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Striving for a Diverse Business Community


Students, alumni, faculty and guests agreed that real change is in connections
 

Each year, UCLA Anderson’s Embracing Diversity Week (EDW) celebrates the strength of our diverse campus community and the power of our connections to reshape our future.


In 2020, EDW brought each corner of our community together to discuss diversity in business, the areas we can improve upon and how we can make our spaces more equitable for all. Under the theme of Connect for Real Change, Anderson student leaders focused on the importance of building strong relationships, despite the barriers that arose in 2020 — especially the very real obstacle of not being able to congregate in person. In fact, our team was able to garner the largest audience for EDW that Anderson has ever seen, consisting of students, alumni, staff, faculty and partners from the business community.

Together, we summarized some highlights of the conference. We found the discussions insightful, and the energy electric. Participants left feeling energized to finish out the calendar year and apply learnings to their workflows for years to come. As Boeing’s retired SVP of internal governance and EDW keynote speaker Wanda Denson-Low said, “ Everyone deals with adversity. It’s not the adversity itself, but the way you react to it that shapes your character.

Thank you to all who participated!

— Gaelen LeMelle-Brown (’21), Anderson Student Association VP of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In 2020, EDW brought each corner of our community together to discuss diversity in business, the areas we can improve upon and how we can make our spaces more equitable for all. Under the theme of Connect for Real Change, Anderson student leaders focused on the importance of building strong relationships, despite the barriers that arose in 2020 — especially the very real obstacle of not being able to congregate in person. In fact, our team was able to garner the largest audience for EDW that Anderson has ever seen, consisting of students, alumni, staff, faculty and partners from the business community.

Together, we summarized some highlights of the conference. We found the discussions insightful, and the energy electric. Participants left feeling energized to finish out the calendar year and apply learnings to their workflows for years to come. As Boeing’s retired SVP of internal governance and EDW keynote speaker Wanda Denson-Low said, “It’s not that you become important because of your job. Your job becomes important because you perform it. It’s one of the many things that you can invest yourself in.”

Thank you to all who participated!

— Gaelen LeMelle-Brown (’21), Anderson Student Association VP of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

“Retail racism exemplifies all the characteristics we see in modern day racism. In most instances, people are not banned from entering a store. They are more than likely subject to inferior treatment. It is very difficult to pinpoint motivations.”
— Dr. Cassi Pittman Claytor, Climo Junior Professor of Sociology, Case Western Reserve University

Retail Racism: What Does It Look Like and How Can Companies Combat It?

The Retail Business Association hosted Case Western Reserve’s Dr. Cassi Pittman Claytor, author of the book Black Privilege: Modern Middle-Class Blacks With Credentials And Cash To Spend, to discuss her research on retail racism. Claytor highlighted how retail environments are a venue for racial relations, with the potential to repeat inequalities seen in larger society. The conversation also highlighted structural issues within the retail sector, such as the relative underrepresentation of black floor managers and possible negative discriminatory effects of sales quotas. Participants were encouraged to stay tuned in early 2021, when beauty retailer Sephora would release the results of a wide-ranging internal study conducted by Claytor and others. “Sephora is a very innovative company,” she said. “It is very data driven. It uses a very innovative approach to introduce new products. My argument was, why not use that same approach when it comes to approaching racism in your stores or your organization?”

“Retail racism exemplifies all the characteristics we see in modern day racism. In most instances, people are not banned from entering a store. They are more than likely subject to inferior treatment. It is very difficult to pinpoint motivations.”

— Dr. Cassi Pittman Claytor, Climo Junior Professor of Sociology, Case Western Reserve University
10 Years Later: The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Health Care Access and Equality

The Healthcare Business Association rang in the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with a panel discussion moderated by UCLA Professor Gerald Kosminiski and featuring Dr. Neil Parikh, president of Oscar Medical Group, and Louise McCarthy, president and CEO of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County. The three experts brought their different perspectives on health care to highlight the wide-ranging implications of the ACA. Participants learned how the ACA has effectively increased the number of individuals covered by medical insurance in the U.S., but also how inequalities in health care coverage across ethnicities have persisted. Companies like Oscar have emerged to serve the larger health insurance markets while providing innovations like advanced telehealth capabilities. Community clinics continue to provide crucial care to diverse populations in cities like L.A. while navigating the political realities of securing funding and support from stakeholders.

“It’s not your responsibility as an ally to make people from underrepresented groups feel better, but it is your responsibility to ensure people from underrepresented groups have equity and equal opportunity in the spaces where you have privilege.”

— Jesse Meza (’22)
Building for Everyone: A Fireside Chat with Google’s Head of Product Inclusion, Annie Jean-Baptiste

Students discussed what it means to be an ally for diversity and inclusion

Anderson’s Technology Business Association, in collaboration with the Easton Technology Management Center, welcomed Google’s head of product inclusion Annie Jean-Baptiste to a fireside chat. Leveraging best practices covered in her recent book Building for Everyone, Jean-Baptiste provided the audience with actionable steps to make product development more inclusive to users from different ethnicities, abilities and more. Recommendations included broadening the scope of user research and driving accountability in an organization by advocating for product inclusion “top-down” and “bottom-up.” She reminded students entering the technology world that an early dedication to the practice could afford them a strong competitive advantage, as the need to serve diverse populations only grows. Solving for an underrepresented group, she said, can actually benefit everyone.

“I’m an officer in the National Guard leading 30 directors. There are not many people in this position who look like me. Sometimes my commands get taken as a suggestion. You have to know when to defend your views and speak up.”

— Rhian Rogan (’20), Platoon Leader, Army National Guard
International Perspectives: An Embracing Diversity Dialogue

International students offered their perspectives on how the events of 2020 unfolded in the U.S.

The International Business Association invited a panel of recent Anderson alumni and current students for a conversation reflecting international perspectives. The International Business Association invited a panel of recent Anderson alumni and current students for a conversation reflecting international perspectives. Hosted by Dani Ebersole (’20), the panelists described key lessons from the experience of 2020. Recent alumna Kari Yu (’20) encouraged students to focus on what is personally controllable, and to use that energy for self-care and success. Jiali Huang (’21) spoke about how Anderson experiences like orientation week’s ropes course provided a supportive community’s encouragement to overcome her fears. Mauricio Segovia (’22) and Alberto Dominguez (’21) shared how they have kept real connections alive throughout the pandemic, while Pallavi Bhandari (’21) invited classmates to learn more about diversity in different contexts, including in places like India.

“I feel like I know my classmates, even though I’ve never met them.”

— Mauricio Segovia (’22)
Dimensions of Transcultural Marketing

Anderson alumni and marketing experts Mia Von Sadovsky (’94), Rita Mathur (’07) and Anastasia Ali (’14) joined a conversation on transcultural marketing moderated by Professor Hal Hershfield and presented by Anderson’s Marketing Association. The panelists highlighted growing demand for authentic brand messages around equity and inclusion, and how to change elements of the marketing industry to embrace this inclusivity.

UCLA Anderson Board of Advisors Term Chair in Management Hal Hershfield moderated a panel on inclusivity in marketing

Change includes creating more pipelines for underrepresented talent at agencies and brands, educating clients and brand partners on the need for inclusive messages, and including a wide range of voices at the initial ideation stage of any decision making process. The panelists highlighted that both in external marketing and in the internal conversations that shape those ideas, they have to be bold, authentic and confident, all qualities they’ve developed at Anderson and in their careers.

“As you get older, the accolades mean nothing if you can’t bring people along with you. The more people you bring along at every level means that there are more, collectively, of all of us — which means we have the same experiences and can provide support to one another.”

— Wanda Denson-Low, Retired SVP, Office of Internal Governance, The Boeing Company
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