Lola W. Brabham was appointed the ninth President of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) in 2021. As president, she leads the Albany-based nonprofit organization that represents the chief executives of New York's 100+ private, nonprofit colleges and universities on issues of public policy.
Ms. Brabham joined CICU after a 26-year career in public service. Most recently, she served as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Civil Service and President of the Civil Service Commission. In that role, she led the central personnel agency for the Executive Branch of New York State Government, serving approximately 150,000 employees. She also directed the administration of the civil service merit system for state and local government and the New York State Health Insurance Program — one of the largest public employer health insurance programs in the nation. She previously served as both Acting Commissioner and Executive Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Civil Service.
As a member of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Cabinet, Ms. Brabham served on the New York State Council on Women and Girls, the Executive Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Review Board.
Prior to joining the Department of Civil Service, Ms. Brabham was Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Chief Financial Officer for the New York State Department of Labor, managing internal operations and overseeing the fiscal health of the agency’s $4 billion budget. In addition, she has served as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Health, Medicaid and Oversight and the Director of Human Services in the Executive Chamber under Governor David Paterson. She also held senior positions in the New York State Division of Budget. Her career began as a Legislative Budget Analyst for the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and as Chief of Staff in the New York State Assembly.
Ms. Brabham possesses a dual Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Sociology from the State University of New York and a Master of Public Administration from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.
President Brabham was recently named to City & State’s 2022 Above & Beyond, which recognizes 50 remarkable women who are improving New York, PoliticsNY’s Power Players in Education, and City & State’s 2022 and 2023 Higher Education Power 100 lists. She currently sits on the Empire Justice Center Board of Directors and is a member of the Rockefeller College and the Center for Women in Government.