Natalie Johal

Associate Director - People & Operations

Natalie (she/they) serves as Associate Director of People & Operations at EdTrust-West, where they manage the employee life cycle within the California office and build the operational systems and structures that allow team members to work collaboratively, grow together, and maximize their impact. She is also co-chair of EdTrust-West’s internal Walking the Talk Committee, which supports building and maintaining an anti-racist, just, and liberatory culture for staff across intersectional identities. Before her current role, Natalie was Manager of HR, Culture, and Equity at the Stupski Foundation. They built out Human Resources functions to support a growing team and operationalized equity and belonging within policies, practices, and culture. That work included revising hiring and onboarding policies, incorporating restorative justice practices, overseeing all-staff racial justice education, and building pathways to shared power and decision-making. Natalie has a diverse operations background, including working as a manager in the food industry, supporting the CEO of an investment firm, and serving as an executive assistant and board liaison in nonprofits.

Natalie is passionate about aligning internal operations and culture with organizational mission and values. She believes nonprofits must reflect on how they uphold systems of oppression rooted in white supremacy culture and colonization and imagine and build new life-giving structures together.

Natalie is a queer, mixed-race South Asian American and a proud descendant of Punjabi immigrants who embodied Chardi Kala (Sikh philosophy of relentless optimism or joyfulness inside the struggle). Natalie earned a Bachelor’s degree in English at UC Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Administration at the University of San Francisco. She also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from San Francisco State and a Professional in Human Resources – California (PHRca) certification.


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  • Oakland, CA
People & Operations

Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.