Kristen Soares is the fourth president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, representing the chief executives of California’s 70-plus private nonprofit colleges and universities on issues of public policy. She has a background in higher education administration, policy development, and governmental affairs. Most recently, she served as the senior associate vice president for government relations and civic engagement at the University of Southern California (USC), where she provided strategic direction and leadership for USC’s government relation’s offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Washington, DC. She is credited with the creation of the USC Community Conversation series, a forum to foster communication between non-academic and academic communities around USC. In addition to serving on the PPIC Higher Education Center Advisory Council, she is a member of the California Education Round Table, California Intersegmental Coordinating Council Executive Committee, and The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executive Committee. She earned a BS from the USC School of Public Administration.