Introducing Diversity Recruitment and Retention Specialist Christiana Ortiz
Christiana Ortiz brings to SUNY Brockport more than 14 years of experience in diversity-focused recruitment.
When Rochester, NY-native Christiana Ortiz became a sponsored member of the United Way Latino Leadership program while working for Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), she channeled a passion that would come to define her career: diversity recruitment.
"After making many community connections, I was able to leverage my experience and started leading diversity recruitment efforts," said Ortiz, who earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from St. John Fisher College in 2007. She began by partnering with RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and eventually led the charge for recruiting veterans, women, and minorities to each of RIT’s nine colleges. Five years and two more talent management/recruitment positions later, Ortiz was hired as the diversity recruitment and retention specialist for SUNY Brockport in June 2020.
Human resources recruiters in all industries sometimes take on a specialty focus, such as technical recruitment or medical recruitment, explained Ortiz. She says that diversity recruitment is particularly important in the field of higher education, because it directly serves the needs of students.
"Students want to be able to feel welcome and be understood, so my focus and specialty is finding staff and faculty that can be representative of our students," said Ortiz.
In setting the foundation for her new role, Ortiz spent the summer creating a Diversity Recruitment and Retention plan that highlights four goals and outlines action plans. She has begun conducting virtual “Stay Interviews” with various faculty and staff members in an effort to understand trends and the challenges departments around campus are facing. She will also be involved in a SUNY initiative called PRODiG (Promoting Recruitment Opportunity, Diversity Inclusion and Growth) and serve on the search committee for the College’s new chief diversity officer.
Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan: The Four Goals
|Ensure the campus commitment to diversity and inclusion is transparent and clear, campus wide.||Create an inclusive culture that promotes the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff while paying close attention to areas of underrepresentation.||Create consistent and responsive advertising, technology and programs in order to attract and pipeline a diverse applicant pool.||Develop an evaluation component to ensure we are meeting our commitment to diversity and inclusion.|
A proud Latina whose father is from Puerto Rico, Ortiz says diversity recruitment is her "main passion."
"Diversity is the core of everything, especially now. The country is in a time of racial crisis, so to say diversity in hiring should be a focus and priority is an understatement. I truly enjoy what I do. It’s rewarding and allows me to interact with people in a positive way and make a huge impact on their lives," she said.
While Ortiz feels that helping worthy candidates become employees is the most rewarding aspect of her career, keeping them satisfied and engaged in their work environment is the "icing on the cake," she says. That’s where the retention aspect of her role comes into play.
"With the help of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and our affirmative action officer, I will be focusing on reviewing data, trends, processes, and challenges to help bring change and consistency. Education and training is key, so working with search committees and campus leadership to implement new processes and recommend solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the recruitment cycle is important. For retention, the onboarding process and the first-year experience will be a primary focus of mine. Our team has already started to roll out an efficient online onboarding portal for new hires,” said Ortiz.
According to her, the best candidates for higher ed positions thrive off of a sense of community, collaboration, teamwork, and dedication to student success. Listservs, connections with professional organizations, job fairs, and using data to identify where qualified candidates live and attend school are her go-to recruitment strategies.
While she considers herself a "people-person recruiter" who finds the most value in interacting with candidates face to face, the technology used to produce online job fairs and enable online interviews will be central to her diversity recruitment and retention efforts during the 2020-21 academic year.