fearless leader, and she makes it a point to really connect with every single student or professional staff in ASI to make them feel like they’re valued and that they really belong,” said Guevera. “She’s very inspiring and uplifting.”
Leah Tarin, the executive assistant of the ASI Administration Office, recognized Culla’s leadership achievements.
“I believe Cora’s greatest contribution during her time as the ASI executive director has been her dedicated leadership of student government,” said Tarin. “Cora truly believes in empowering student leaders to make a difference, not only as students on campus, but growing their character as leaders in their future beyond Cal Poly Pomona.”
Courtesy of Gilbert Sanchez
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