April 08, 2009

By Paul Feinberg

LOS ANGELES -- Linda Baldwin, UCLA Anderson's assistant dean of diversity initiatives, was honored by Anderson's Riordan Fellows at their annual Gala on April 18th, 2009. Baldwin was the Riordan Program's first executive director and a member of the original team that created and conceived the program. The Riordan Program is a career-based outreach program that motivates high school students, college students and recent college graduates from diverse backgrounds and under-served communities to consider and prepare for careers in management through education, mentorship and professional development.

Under the direction of Executive Director Alex Lawrence (‘99) and Associate Director Roxanne Mendez, the Riordan Program - named for former Los Angeles Mayor and program benefactor Richard Riordan -- includes the Riordan Fellows (targeting recent college graduates who are considering graduate education in business management), as well as the Riordan Scholars Program (targeting college bound high school students interested in learning about business and developing leadership skills ) and the Healthcare Management Program (targeting current college students interested in careers in the healthcare industry).

Lawrence notes that the Riordan team is serving more participants than ever while Mendez notes that "even in today's tough economic times, we're able to get our participants internships. We're working very hard to make sure our students are more competitive as they make the transition from college to the workplace." Mendez points out that the Riordan Fellows Program has historically attracted primarily local Southern California students, but that now there are participants flying in from across the country to attend the weekend sessions.

Baldwin was there in the beginning.

"My role was ‘the implementer'," she recalled. "When I came aboard in 1987, there was already a combination of thoughts and processes devised by Professor Bill Ouchi and his team, who had done a lot of research on how to increase diversity at UCLA Anderson."

"I, along with some very dedicated staff, looked at what they had developed and hammered out what we thought might become the key components," Baldwin said. "We were tasked with taking something that existed only on paper and making it happen. I'm proud to say that we laid the foundation, and much of the curriculum we developed is still used today."

Baldwin remains steadfast in her commitment to bringing greater diversity to the UCLA Anderson community. Diversity has been one of her core values -- while serving the Riordan programs, in her current position and during her 15 year stint as Anderson's director of MBA admissions. "Diversity is important, the best solutions come from developing and valuing different perspectives," Baldwin said. "In today's world, with the complex problems we face, diversity has even more relevance because it is about bringing the best of these thoughts and ideas together to create effective results. "

"I'm humbled by this honor," Baldwin continued. "It's been incredibly meaningful to me to be a part of this program, that has over the last 20-plus years contributed to the development of individuals who have gone on to achieve so much not only for themselves but also for the greater community."

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