The UCLA Anderson community attracts people from a range of diverse backgrounds, identities and points of view. Seeking shared success, we commit to making inclusion more than a value; we make it a practice. At times, this comes easy. Other times, communicating with those from different backgrounds can be rightly challenging, and experiencing some discomfort is a necessary step toward inclusion and growth. We embrace these opportunities with the ECHO approach: being EngagedCourageousHumble and Open to ensure that we hear each person the way that person wants to be heard.

How ECHO Works


We won’t pretend that this is easy. When our actions upset others, it is not always possible to immediately reach a resolution and diffuse everyone’s discomfort. Left unchecked, confusion and frustration can lead to hostility, disrespect and avoidance, preempting the healthy conversations that give rise to diversity’s long-term benefits. Consider these examples of potentially derailing encounters, which are based on actual student experiences:

  • A male student says to a female student, “That’s a big tattoo! Did you get your husband’s permission to do that?”
  • A U.S.-born guest lecturer avoids calling on students whose names may be difficult to pronounce.
  • Student organizers of a cultural event choose to present art produced by a confessed sex offender, despite objections by some peers.

The ECHO approach takes on these situations in an almost literal way. To stay engaged when we respond to challenging viewpoints, misperceptions and other frustrations, we must first attempt to echo what we’ve heard in order to make sure we’ve understood the speaker’s intent:

  • “Before I respond, can I clarify something? Were you concerned that _________, or was it something else?”
  • “I’m hearing that you feel ________; is that correct?”
  • “Quick check, when you said ________, did that mean you ______?”

With this kind of engagement, we can more accurately understand what someone has said and create a shared awareness of one another’s views. We can then courageously explore and respond to those views — committed to being humble and open as opportunities arise — and thus increase our chances of having an informed and respectful dialogue.

Becoming Stronger Through Challenge and Celebration


We know that communication is the foundation of community. And like a good workout, difficult conversations are opportunities to build strength. We embrace them as tools to gain understanding of one another and of the organizational demands we face.

At UCLA Anderson, we know that our differences help us to discover other viewpoints and drive change around the globe. Supporting our identity clubs and committed allies throughout the Anderson community, our activities foster appreciation for Anderson’s various communities and the values, histories and traditions of each one. These activities are vital in creating understanding and a sense of connection — valuable resources with which to collectively conquer the everyday stresses of a top business school.

ECHOing around Campus: Our Stories


Engaged, we embrace conversation, rather than flee, dominate, or shut it down.

  • From her first moments in the Anderson community, J. naturally engaged with people
    from all walks of life. Curious, sincere, welcoming and straightforward, J. commits
    herself to fully hearing her peers in classroom debates and showing compassion toward
    others in the community.

Courageous, we address — rather than avoid — difficult topics. When our daily experiences are too routine and too risk-averse, we may fail to discover valuable opportunities to learn.

  • When C. proposed a policy change to senior administrators, who were not initially receptive to her request, she used inquiry to fully understand the feedback they provided. She then connected with support staff to revise her strategy accordingly and submit an appeal, which resulted in greater academic success for both herself and her fellow students.

Humble, we check on whether we are understanding and communicating well. We do not communicate perfectly, especially when our time with one another is brief. Through patience, inquiry and attentiveness, we build understanding over time.

  • Every day, B. shows how humility can be a source of strength and likeability for every compelling leader. Open, inquisitive and attentive, B. acknowledges natural human biases and the inevitable difficulty of fully and accurately understanding everyone’s identities. Admitting to his mistakes, he learns from others as much as he teaches, creating relationships that inspire and strengthen the entire community.

Open, we offer authentic perspectives with care and candor. People can address our authentic preferences, values and beliefs only when we are willing and able to communicate them.

  • When a terrorist attack began in her home country of Kenya, W. openly shared with her classmates news of the attack, and her reactions to the unfolding events. Authentically and directly sharing in this way offered W.’s classmates greater awareness of her values and priorities, as well as an opportunity for them to consider and share their own reactions and offer support.

As we ECHO one another across campus, we not only build community, we build vital skills for leadership in the increasingly diverse world of work. We will support this skill development at the school in multiple ways, including through thoughtful coursework, co-curricular workshops and student club activities such as Awareness Week.

Join Us


Inclusion at UCLA Anderson is not just a value, it is a practice of being Engaged, Courageous, Humble and Open with one another. Over time, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will be drawing attention to many ways the members of our community can — and have already started to — ECHO one another each day, enabling us all to become both more intentional and more skillful in strengthening our inclusive climate going forward.

Additional Resources


UCLA Anderson and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are continuously investing in inclusive skills development for all members of the community. Currently, our principles are being integrated into coursework, co-curricular workshops and student-led events such as LGBTQ Awareness Week and Embracing Diversity Week.