The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities

The AICCU represents nonprofit institutions in the state. K Zamarripa Consulting was retained last spring to assist in strategy and key messaging with regard to Title IX legislation. The work has now been expanded to develop and assist in the implementation of short- and long-term advocacy plan, strategies and tactics to put AICCU and its membership on the radar of policymakers, statewide leaders and campus communities.

Calbright College

Calbright College

Calbright College is the first-ever public statewide online, competency-based college that gives working adults a better future through training and education that is truly accessible. Karen Zamarripa Consulting has worked with the Foundation and Chancellor of the California Community Colleges for the last several years. Now the new President has asked the firm to help ensure the college is given the chance to deliver on its promise for adult learners, employers and the state. Specifically, Ms. Zamarripa will be:

  • rebuilding the coalition of employers, workforce and development organizations, and educational equity groups to advocate for Calbright
  • support the communications and governmental relations team with strategy and tactics
  • coordinate stakeholder advocacy, and,
  • lobby legislators and staff with regard to the Calbright budget, potential bills and pending audit requests.

College Futures Foundation

College Futures Foundation

The College Futures Foundation was established in 2005 to help ensure that all students especially low-income, Black, and Latino have access to and are successful in completing a college degree. The Foundation supports systemic, student-centric change to deliver the promise of equity for all through a more seamless, inclusive system of education. Karen Zamarripa serves as the eyes and ears of the Foundation in the State Capitol and in turn helps them anticipate and influence public policy and budget decisions consistent with their vision for the future through their research and grantees.


California State Students Association

The California State Students Association (CSSA), which represents the over 484,000 California State University (CSU) students has made reform and reinvestment in financial aid a priority for the 2019-20 legislative session. Ms. ZAMARRIPA was retained to assist the association leaders in overall strategy, tactics and key messaging with Governor Newsom, state agencies and policymakers.

The CSSA is a critical voice in making college truly affordable with Cal Grants that recognize the total cost of education and not just tuition/fees. A recent study by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) confirms the need for action as the status quo forces students to work longer hours, take out loans, delay their studies so that they can cover all their costs.

CSU Chico

California State University, Chico

Karen Zamarripa is working with CSU Chico President Gayle Hutchinson and the campus foundation to get one-time state funding for a state-of-the-art building to house their Human Identification Lab. The lab serves local governments, law enforcement, California, and other states in the recovery of missing persons as well as the analysis and identification of remains for criminal cases. Ms. Zamarripa and her colleague Bob Linscheid are providing the campus with strategic plan, coalition building and lobbying services to ensure that the final 2022-23 budget includes an allocation of $45-$78 million for this infrastructure investment.


Educational Results Partnership

K Zamarripa works with Educational Results Partnership, a nonprofit organization uses data linkages between all sectors of education into the workforce support student success. Specifically Ed Results has asked K Zamarripa to introduce their work to policymakers and private sector leaders who are interested in finding ways to encourage and support innovation and success in our schools and colleges with a focus on preparing a future workforce reflective of the ethnic and gender diversity of our state. Ms. Zamarripa also acts as ERP’s government relations and strategist.


Fix Financial Aid Coalition

The total cost of education is a significant barrier to many people of color and low-income in California. The State Senate of the California Community College (SSCCC), the California State Student Association (CSSA) and the University of California Student Association (UCSA) created the Fix Financial Coalition to seek reforms and greater investment in the state’s programs to give more students real access to college. Ms. Zamarripa joined the FFA in 2020 to develop and help guide overall strategy and implementation including legislative and budget advocacy, coalition building, and campaign management.

Fortune School

Fortune School of Education

The Fortune School of Education (Fortune) is preparing future teachers ready to serve our diverse K-12 students. For many years, Fortune has offered a district internship program to prepare and place new fully credentialed teacher in partnership with 60 school districts. Fortune is now seeking full accreditation as a free-standing local educational agency with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

Karen Zamarripa, as a registered lobbyist is building relationships with Commissioners and staff, advising on commission process and politics, coordinating a support campaign for accreditation approval, and monitoring CTC processes and standards for future impact.


Intersegmental Coordinating Council, California Education Round Table

The Intersegmental Coordinating Council (ICC) retained Karen Zamarripa Consulting to assist in their application, on behalf of the State of California, to the United States Department of Education (USDE) for funding through the GEAR-UP program. GEAR-UP is a grant program focused on increasing the number of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education by providing States and local community-education partnerships.



Karen Zamarripa Consulting is part of a team working for Lenovo (a global personal technology company) to expand their procurement and contracting opportunities in California. With Lenovo’s focus on public higher education including the California Community Colleges, California State University and University of California, Karen Zamarripa is playing a key role in strategy, outreach and relationship building based on her extensive background in higher education operations, budgeting and procurement.


Peralta Community College District

Peralta Community College District was the leader of a intersegmental partnership with Berkeley and Oakland Unified School Districts and CSU East Bay to develop an implementation plan funding request to the Irvine Foundation. Ms. Zamarripa served as the project manager through June 2016 for the consortia.

Representatives of California Rural Counties logo


Representatives of California Rural Counties

Representatives of California Rural Counties (RCRC) represents over half the counties in the state from Humboldt to Imperial to Mariposa. Five members face economic development and educational opportunity challenge, given they have no public two- or four-year college or university in their boundaries. RCRC retained the firm to begin discussions and foster relationships with higher education systems to find ways to make career training and college accessible for residents and to strengthen their overall communities with a well-prepared workforce.

Quote from RCRC Executive Director, Patrick Blacklock

“Karen’s experience, expertise, and professional network was instrumental in helping us gain momentum in strengthening higher education access in counties outside the community college network.”

Strategic Education Services, Inc.

Strategic Education Services, Inc.

College affordability is a concern for most families in California. Tuition and fees is often the focus of this discussion and yet almost 70% of costs for students are related to what is known as cost of attendance; specifically, textbooks and instructional materials, housing, food, and transportation. The California Student Aid Commission is leading an effort to consider what our financial aid system should in fact provide to students and families, and how to address the non-tuition costs that are more and more an impediment for student success.

Zamarripa Consulting is working with Strategic Education Services on strategy development, coalition building and advocacy planning for efforts to create a system that better reflects the needs of students today – and the real costs they face in pursuing their college degrees.

UC Board of Regents

The University of California Board of Regents

Karen Zamarripa Consulting working with Elaine Peters Executive Search was retained by the University of California Board of Regents to examine their campus chancellor search process.

The resulting report (link to document above) and 17 recommendations were unanimously adopted by the Board putting in place significant changes to the process resulting in greater engagement and inclusion, recognition of the value of diversity in experience, gender and culture/race, and systemic reforms in developing and supporting leaders.

Campus leadership is critical for success, but it can also be hard to find the right fit given the diversity of the state and changing role of campus leaders. UC like most colleges and universities are looking for leaders that better reflect the student and campus communities overall. In addition, the job of a campus leader has changed over time often requiring new skills, expertise and experience to lead these important institutions.

Zamarripa and Peters examined current policies, practices, and procedures for campus searches; the selection, roles, and responsibilities of search firms; compared and contrasted approaches used by other systems; and ultimately made recommendations to the governing board and project workgroups to make the process more efficient for everyone involved, potentially expanded the diversity of future candidates and ensure their success.