University of Southern California is home to a dynamic research and organizational improvement center that helps professionals in corporations, educational institutions, and other contexts strategically develop and achieve equity goals, better understand and correct climate problems, avoid and recover from diversity-related crises, and foster sustainable cultures of inclusion and respect. Evidence, as well as scalable and adaptable models of success, inform our rigorous approach.


The USC Race and Equity Center and USC Marshall School of Business launched the Alliance for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Business in January 2020. Extensive prior experience developing high-quality learning opportunities for professionals across a multitude of industries, as well as deep expertise on assessing climates of inclusion for women, employees of color, LGBTQ employees, employees with disabilities, and other marginalized groups, uniquely poises us to offer an array of useful experiences and tools focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) to Alliance member companies and firms.



Each year, we host six intensive Equity Leadership Academies for Alliance member companies and firms. These professional learning experiences are held in Los Angeles over two-day periods throughout the year. Each focuses on a specific topic pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in business.


Professors from top business schools across the country – Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Northwestern, Dartmouth, Duke, University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, and USC, to name a few – teach eight 90-minute learning modules during each two-day Academy. While designed and delivered by expert scholars who have published studies on their respective topics and consulted with numerous companies, modules focus mostly on strategies and practical approaches. Emphasis is placed on learning from sagas that have recently occurred elsewhere; learning how to get ahead of situations and reducing risk of crisis; and learning actionable EDI leadership strategies. Participants also learn about evolving trends pertaining to diverse clients, customers, and employees.

At the end of both days, Equity Leadership Academy participants are taught how to communicate what they have learned to others in their companies. They return to work with shareable tools and resources. Participants who complete all eight modules across the two days receive an executive leadership certificate from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. There is no registration cost for up to two representatives per company per Academy. A company can send the same two employees to all six academies, or total of 12 different representatives across the half-dozen academies annually.



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Dr. Shaun R. Harper                 

Provost Professor, USC Marshall School of Business

Phone: (213) 740-0385

Debra Langford Headshot.jpg

Debra Langford

Alliance Chief Strategy Officer, USC Race and Equity Center

Phone: (213) 821-6142

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The Center has developed an online repository of resources and tools. Downloadable EDI-related readings, case studies, videos, slide decks, and conversation scripts are included in the portal and accessible to all employees at Alliance member companies and firms.


Additionally, experts from the Center occasionally write and upload two-page briefs in response to EDI-related questions that employees from Alliance member companies post to the platform. In two pages, we answer the question, succinctly summarize what research says about the topic, highlight evidence-based best practices, and conclude with a clear recommendation for action.



The annual Alliance membership cost is $25,000. Companies are responsible for employees’ travel and lodging costs for the six equity leadership academies.

“We joined the Alliance because we care so deeply about advancing diversity and inclusion in our company” – Steve Aposhian, CEO, Most Creative Company