April 05, 2017

The Riordan Programs Celebrate 30 Years of Mentoring First-Generation College Students

Career-based outreach programs boast some 3,500 graduates

(LOS ANGELES, APRIL 5, 2017) — The Riordan Programs at UCLA Anderson School of Management are celebrating three decades of providing pioneering career-based outreach programs for students from underserved communities. The organization is marking its 30th anniversary with a gala event at the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center on Thursday, April 6, 2017.

Guests from the business, medical, entertainment and legal industries will join in celebrating the milestone, along with community leaders and Riordan alumni.

In addition, three exemplary Riordan alumni will be honored for their excellence in leadership:

  • Pauline Fischer, Riordan Fellow ’92, Legacy Award. A media and tech executive who has worked at Paramount Pictures, Netflix and other entertainment companies, Fischer is developing a variety of new projects in the sector.
  • Andrea Mack (MBA ’94), Riordan Fellow ’91, Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. Mack is a managing director and senior consultant relations executive for the TCW Group, a leading global asset management firm based in Los Angeles.
  • Victor Viramontes, Riordan Scholar ’91, Excellence in Civil Engagement and Leadership Award. Viramontes serves as the national senior counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a national civil rights organization headquartered in Los Angeles.

“At a pivotal point in my personal and professional development,” says Pauline Fischer (B.A. ’93), “the Riordan Programs were there to provide a foundational experience that was instrumental in the construct of my career. I’m honored to be this year’s recipient of the Legacy Award.”

To commemorate the milestone, the Riordan Programs have created a Hall of Fame to recognize the contributions that alumni, faculty, employees and friends have made since the program’s inception. The inaugural list, which will be updated annually, includes several program alumni and champions who have led lives and careers of significance, uplifted their communities and inspired future generations of Riordan participants. (View Hall of Fame profiles here.)

Nationally recognized as a model for mentoring programs, the Riordan Programs were founded in 1987 by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan and Professor William Ouchi, a retired UCLA Anderson Distinguished Professor of Management and New York Times bestselling author whose books include Making Schools Work. The Riordan Scholars Program, MBA Fellows Program and College to Career Program were designed as career-based outreach programs for underserved high school and college students in the Los Angeles area. Since the programs’ inception, more than 3,500 students have graduated, many moving on to study at leading universities, launch careers at elite companies and become community and business leaders. It is the longest-running program targeting underrepresented youths to be offered by a business school.

“The Riordan Programs at age 30 have the energy and vitality of the 16-year-old high school students, the college students and the pre-MBA students that they serve today,” says Dr. Ouchi. “New programs continue to launch every other year, and the reach of the Riordan Programs extends to a larger body of inner-city students annually. The record of successful college and graduate school completion of Riordan Scholars and Fellows remains beyond the wildest dreams that former Mayor Richard Riordan had when we founded the programs in 1987.”

“I am proud of Roxanne Mendez, Linda Baldwin, Bill Ouchi and all of the others who have made the Riordan Programs so successful,” says Mayor Riordan. “I am also very proud of all of the graduates who took advantage of the program and who will become some of the great leaders of our future.”

The programs have made measurable gains in helping students and professionals reach their goals of enrolling in some of the country’s most selective undergraduate and graduate business institutions. As a result, several Riordan Programs alumni have attained leadership roles at prestigious corporations, Wall Street firms, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, as well as establishing their own entrepreneurial ventures.

“The Riordan Programs are a source of pride and inspiration to the UCLA Anderson family, embodying our commitment to lift the communities in which we live,” says UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian. “With the mentoring role played by our MBA students, it launches their career and life journeys to include volunteerism and commitment to community giving.”

The Riordan Fellows’ Program comprises pre-MBA leadership training with a full eight months of preparation for a range of fields in college, graduate business degrees, and careers in management. The Scholars Program, targeting high school students, offers intensive college preparation, SAT instruction, one-on-one mentoring, an understanding of university life and financial literacy through a six-month stock market competition. It also introduces students to career opportunities in business. To date, the Scholars Program boasts a 100 percent university attendance rate. The College to Career Program helps current college students compete for internships, succeed in their careers and learn about leading graduate school programs.

“The Riordan Scholars program left an indelible mark on my life, exposing me to the importance of strategically preparing for success, relationship building and launching your brand,” says George Bahamondes (Riordan Scholar ’04), vice president of Deutsche Bank. “These foundational skills have had a profound impact on my life. In retrospect, my participation in the program also exposed me to the stock market as a sophomore in high school, which fundamentally changed my life trajectory. My involvement since 2001 is largely a testament to how important the program was and continues to be for me.”

UCLA Anderson MBA students also play a key role in the Riordan Programs, volunteering as mentors to program participants. More than 100 MBA students volunteer each year to help participants develop college action plans and learn about career opportunities.

“Being a Riordan mentor schools you on becoming a positive and successful role model to a deserving high school student, which is so often missing from the life of underprivileged youth,” says Wesner Moise (MBA ’02). “Riordan mentors engage with their mentees in activities organized by the program, and serve as their mentees’ career advisors and guidance counselors. My mentee stayed in touch with me throughout my Anderson MBA program and, 16 years later, we still maintain our friendship.”

About UCLA Anderson School of Management

UCLA Anderson School of Management is among the leading business schools in the world, with faculty members globally renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Located in Los Angeles, gateway to the growing economies of Latin America and Asia and a city that personifies innovation in a diverse range of endeavors, UCLA Anderson’s MBA, Fully-Employed MBA, Executive MBA, Global Executive MBA for Asia Pacific, Master of Financial Engineering, Master of Science in Business Analytics, doctoral and executive education programs embody the school’s Think in the Next ethos. Annually, some 1,800 students are trained to be global leaders seeking the business models and community solutions of tomorrow.

About the Riordan Programs

The Riordan Programs at UCLA Anderson School of Management provide leadership and management training to diverse individuals, many of whom are the first in their families to achieve a higher education. The Scholars Program, College to Career Program and MBA Fellows Program develop tomorrow’s leaders by providing a transformational experience through the use of mentors, educational workshops and community service. Alumni have made significant contributions to their communities and achieved great success in the business world in leadership positions.

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UCLA Anderson Office of Media Relations, (310) 206-7537, Media.relations@anderson.ucla.edu

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