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Jenny Kao

Jenny Kao

Board Member

Jenny Kao is the Chief Policy Advisor to the President of the University of California system of 10 UC campuses, 6 medical centers, and 3 affiliated national laboratories, where she advances the University’s policy agenda, leads policy initiatives and advises the President on a wide array of policy issues. Issues range from supporting undocumented/DACA-mented, first-generation and low-income students, to standardized testing in admissions, to developing a vision for UC’s role as a social mobility machine and economic driver in California’s future.

A product of California public education, Jenny has worked in the public sector and in public higher education for over two decades. Before her current role as Chief Policy Advisor to the President, she served as both Chief of Staff for Public Affairs and founding Executive Director for Issues Management, Policy Analysis and Coordination (IMPAC). In this dual role, she developed external messaging and strategy for policy initiatives and the University system’s positions on state and federal legislation. Prior to this role, Jenny co-led the University’s state governmental relations office in Sacramento, advocating for UC’s priorities with the Governor and Legislature. She has also served as Deputy to the Executive Vice President for External Relations and Special Assistant to two prior UC Presidents, from 2000-2007.

Before that, she worked as the Higher Education Policy Analyst in then-Governor Gray Davis’ administration from 1999-2000. She began her career in higher education in undergraduate admissions policy and student athletics at the UC Berkeley campus.

Kao earned her B.A. degree (with honors) in American History from UC Berkeley, with a minor degree in French literature. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University. An immigrant and non-native English speaker, Jenny was born in Taiwan, raised in San Francisco, and now calls Oakland home. She’s fluent in Mandarin and French. Hobbies include running, hiking, and wining and dining.

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