Meet the Diversity and Inclusion Team

Dr. Lacretia Johnson Flash (she/her)

Dr. Lacretia J. Flash

Senior Vice President for DEI, Community, and Campus Culture and Climate

Dr. Lacretia Johnson Flash provides strategic vision and leadership for Berklee’s institutional diversity and inclusion initiatives and priorities. She advises Berklee’s leaders on strategies to achieve inclusive excellence and collaborates with stakeholders and partners across the institution to support the goal of becoming a more inclusive community. Flash oversees the Diversity and Inclusion team in the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Throughout her career, Flash has helped to lead institutional diversity and inclusion efforts, and has contributed to the national conversation on diversity and multicultural change in higher education organizations through her research and scholarship on multicultural organizational development, and through a nationally recognized diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development series.

Prior to joining Berklee, Flash served as a senior advisor and chief of staff at the University of Vermont, where she helped establish the President’s Commission for Inclusive Excellence and led the implementation of the university’s Framework for Inclusive Excellence. As an educator, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on cultural pluralism in higher education, survey research methodology, leadership, and service learning. She believes that leading with compassion, authenticity, and humility are critical to creating spaces for deep learning and sustained engagement.

Flash earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Vermont, a Master of Education from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland. In addition to her professional work, Flash is passionate about the visual arts, dance, and being in nature.

Mariana Paes

Mariana Paes (she/her)

Senior Advisor and Project Manager for DEI, Community, and Campus Culture and Climate

Mariana Paes is the senior advisor and project manager for DEI, Community, and Campus Culture and Climate, responsible for working with Dr. Flash on institutional DEIB strategies to engage the community in building a culture of mutual respect, cultural humility, continuous learning, and support to all individuals. Her goal is to be an active listener and support all groups by uplifting their voices and empowering people through information, discussions, and art. Paes is also part of the leadership team of SOMOS Latinx, a pre-orientation program for entering Latinx and Hispanic students, and advisor of the Brazil@Berklee student group.

Born in Brazil, Paes earned a degree in journalism and a master's degree in management of cultural projects. With 20 years of experience working in communications, arts, and management, she has developed public relations, communications, and marketing strategies for global companies from Brazil, the United States, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and China. Besides her executive roles, she also worked as a voice coach for musical theater companies, and as a singer, songwriter, and flamenco dancer.

She moved to Massachusetts in December 2015 and served as volunteer and communications associate at the Dance Complex in Cambridge; international contributor at the New England Patriots; pro audio sales associate at Guitar Center; and market planning manager/ diversity committee at School of Rock. Paes is also a community organizer, participating in grassroots organizations focused on Latinx and immigrant populations, and a member of the Cultural Advisory Team at Boston Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture.

Paes’s hobbies are reading (especially historical fiction or diversity and inclusion themes), dancing with her flamenco group, sailing, and walking her dog, Sansa. At the moment, her favorite books are The Color of Courage by Cindi C. Bright, and The Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen.


Alex Cabal

Alex Cabal (he/him)

Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion

Alex Cabal has worked in higher education for more than 15 years as an administrator, consultant, trainer, and presenter in the areas of inclusive leadership, academic affairs, and student affairs including residence life, student activities, orientation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Cabal has been an active member of NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) since 2005 and has held regional and national roles within the association including national cochair for the Gender and Sexuality Knowledge Community (GSKC) and chairing the Region I Conference in 2018. He has been recognized regionally and nationally for his commitment and dedication to student affairs and for the work that he has done through the GSKC as well with Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community. Cabal is currently a member of the board of directors in his role of regional director.

The AVP has an expertise in the facilitation of training programs as well as performing institutional scans and program reviews. He has worked with higher education institutions and non-profits on their efforts to educate student government associations, orientation staff, student affairs, and academic affairs leadership on equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts. Cabal believes that authentic dialogue, reflection on our identities, an understanding of our history, and direct and consistent action are key to creating a more inclusive environment.

Born in Lima, Peru, Cabal moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. As a first-generation college student and son of immigrants, he believes that education is a right, not a privilege. His multiple identities have shaped the way he navigates his personal and professional worlds.

Outside of work, Cabal enjoys exploring new spots to eat, watching his favorite Netflix shows, traveling, attending concerts, plays, and musicals, and spending time with his husband, three kids, and two dogs.