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Maeesha Merchant is the Senior Vice President of Finance & Operations and serves as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Founded by Walt Disney, CalArts is a leading art school that sets the pace in educating professional artists through its undergraduate and graduate programs across the visual and performing arts. Maeesha is responsible for the following CalArts units: Finance and Accounting; Human Resources; Facilities Management and Planning; Information Technology and the Office of Global Initiatives and Extended Studies. In her innovation capacity, she provides leadership on a range of key projects, including the capstone strategic visioning project that will guide the Institute’s future and its holistic planning for decades to come. Maeesha comes to CalArts from Deloitte Consulting, after spending nearly a decade in Strategy & Operations and Global Innovation in sectors including higher education and state government. Previously, she worked for Oliver Wyman as a financial services management consultant working with clients ranging from bulge brackets banks in Europe to Qatar’s Finance Minister. Maeesha is the co-founder and CEO of Andromeda Solutions, an education technology start-up. Passionate about education, she has worked with the Los Angeles Unified School District to launch entrepreneurial programs and partnered with non-profits like XPRIZE. Maeesha graduated from the Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania as a Joseph Wharton Scholar with three degrees: BSc in Economics with a concentration in Finance, from the Wharton School of Business; BAS in Biomedical Sciences; and BA in International Relations.