‘On equal terms:’ Teresa Ochoa, custodial services

portrait of Teresa Ochoa smiling

Teresa Ochoa has been working in custodial services at UC Berkeley for 34 years. (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

Each day until Aug. 18  Berkeley News will host a series of Q&As featuring 18 unsung heroines on staff from all corners of the campus. The series will culminate on Aug. 18 with a special edition of Berkeley Campus Conversations, featuring four remarkable female staffers:

  • Cruz Grimaldo, assistant vice chancellor and director of the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office
  • Sunny Lee, assistant vice chancellor and dean of students
  • Mia Settles-Tidwell, assistant vice chancellor in the Division of Equity and Inclusion
  • Charmin Smith, head coach of Cal women’s basketball

The third woman honored as part of this series is Teresa Ochoa, has been working in custodial services at UC Berkeley for 34 years.

Read more stories about UC Berkeley’s commemoration of “150 Years of Women at Berkeley.”

What advice would you give to other staff members looking to move individuals, teams, units or improvements forward at UC Berkeley?

Communicate and work as a team to always implement a vision and a mission for the department or organization. Work together to build morale and confident decision making as a team.

Who is a female staff member (non-academic) that you admire on campus and why?

Chancellor Carol Christ. She is a very enthusiastic, very knowledgeable and sincere person.

What obstacles have you faced based on your identities (if any) and how did you overcome them?

I have been made to feel defeated because I am Spanish. People criticize my accent, which can be demoralizing. But I have overcome those examples of adversity to be recognized at work by clients and the department. Be patient and ignore criticism. I always try to be myself.

Teresa and John holding brooms and smiling

Teresa Ochoa stands with a colleague in 2019. (UC Berkeley photo by Irene Yi)

What words of wisdom would you like to share with all genders on campus when it comes to appreciating women’s work contributions at UC Berkeley?

Women are equal to men; we are strong and intelligent.

What future aspirations do you have at UC Berkeley?

At this point, RETIRE? I would like to explore the world. I love to travel and maybe to learn piano lessons. I’d like to continue visiting the children’s hospital on Sundays to help the children read books, play and talk with their families. I will enjoy spending time with my granddaughter, daughter, son and family. I love to cook, walk and learn something new.

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