Who We Are

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Marshall School of Business, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion guides the strategic efforts to ensure a welcoming and engaging educational environment in a community of diverse faculty, staff and students. Our strategic efforts include engagement and leadership workshops, panels, discussions, speaker series, and trainings designed to create an authentic sense of belonging, engagement, collaboration, and community, as well as fostering a culture of inclusion paramount to the success of all at USC Marshall.

At Marshall we partner with outstanding statewide and national organizations and programs like the Ph.D. Project, which since 1994 has more than tripled the number of African-American/Black, Latinx and Native American business school professors. USC Marshall currently has a number of Ph.D. Project scholars and actively recruits at the annual Ph.D. Project conference.

Programs such as our Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management convene conferences to excite interest in USC Marshall among women and underrepresented groups and to enhance their access to the field. We also offer an award to women in this area, who today fill only 15 percent of top-level supply chain positions. USC Marshall has taken important steps toward supporting and advancing women's achievement. Recently, the USC Marshall Graduate Women in Business and the Marshall Business Competition Program presented the inaugural MBA Everyone's Business Global Case Competition, which works with similar groups across the nation to reach gender parity and equity in business schools today and boardrooms tomorrow. Those efforts are bearing fruit: USC Marshall was the first school to achieve and exceed gender parity in the full-time MBA program for the Class of 2020.

Through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we have established a close relationship with the Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI), USC's signature college preparatory program, which enrolls close to 1,000 children annually. NAI is a rigorous, seven-year pre-college enrichment program designed to prepare students from South and East Los Angeles for admission to a college or university. Students who remain in the program in good standing from sixth grade until their high school graduation are eligible for a full scholarship to USC.

Additionally, we partner with leading organizations such as the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, the Forté Foundation and Management Leadership for Tomorrow to help women, people of color and other underrepresented groups access transformational business education and develop as next-generation leaders. This year marks USC Marshall's 50th anniversary as a Consortium member, and we were the first school on the West Coast to join. Since 1968, over 700 USC Marshall students have been Consortium-affiliated. We also help nurture achievement through support of diverse student groups such as Black Graduate Business Leaders, the Black Business Student Association, the Graduate Asian Business Society, the Latino Business Student Association, the Latino Management & Business Association, SpectrumSC, Marshall Pride and others. National organizations such as the National Association of Black Accountants and the Association of Latino Professionals for America have thriving chapters at USC Marshall as well.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is led by Dr. Violina Rindova, Interim Vice Dean  and Dr. Sarah Townsend, Interim Assistant Vice Dean, along with Dr. Smrity Randhawa, Assistant Dean, and Tonisha Jester, Senior Associate Director.


To be a catalyst, change agent, and strategic support for the USC Marshall School of Business in achieving, operationalizing, and sustaining its commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and antiracism.


Ensuring a vibrant and welcoming educational and professional environment, where each member of the Marshall community is authentically and holistically seen, valued, affirmed, and empowered to thrive to their fullest potential.  

Violina Rindova

Dr. Violina Rindova
Interim Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Captain Henry W. Simonsen Chair in Strategic Entrepreneurship
Director of Research for the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
Professor of Management Communication

Violina Rindova teaches and studies strategic innovation -- how firms create value, intangible assets, and new market opportunities through unconventional strategies across a variety of industry contexts. Her work has been published in the premier management journals and has been covered frequently in the business media, including the Economist, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. She is the recipient of multiple grants and awards, including the “Thought Leadership” award from the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management (2009), and the award for outstanding scholarly contribution from Strategic Organization (2012). She served as an Associate Editor of the Academy of Management Review and is currently part of the leadership team of the Behavioral Strategy Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society.

Sarah Townsend

Dr. Sarah Townsend
Interim Assistant Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Associate Professor of  Management and Organization 

Dr. Sarah Townsend studies the psychological foundations of inequality. Her research reveals the dysfunctional behaviors and physiological costs that can result when individuals’ cultural norms collide with the dominant cultural norms of organizations. She examines how these“ cultural divides” are often a hidden source of inequality, but how they can be used to lessen opportunity gaps and fuel greater cross-group understanding. Dr. Townsend uses a multi-method approach. She measures people's cardiovascular and hormonal responses along with how they think, feel, and act.

Dr. Townsend is an associate editor for Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and an editorial board member for both Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Academy of Management Discoveries. She has also been featured on Poets and Quants as "Professor of the Week" and was named a "Rising Star" by the Association of Psychological Science. Dr. Townsend's research has been published in numerous scholarly outlets and she has been an invited speaker at numerous events and conferences hosted by the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, the Academy of Management, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for the Science of Motivation. Further, her research has been covered by various media outlets, including The Atlantic, Huffington Post, New York Magazine, and The Washington Post.

Dr. Townsend teaches undergraduate, MBA, and executive courses on organizational leadership and the science of bias, diversity, and inclusion.

Smrity Randhawa

Dr. Smrity Randhawa
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Leventhal School of Accounting
Associate Professor of Clinical Accounting

Smrity Randhawa is an Accounting scholar whose area of expertise spans financial accounting, managerial accounting, valuation, disclosure and corporate governance. Smrity holds a PhD in Business from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. In her research, she has studied the effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on small public companies. At Marshall School of Business she has taught classes ranging from Introductory Accounting for undergraduate students to Financial Statement Analysis for graduate students. In addition to her faculty duties, she also provides consulting services related to: bankruptcy analysis; fair value accounting measurements and valuations; and provides opinions on the analysis of other experts.

Tonisha Jester

Tonisha Jester
Sr. Associate Director
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Tonisha Jester, Senior Associate Director at the USC, Marshall School of Business Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is a catalyst for change and passionate about infusing values around diversity, inclusion, climate and equity into all programs and activities.

Tonisha has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, program planning and implementation, project and budget management; the breadth of her experience is comprehensive.  In her various roles at USC, she managed and provided  program advisement for the Marshall Business Case Competition Program, Marshall Leadership Fellows Program and Marshall student organizations.  She also managed the recruitment, admissions, academic advising and student services for six newly created Specialized Masters Programs.

In addition, Tonisha is founder of LT Elite Prep, an educational and organizational consultancy; that develops programming and opportunities for the advancement of youth in marginalized and disenfranchised communities.  

Student Workers

Ashley Childress

 Ashley Childress 

Dajah Pickering

 Dajah Pickering

Faculty & Staff Fellows

Cohort 1 (Inaugural)

Patrick Cates
Jewelette Christopher
Syan Ekwegh
Tiffiani Frye
Audrena Goodie
Tonisha Jester
Sara McLachlan
Julie Phaneuf
Smrity Randhawa
Jody Tolan
Naomi Warren
Diane Yaris

Cohort 2

Courtney Brunious 
Tonii Brady
Ruben Davila
Gita Gohavi
Quanda Graves
Lanore Larson
Elaine Padilla
Sandra Parada
Sarah Townsend 
Jeannie Walker
Zivia Wilson Sweeney
Terance Wolfe
Pai Liang Yin