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INDIANANAPOLIS — Governor Eric Holcomb on Thursday announced that Karrah A. Herring will serve as Indiana’s first-ever chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer.

Governor Holcomb announced the creation of the chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer while addressing the state in August. The governor’s office says the officer will focus on “improving state government operations as well as drive systemic change to remove hurdles in the government workplace and services the state provides.” Herring will work to help agencies develop strategic plans to remove any barriers, and she will report directly to the governor as a member of the governor’s cabinet.

“My goal is to better build diversity and foster an inclusive environment within state government and the services we provide so every Hoosier can take full advantage of their gifts and potential,” Gov. Holcomb said in a release. “Karrah will guide every state agency with her impressive experience at one of our state’s world-renowned universities.”

Herring has worked for the University of Notre Dame since 2011 and currently serves as the director of public affairs for the university. From 2014-2018, she served as director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX coordinator on Notre Dame’s Human Resource’s Senior Leadership Team. In this role, Herring provided oversight and support of the university’s efforts to comply with federal and state civil rights laws related to policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Herring also created Notre Dame’s affirmative action plans, had oversight of employee disability compliance for the campus and oversaw workplace investigations falling under Title VII and Title IX. She earned her undergraduate degree from Purdue University and her law degree from Valparaiso University.

“I am honored to join Gov. Holcomb’s administration and be named the state’s first chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer,” Herring said. “This is an incredible opportunity to drive cultural change across state government workplaces and essential state services by increasing equity and inclusion.”

In addition to naming Herring, Gov. Holcomb also announced Thursday that the CenterPoint Energy Foundation is supporting the state’s diversity and inclusion programs and services.

The governor’s office says that through its charitable foundation, CenterPoint Energy has been in discussions with the state since the announcement of the position in August to help understand how they may partner with Indiana to better diversity and inclusion programs. Through its strategic giving areas, the CenterPoint Energy Foundation supports programs that serve under-resourced populations to help communities thrive.

“The CenterPoint Energy Foundation has stepped up with a financial contribution for this effort because they understand getting this right is important for the long-term quality of life and growth in this state,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We are grateful for their focus on fostering more understanding, respect and trust in areas of diversity and inclusion.”