Berkeley Lab

Lady Idos to Join DOE to Help Develop DEI Strategy- A Message from Mike Witherell

Picture of Mike Witherell Lab Director

  July 22, 2021


You may know that under the leadership of Lady Idos, our Chief DEI Officer, the Lab’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability (IDEA) program has made incredible progress fostering a diverse workforce and a culture of inclusion here at the Lab. We have begun to see positive changes, and Berkeley Lab and Lady are now widely recognized as leading forces in DEI across the national lab complex.

Not surprisingly, news of Lady’s positive impact has reached the halls of the Forrestal Building and Shalanda Baker, DOE Deputy Director for Energy Justice and Advisor to Secretary Granholm on Equity. Baker has asked Lady to help design a DOE-wide strategy on justice, equity, diversity, belonging, and inclusion that will continue to build a more diverse and inclusive culture within the Department. Lady will be on assignment to DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity for about a year while she works on this strategy. She will start her leave on July 30, and her temporary assignment begins August 9.

Since she began serving as our Chief DEI Officer in 2018, Lady has had an enormous impact on the Lab’s culture. Though we still have a great deal of work to do, the IDEA campaign has already helped us to develop a shared language that has become a touchstone of our culture, and it has given us tools to continue to build diverse talent pathways and an inclusive experience for everyone in the Lab community. Among the program’s accomplishments:

  • Partnering with leaders and teams across the Lab, developed and implemented a Strategic Plan for IDEA.

  • Moved the IDEA program from launch phase into deployment.

  • Ensured that IDEA was centrally represented in all actions and decisions in the Lab’s COVID-19 response.

  • With her team in the IDEA office, initiated a series of community-building events that received very broad participation.

  • Took a lead role in the Lab’s response to the resurgence of interest in racial justice and inequity following the murder of George Floyd.

  • Ensured equity is considered within decision-making, evaluating performance, and work distribution, particularly in times of disruption and remote workforce management.

During Lady’s absence, I have asked Aditi Chakravarty to step in as Interim Chief DEI Officer to continue the progress we are making. Many of you may already know Aditi as the driving force behind the Lab’s Equity Reset First Fridays series. As head of the Lab’s Learning and Organizational Development Office, Aditi has conceived of and led a number of initiatives and programs to advance stewardship and our IDEA goals, as well as support our supervisors and their teams in developing new, IDEA-focused leadership skills. 

For more than a decade before joining the Lab, Aditi served as a DEI strategist and culture consultant to institutions ranging from Fortune 10 companies to public universities to blue chip technology firms. She has a master’s in organizational psychology from Harvard University and has served as an organizational behavior researcher at the Harvard Business School and Harvard Learning Innovations Laboratory. I am confident that she will be able to maintain the IDEA campaign’s momentum and continue to carry out our vision for a culture of inclusion and belonging informed by our principles of stewardship. 

I am pleased that Lady’s leadership has captured the attention of our federal partners, and that Lady is able to offer her formidable DEI expertise to such a worthy cause. We wish her every success in this assignment and look forward to her return next year. 

Best regards,


Michael Witherell
Laboratory Director
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
(510) 486-5111
Nina Lucido, Sr. Administrator to the Director
(510) 486-7195