Transformative Leaders

Sofia Mandel (’24)

President, Women’s Business Connection

When I enrolled at Anderson, I joined the leadership of the Women’s Business Connection because of my strong belief in its mission to cultivate a network of influential and inclusive business leaders. This year, we’ve stepped up our awareness of what it means to be inclusive, partnering with the school’s other identity and professional groups to appeal to a wider audience by highlighting our members’ far-reaching cultural and professional perspectives and encouraging greater awareness of the issues affecting women worldwide.

Learn about WBC

We Share Success


Success Stories

UCLA Anderson students, alumnae, faculty and staff are paving the way to success and inclusion for future generations of women worldwide.

Research Spotlight: Gender Bias

UCLA Anderson faculty across our areas of study publish research that empowers people and their organizations to understand and address bias in the workplace. Read about their findings in UCLA Anderson Review, where leading journalists report on Anderson faculty’s latest and most provocative work.

Conducting research is often solitary. Even the welcome opportunities for collaboration can be limited to fellow academics whose work falls within similar lines of interest. One of the great pleasures of serving as UCLA Anderson’s dean is that it’s afforded me the opportunity to widen my circle and develop important relationships with a multitude of strong and creative students. Among the standouts are women leading some of Anderson’s most ambitious initiatives.
The women in our alumni network include the CEOs of tech giants and innovative health care companies who continually redefine what accounts for possibility. The women on our Board of Advisors and my colleagues within Anderson’s faculty and administration are crucial to the school’s mission of education, research and service. Most important, the women in our student body reinvigorate and reenergize our scholastic and professional experience. I’m proud to serve as their colleague and ally.

Tony Bernardo

— Tony Bernardo,
Dean and John E. Anderson Chair in Management
Why MBA at Anderson?
Welcome to your behind-the-scenes look at the UCLA Anderson MBA experience. These women entered with a diversity of backgrounds and graduated with a diversity of new business leadership skills. Now they tell you how an Anderson education enabled them to advance in a diversity of extraordinary careers.

Be Open to an International Career

Featuring: Savita Iyer (’05), CFO, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, The Walt Disney Company
Finance  Consulting

Singapore-based Savita Iyer (’05) has worked in finance at the Walt Disney company for 15 years. But she’s had so many opportunities in different roles worldwide that she doesn’t feel like she’ll ever get stuck doing the same thing for long. Now head of finance for Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution businesses across Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Iyer was commencement speaker for her FEMBA class at Anderson, and worked as a consultant in Sweden following graduation. She recommends that MBAs who want an international career be rigid in their goals but open to the path they take, and make it known early to employers that they’re seeking assignments overseas.


The Path to CFO

Featuring: Katie Low Anderson (’09), CFO, Guess?
Finance Retail
Katie Low Anderson (’09), CFO at Guess? Walks us through her up and down journey to becoming the CFO of a multi-billion dollar company. How believing in herself, constantly learning and keeping good relationships were the keys to her success.

A Creative’s Career Pivot

Featuring: Ginny Chien (B.A. ’98, ’10), SVP of Global Brand Marketing, Unilever Prestige/Murad Skincare
Marketing Double Bruin
Double Bruin Ginny Chien (B.A. ’98, ’10) began her career as a print journalist covering, among other topics, fashion, style and beauty. When she decided to earn her MBA at Anderson, she made the connections and gained the confidence and wherewithal to shift careers. Now she brings her interest in beauty full circle as SVP of brand, content and creative at Murad Skincare, a Unilever prestige brand.

A Problem-Solver Finds Unexpected Purpose in a Corporate Setting

Featuring: Neesha Hathi (’00), Chief Digital Officer and Managing Director, Charles Schwab
Finance Corporate
Neesha Hathi (’00), chief digital officer and managing director at Charles Schwab, felt motivated to help people create better financial futures for themselves. But she never thought that would mean working in a large corporation, leading a team of 1,500 people focused on digital transformation.

Mastering the Craft

Featuring: Melanie Auguste (MBA/J.D. ’13), VP of Global Brand Narrative, Purpose and Athlete Marketing, Nike
Sports  Leadership
Melanie Auguste (MBA/J.D. ’13) harbors a deep-seated passion for sports and a gift for understanding people and trends. From aspiring pro athlete to influential leader in the sports marketing industry, she transformed her career goals into her dream job at Nike. Her secret? Shift from thinking about your work as a “job” to viewing it as mastering a craft. It also helped that she found, in UCLA Anderson, a graduate school that valued exactly what she wanted to do.

Being Open to New Opportunities

Featuring: Deb Johnson (’99), Chief Learning Officer, Deloitte Consulting
Finance Consulting
Deb Johnson (’99), chief learning officer of Deloitte Consulting, tells us how a piece of advice her father gave her as a young girl has shaped her entire career and also the skills you should be developing for a career in consulting.

Don’t Be Afraid to Trust Your Gut

Featuring: Constance Knight (’98), Global Head of Video Curation, Instagram
Marketing Social
Constance Knight (’98) talks about how not being afraid to make big changes in your career and trusting your gut can lead to life changing outcomes. Also, why it’s so important to have specific career goals and predictions for the future.

A Fitness Entrepreneur Strengthens Her Resolve

Featuring: Felicia Alexander (’05), Co-Founder and President, BoxUnion; Chief Revenue Officer, TITLE Boxing Club
Finance Entrepreneur
Despite a “burning desire” to launch in the fitness space, Felicia Alexander (’05), co-founder and president of BoxUnion and chief revenue officer at TITLE Boxing Club, needed to overcome her risk aversion.

Curriculum Innovation

UCLA Anderson faculty bring the kind of research and industry expertise that turn classrooms into launch pads for management careers.

Velocity is a celebration of the power and impact of women. In 2024, current and future leaders of all backgrounds explore ideas for a more equitable future in business and society under the theme Empower. True to tradition, the summit will inspire our passionate and forward-thinking community to continue its learning, growth, leadership and empowerment through all stages of life and career.

UCLA Anderson Optimists


Fellowship Spotlight

Nicole Gebriel

Nicole Gebriel (’23) Receives the Second Jenessa Shapiro Fellowship

The award commemorates a UCLA Anderson professor’s groundbreaking research on prejudice and stereotype threats

To honor and advance the legacy of Professor Jenessa Shapiro (1980–2018), the UCLA Anderson community established the Jenessa Shapiro Fellowship Fund, now totaling more than $200,000, through the generosity of students, faculty, staff and friends. The second Jenessa Shapiro Fellowship was presented in fall 2021 to Nicole Gebriel (’23). Like Professor Shapiro, Gebriel is a champion of inclusivity. She serves in leadership roles in the Black Business Students Association and AnderTech, and as a Riordan MBA Fellow. She is headed toward a consulting career with a focus on driving societal impact.