Culture Network Member Spotlight:

Meet Ryan, Administrative Project Specialist, USC Department of Public Safety

What made you decide to join USC’s Culture Network?

I’ve worn many hats here at USC – community member, undergraduate student, alumnus, and now staff member – and in all of those roles, there were several times when I saw cultural shortcomings across various parts of the university. I’m a firm believer in the idea of being the change that one wants to see in the world, so when the opportunity to join the Culture Network presented itself, I jumped at it because I am enthusiastic about the prospect of affecting positive change at a place that I hold so near and dear to my heart.

Can you give an example of an activity or program – whether sponsored by the Culture Network or not – that has broken down silos between different departments and had a positive effect on workplace culture? 

The Culture Network social/meetup events have definitely helped to break down silos between different departments in that they’ve given those of us in the Network (who otherwise would probably not have had the opportunity to meet each other) the ability to network with each other and learn best practices as to how to successfully advance culture work from our peers throughout the university.

How does USC promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, and how have you contributed to these efforts? 

I don’t really have an answer to the first part of this question. I can guess the initiatives that USC has to promote DEI among staff members, but I don’t know for certain. Speaking to the second part of the question, however, I try my best to, one, encourage diversity of thought by encouraging individuals with differing opinions to speak up and bring their ideas to the attention of decision-makers and, two, to encourage individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds to seek out career advancement opportunities, both promotional and educational.

Have you taken advantage of any events or trainings sponsored by USC’s Culture Network or other campus partners? If so, how has what you learned there helped you in your role?

Yes! In addition to trainings provided by other campus partners (e.g., The QI Leadership Program put on by Student Affairs, the WorkWell Center’s Mental Health Awareness Month webinars, etc.) it’s been my pleasure to be a part of the Culture Network social/meetup events where I’ve been able to learn what strategies have effectively been used to advance culture across the university. As the project manager for the implementation of the Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board’s recommendations within DPS, learning what has worked effectively from other campus partners has helped me to think about novel ways by which the work of implementing the CAB’s 45 recommendations can be done (as culture work and police reform are inextricably intertwined).

How do you hope to see USC’s culture evolving in the future, and how do you plan to contribute to this evolution as a member of the Culture Network?

I hope that USC continues to make meaningful, intentional investments in making sure that everyone at the university, from senior leadership down to line-level personnel, truly lives out both the letter and the spirit of our unifying values. Personally, I plan to contribute by emulating the behaviors that support our unifying values and setting the example for others to follow

In terms of other thoughts I’d like to share about building an ethical and inclusive culture here at USC, I’d like to share a quote from the oath that I took when I was a USC Department of Public Safety Cadet: “I will strive to do what I know is right, even when it is difficult.” I share this quote because, in addition to exemplifying our unifying value of Integrity, I feel that holding ourselves to the standard of doing the right thing, even when it is difficult, both in letter and in spirit, serves as a good foundational principle for building an ethical and inclusive culture.

Ryan Lopez

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