Foster Business Magazine Spring 2016

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Michael G. Foster school of business University of washington spring 2016

business Plus: Amazon to Zulily

page 12

My MBA Rankings

page 16 Where the Elite Meet to Lead

page 18 Heart + Mind

A Big Bang

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for Small Business In its 20 years of existence, the Consulting and Business Development Center has made a massive—and expanding—impact page 8




business Dean James Jiambalvo

Associate Dean of Advancement Steven Hatting

Director of Alumni Engagement


A Big Bang for Small Business The Consulting and Business Development Center has made a massive—and expanding—impact

Andrew Krueger


Contributing Writers

Healthy Competition, People Power, Did You Know?, Lunch and Learn, Get in the Network, Fond Farewell, #WasAtFoster, Foster Facts


Design a.k.a. design

The Foster School’s innovative approach to career management offers opportunities of a lifetime with the world’s best businesses

Foster develops app-style MBA Rankings Calculator

Foster School of Business Marketing & Communications University of Washington Box 353200 Seattle, WA 98195-3200 206.543.5102



Great Reads: Fiction, Research Briefs, Thought Leaders


Where the Elite Meet to Lead

Heart + Mind

Orin Smith has led Starbucks, the UW and a host of impactful organizations with visionary intellect and humble humanity

On the Web

Foster Business is published twice a year by the University of Washington Foster School of Business. The publication is made possible by donations from alumni and friends. No state funds are used in its production.

Change of Address?

The annual UW Business Leadership Celebration approaches its 25th year of world-renowned speakers and local luminaries


Andrea Bowers, Ed Kromer, Andrew Krueger, Carolyn Marsh, Eric Nobis

Matt Hagen (principal), Paul Gibson

Amazon to Zulily

My MBA Rankings

Renate Kroll




Managing Editor



Alumni Molly Moore, Kevin Clark, Tom and Jeff Lindquist

from the dean

The Colors of Foster While we may be based in the Emerald City in the heart of the Evergreen State, when I say the University of Washington, there’s only one color that comes to mind, right?

PURPLE. Purple pride. It’s considered the color of royalty. It’s a powerful combination of blue’s calm stability and red’s fierce energy. It’s fitting for a truly great university, but purple is not alone. Gold is a color associated with excellence and prosperity. It’s valued and sought after. At the Foster School of Business, gold is particularly apropos to the business education and leadership development we deliver. We want our students to prosper and, along the way, create opportunities for others. When John W. Nordstrom struck gold in the Klondike, he didn’t keep digging. He returned to Seattle and started a business that thrives 115 years later. Each generation of Nordstrom leadership that followed has included a Foster School graduate right up to today’s winning team. Beyond the legendary customer experience we appreciate with each visit, think about the true impact and significance of a success story like Nordstrom’s. How many families have relied on this retail icon to provide the jobs that paid their mortgages and put their children through school? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Add Boeing, Moss Adams, PACCAR, Weyerhaeuser and other century-old Washington companies to this golden impact list. Without them, where would our state be? As we prepare for UW Foster’s centennial in 2017, we’re not just marking your alma mater’s 100th anniversary. We’re celebrating 100 years of education in support of the companies that fuel our economy and support a quality of life few places on Earth can match. This includes helping grow the firms and jobs at the Amazons, Microsofts, Starbucks and other national and global firms that recruit in Dempsey Hall each year (and Lewis, Balmer and those that preceded them back to 1917), as well as the startups coming from our students, alumni and partners in numerous real-world, real-money competitions like our new Health Innovation Challenge.

In the pages that follow, I hope you gain a sense of the “golden pride” in the leaders, prosperity and futures that continue to be created at the University of Washington. Leaders like Orin Smith and the alumni we’ve recognized over the last 25 years through our Business Leadership Celebrations, and prosperity through offerings like those of the Consulting and Business Development Center that flourish at the intersection of business and education—where they’re needed most. Futures powered by a UW Foster education, focused by unsurpassed career services, and bolstered by alumni like you who help recruit and promote the class of 2016 and beyond. Purple pride for the University of Washington? Absolutely. Golden opportunity for those with a passion to get ahead? That is what business education always will be about at the UW. Enjoy this issue of Foster Business, and thank you once again for all you do for your alma mater!

James Jiambalvo Dean, Michael G. Foster School of Business Kirby L. Cramer Chair in Business Administration

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Healthy CompetitioN New challenge focuses on healthcare innovation is driving economic growth and innovations that affect our health and wellness,” says Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director of the Buerk Center. “The players include the University of Washington, private companies, global nonprofits, healthcare incubators and investors, research institutes and social entrepreneurs. With the Health Innovation Challenge, we are building on the strengths of the UW and the Seattle community to provide a platform for students with a passion for health and healthcare to further develop their ideas and gain visibility for their innovations.” The Buerk Center is partnering with various colleges, schools and departments across campus to promote the challenge to a broad group of students from multiple disciplines. “The exciting thing about health innovation,” says Bourassa-Shaw, “is that it’s not limited to students and researchers in medicine.” The winners of this year’s challenge included students in bioengineering, business, computer science, and mechanical and chemical engineering. The grand prize was awarded to Engage, a team “working to improve medical technology in developing countries with scarce resources, initially focusing on reducing the spread of blood-borne pathogens as a result of contaminated injections.” Second place went to miPS Labs, which “allows you to preserve your youngest cells today to repair and regenerate your body tomorrow.” In total, $20,500 was awarded to winning teams to further their concepts.


Healthcare has entered a period of unprecedented change. Throughout the world, innovators are developing creative solutions that increase the efficacy, efficiency, and accessibility of healthcare and transform the way we think about health. Many of these innovations are coming out of Washington state and the UW—both recognized leaders in health innovation. In the last year alone we’ve seen cutting-edge developments in genomic-based testing, telehealth, wearable devices and other products and processes that will improve health and wellness worldwide. To that end, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School launched the inaugural Health Innovation Challenge this March. “The healthcare ecosystem in Seattle

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Tara Brown Photography


Dean Jim Jiambalvo with John Jacobi, Steve Singh, Gary Furukawa and John W. Thompson

People Power Business Leadership Celebration honors remarkable leaders, powerful relationships “Economic growth brings opportunity, security, education, art, community, health and freedom,” said Foster School Dean Jim Jiambalvo in opening the 24th annual Business Leadership Celebration last October. “And growth only happens when great business leaders take bold actions that bring together financial and human resources to compete in new and innovative ways.” The three new recipients of the school’s Distinguished Leadership Award stand as exemplars of such “bold actions.” Family (and friends) business After purchasing an eight-agent real estate office in 1972, John Jacobi (BA 1962) grew Windermere Services Company into the largest real estate firm in the Pacific Northwest. The retired chairman has also turned the Windermere Foundation

4 | Foster Business

into a major force in the fight to end homelessness. But Jacobi didn’t do it alone. Windermere was built upon relationships; he counts Windermere colleagues as his closest friends. And he takes enormous pride in having recently turned over management of the 300-office firm to his family’s next generation. “They say, don’t run a business with friends or family,” Jacobi remarked. “That advice doesn’t resonate with me at all. My greatest success is seeing my kids and friends running Windermere now.” Passion and pragmatism The founder and senior partner of Freestone Capital Management, Gary Furukawa (BA 1981) offered some life lessons acquired from Freestone’s successful and seasoned clients.

Paramount among them was the observation that money doesn’t buy happiness. It takes a mix of passion and pragmatism. “I tell my children that you have to find something in life that you love doing and that you have a chance to be good at,” said Furukawa. The one-time NBA dreamer who stopped growing at 5'4" added that he was lucky to have had wealth management as a backup.

Did you know?

The world you want Defining moments were on the mind of Steve Singh, the co-founder and CEO of the business travel management firm Concur and member of SAP’s Global Managing Board. The Foster School advisor shared three such moments from his life: a teenage visit to his family’s ancestral village in India; the birth of his son; and his viewing of a Steve Jobs speech on reshaping the world. “Moments like this come to all of us,” Singh said. “However we all got here, we’re here to create the world that we want, that’s fantastic for everybody. We owe this to each other.”

1900 Weyerhaeuser Timber Company

Inspiration and patience “Leadership is motivating a team to do more than they could imagine,” offered keynote speaker John W. Thompson, the CEO of Virtual Instruments and chairman of the board of Microsoft. Thompson, who recalled being the “first African American this, that, or the other at every place I ever went,” worked his way up the ladder at IBM from sales to senior management, and then to the CEO office at Symantec and the chairman seat at Microsoft. He said that he accomplished this by taking a measured approach, continually aspiring to his boss’s job rather than swinging for CEO right off the bat. “It’s a long path,” he said. “And if you have only that big aspiration from the start, you may not appreciate accomplishments and see progress along the way.” In memoriam In a special memorial, Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Line and a member of the Foster School advisory board, paid tribute to 2004 Distinguished Leadership Awardee Stanley McDonald (BA 1943). McDonald, the founder of Princess Cruises (now part of Holland America), passed away late last year at the age of 94. “It’s often said that we stand on the shoulders of giants,” Kruse said. “Stan McDonald was one of those giants. He was the founding father of the modern cruise industry. His lifetime achievements and legacy will live on forever.”

The Puget Sound Region has given birth to a lot of iconic companies and brands. Here’s when some of them launched:

1884 Rainier Beer (Claussen-Sweeney Brewing Company)

1901 Nordstrom (originally Wallin & Nordstrom) 1905 PACCAR Inc (started as Seattle Car Manufacturing Company) 1907 United Parcel Service (founded as American Messenger Company) 1913 Moss Adams LLP 1916 Boeing (founded as Pacific Aero Products) 1920 Eddie Bauer 1938 REI 1971 Starbucks 1973 Trident Seafoods 1975 Microsoft 1983 Costco 1993 Emeritus Senior Living 1994 RealNetworks (then known as Progressive Networks) 1995 Amazon (incorporated as “Cadabra” in 1994) 1996 F5 1997 Getty Images 1996 ShareBuilder 2004 RedFin based_in_Seattle

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Get in the Network LinkedIn… • officially launched on May 5, 2003 • had 4,500 members after 1 month of operation • currently has 414+ million members • gains 2 new members per second • has 40+ million students and recent college graduates (fastest-growing demographic)

Lunch and Learn Microsoft employees get a page from Coach Pete’s playbook Always striving for new and better ways to deliver a strong team-driven difference, the Foster School borrowed a page from Husky head football coach Chris Peterson’s playbook February 26th for an alumni luncheon at Microsoft. And “Coach Pete” delivered it himself for 120 Foster alums working at the Redmond-based software icon. Peterson was the latest speaker in a series of lunchand-learns that began five years ago with the help and guidance of lead volunteer Bryan Tomlinson (MBA 2010), a senior strategy manager at the company. The recurring professional development events connect more than 800 grads, the single largest business school alumni group at Microsoft. Following a tech center tour led by Microsoft treasurer George Zinn (MBA 1998), Coach Peterson and Dean Jiambalvo addressed a jersey-clad collection of enthusiastic Huskies equally interested in the future of business and of football. Peterson’s presentation entitled “Built for Life” applied to both, with lessons as relevant in the boardroom as the locker room. Alumni working at Microsoft who haven’t joined the Foster School’s network can add themselves to the company’s uwfosteralumni distribution. For more information, or to explore building a similar Foster group at your company, contact Andrew Krueger at

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• Foster’s LinkedIn education page has more than 25,000 followers • The official Foster School of Business Alumni LinkedIn group has 8,767 members Are you a member of LinkedIn? Please consider updating your profile to include “Foster School of Business” in your education (if it isn’t already) – it’s better visibility for you and helps show the breadth of the UW Foster alumni network to prospective students, recruiters and the media. Note that simply listing University of Washington does not produce the same result. To change or update, log in to LinkedIn, go to profile, choose “edit profile,” scroll down to Education and click “add education.” Enter “Foster” in the box and it will show as the first option!

#WasAtFoster Hashtag helps document guest speakers and more at Foster

Izzy Weber and Bill Resler

Fond Farewell Director of MPAcc Tax Program, Bill Resler, to retire After 38 years, the reign of “friendly terror” in tax is coming to a close. Bill Resler, a senior lecturer renowned for his effective classroom mix of rigor and humor, will retire this year after almost four decades teaching tax accounting— in his inimitable way—to generations of Foster School students. An attorney by training, Resler earned a JD at the University of Washington in 1972. He practiced law and taught for four years at the New York University School of Law LL.M. (Taxation) program before returning to Seattle and the UW. He joined the Foster School’s Department of Accounting as a part-time lecturer in 1978 and became a full-time lecturer in 1984. In 1992, he co-founded (with Steve Rice) the school’s highly successful Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) in Taxation Program. But Resler will be best remembered for his work in (and out) of the classroom. He instructed an estimated 6,000 students on the vagaries of tax law in a style that has been described as “friendly terrorization.” Into every challenging topic, he injected a dose of humor. The self-described “code head” even gave personalities to various sections of Internal Revenue Code—including Section 1231 (“Paradise Island”), Section 1245 (“Jaws), and Section 751(b) (“Alien”). On the side, Resler coached Seattle’s Roosevelt High School girls’ basketball team from 1998-2006, leading the Roughriders to a record of 187-51 and the 2004 state title. His uniquely empowering coaching style was documented in Ward Serrill’s (BA 1978) award-winning film, The Heart of the Game. Izzy Weber, a Foster MPAcc-Tax graduate who practiced several years at PwC, will replace Resler as director of the program, beginning next academic year. Resler will assist the transition while teaching part-time. A retirement party for Resler will take place in the HUB South Ballroom on May 13th at 5 p.m. Friends and former students are spearheading an effort to raise $250,000 for an endowment in Resler’s name that will provide scholarship and program support to the MPAcc Program. To make a donation, please visit or call Sean Moore at 206.616.3860.

A lot of exceptional professionals come to campus to share their insights and connections with our students, faculty, staff and alumni, from experts in their fields to CEOs of top companies. Catch a glimpse into who’s been hanging out at Foster and what we’re learning from them with the hashtag #WasAtFoster. Follow us on Twitter or Instagram, or just take a look at the latest visitors at

foster facts Business is the most

in-demand degree at UW.


Nearly b-school alumni live in Washington, from Asotin to Sequim to Winthrop.


of Foster’s faculty serve in editorial roles with top academic journals. Student competitions orchestrated by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship helped launch companies operating today.


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A Big Bang for Small Business In the last two decades, the Foster School’s Consulting and Business Development Center has made a massive— and expanding—impact on student careers and small businesses in communities that need them most by Ed Kromer

8 | Foster Business

It began with the disparate sparks of a powerful idea.


A professor dispatching student teams to help businesses in communities with high unemployment. A dean studying the challenges that minority-owned businesses face and the paths to wealth creation in communities of color deciding to invest in a solution. A pair of MBA students examining the economy’s failing of the inner city, and the failed efforts to address it. Those students—Michael Verchot (MBA 1995) and Paul Pressley (MBA 1995)—fused the sparks into plans for a program that would offer solutions, leveraging the intellectual horsepower of the Foster School to advance businesses and grow jobs in communities where they are needed the most. The original concept expanded upon the practicum experiments of emeritus professor Thad Spratlan, who had been deploying student consulting teams to spur growth in minority-owned small businesses, creating jobs and wealth. Verchot and Spratlan found a champion in newly appointed dean William Bradford, whose seminal studies proved both foundation and inspiration. “My thought was that we are a public university,” says Bradford. “So we needed to contribute not only to the Boeings and the Microsofts, but also to small firms and those in less economically developed areas of the state.” Bradford approved the UW Business and Economic Development Program in fall of 1995, and appointed Verchot director. The Student Consulting Program debuted that school year. “At that point,” Verchot says, “Our wildest dream was to have six or 10 student teams working with companies in inner-city Seattle to help them grow.” In the 20 years since its creation, the idea has become the Consulting and Business Development Center. And that Center has become a powerful accelerator of student careers and catalyst of business and job growth in communities across the state—and the nation. Expanding from the center Appropriately, the pro-growth Center began growing almost immediately. Verchot endowed it with an opportunistic streak and a philosophy ripped from tech firms like Microsoft, with their iterative versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, ad infinitum. “That was our approach,” he says. “Speed to market and continually improve.” The Center complemented its quickly expanding MBA consulting program with undergraduate programs. It struck longstanding partnerships with influential institutions such as Safeco, Wells Fargo and Seattle Rotary. It tapped Foster alumni and Rotary experts to mentor and advise students and business owners. It brokered professional insurance, legal and management advice for client businesses, and eventually preferred access to small business loans. It offered scholarships to enroll clients in Foster Executive Education courses and developed customized small business programs to serve minority entrepreneurs in Seattle and small businesses in Yakima and the

Tri-Cities. It formed partnerships with Tribes to support job growth, launched MBAs and MPAs onto nonprofit boards, and created scholarships for under-represented minority students. The list grows on and on. National network The Consulting and Business Development Center’s innovations and impact do not stop at the state line, either. It has inspired and informed a constellation of kindred centers that have arisen at business schools across the country over the past two decades. To better connect these far-flung efforts and accelerate their shared objective of small business-based economic growth and job creation, the Center partnered with JPMorgan Chase to host a national conference in 2013 that now annually convenes business schools, financial institutions and policy makers. More importantly, Verchot says, this growing conference is a mechanism to create a collaborative national network, with the Foster Center at the hub and an “open source” ethos throughout. “It may not make sense for other schools to replicate our model of accelerating student careers and growing businesses and jobs,” he says. “But we’re always helping them create their own models that make perfect sense for them. And then we get to learn from their experiments as well.” The big-picture goal is to reach the tipping point at which centers of small business development become as ubiquitous a feature of American b-schools as centers of entrepreneurship and global business are today. Powered by Foster If the Center thinks nationally, it continues to act locally. Its two decades of expansions and innovations have served an unwavering statewide mission with laser focus. “The longer we do this the more I realize how right we got it at our founding,” Verchot says. “It’s about being opportunistic and iterative. Quick to market and always refining. And staying true to our mission of accelerating student careers and growing businesses and jobs in underserved communities in the state of Washington.” That mission has generated $100 million in new revenue and created or retained 100,000 jobs across the state. In 2015 alone, 350 Foster students and a dozen faculty worked with 100 small businesses and nonprofits, which grew their revenues by $8.9 million. But it’s the faces behind those figures that illustrate the impact most profoundly. Just a few of the thousands whose lives, careers and fortunes have been transformed through their engagement with the UW Consulting and Business Development Center are featured on these pages. “The Center has become a nexus,” says longtime advisor and client Craig Dawson (BA 1985), “a place to leverage people, education and capital, and a major component of one of the best business schools in the world.” n

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Consulting and Business Development Center milestones 1995 Center launched; Student Consulting Program begins 1997 Employ MBAs in summer consulting internships; alumni and Seattle Rotary members begin mentoring and advising 1999 Scholarships awarded for Executive Education programs; sponsor the first annual Minority Business of the Year Awards 2000 Start Board Fellows Program that places MBAs and MPAs on nonprofit boards 2001 Begin providing business education in the Yakima Valley 2003 Host the Minority CEO Summit and Celebration of African American Business Achievement 2004 First endowed scholarship for Latino MBA students in the US created 2005 Launch Tribal Enterprise partnerships 2007 African American Heritage MBA Scholarship created 2008 Launch Minority Business Executive Program, drawing businesses from across the US 2009 Asian Pacific Islander Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship created 2012 Publish Multicultural Marketing and Business Consulting textbook 2013 Host first National Conference on Business Development in Underserved Communities; become national research partner for the Billion Dollar Roundtable 2014 Offer Business Certificate Program in Yakima and Tri-Cities; launch partnership with the national Minority Business Hall of Fame & Museum 2015 Begin Business Growth Collaborative

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Creating Futures Jessica Oscoy (BA 2014) was determined to realize the American dream. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Oscoy grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in Federal Way, working fast food jobs through high school to help the family make ends meet. But she decided to find real opportunity early in life. Graduating with honors from her high school’s International Baccalaureate program, she was accepted into the Foster School as a Freshman Direct student. Oscoy entered with drive and determination to build a successful business career, but the UW seemed intimidatingly vast at first. Then she found the Consulting and Business Development Center and took every opportunity it presented. She worked in the Center’s office, participated in student consulting projects and served as a summer consulting intern for three businesses in the Yakima Valley. After graduation, Center director Michael Verchot introduced Oscoy to an advisory board member from UPS which led to her first career job as a data analyst, a perfect fit for her organizational prowess. Now her capacity to support her family has increased dramatically. She has a career. A future. “I wouldn’t be in this position without the Center,” Oscoy says. “The experience and the connections have changed my life—and my family’s life.”

Mission Critical Craig Dawson (BA 1985) has been involved in the Consulting and Business Development Center from the beginning. Before the beginning, really. Dawson served on Thad Spratlan’s precursor consulting teams while studying at Foster in the early ’80s. Retail Lockbox, the payment processing firm he co-founded in 1994, was one of the Center’s earliest consulting clients. And he joined its advisory board soon after. Over the years, three teams of Foster students have delivered two strategic plans and a new product market analysis. And Dawson has expanded his own—and his co-founder’s—acumen through the Center’s intensive Minority Business Executive Program. These engagements have helped Retail Lockbox become an industry leader and employer of 70 in Seattle’s Central Area, where Dawson recently moved his company headquarters into the former Urban League building. His business shares the Center’s mission of building competitiveness and reinvesting in the community. “We used to market ourselves as a minority owned business,” says Dawson, a member of the Federal Reserve Board and Seattle Downtown Rotary. “We don’t anymore. What we’re working for, ultimately, is a world where businesses in our community compete on a level playing field with the larger economy. Retail Lockbox is showing how this experiment can work.”

Undergraduate Student Consulting Program

Georgette Bhathena (BA 2000) Executive Director, Western Region Executive, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“What I really loved about the Center was that I was able to take some of the things I was learning in the classroom at the Foster School and see a direct connection of applying that with a real business.”

Board Fellows Program

Heidi Henderson-Lewis Executive Director, Smilow Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club of King County

“We’re able to have Board Fellows students join our board and take on projects with strategic planning, marketing, whatever it may be that we need help with to make our organization better and stronger.” Student Intern Program

Business Growth Collaborative Program

Nishit Mehta CEO, HyGen Pharmaceuticals, Inc

“The Center gives us the opportunity to learn at a worldclass institution, which is not very common. I highly recommend it to any business owner. It is an honor to part of the Business Growth Collaborative.” National Conference

Al Osborne, PhD Senior Associate Dean and Professor, UCLA Anderson School of Management

“The Center at the Foster School has found, I believe, an important niche in bringing together individuals from all over the country—indeed the world—that share a commitment to this kind of enlightened approach and a systemic view to learning best practices from one another so they, too, in their own way can build their own community and strengthen the possibilities of those citizens.”

Shae & Greg Frichette Owners Frichette Winery

“Partnering with the Consulting and Business Development Center has been one of the best decisions we’ve made for our business. In a short amount of time, recommendations were made that significantly improved the experience we provide to our guests and our sales increased. The insight and business advice provided will ensure that our business is sustainable for our family for years to come.” Minority Business Executive Program

Isa H. Forenza Principal, Legacy Trading LLC

“This incredible opportunity helped me to become a better leader and to expand my business to additional countries. After such a wonderful experience, Legacy Trading LLC became a sponsor of the program to share the knowledge and help others to succeed in their industries.”

Business Certificate Program— Yakima

Oscar Espinoza Assistant Production Supervisor, Kershaw Companies

“I learned a lot from this course, on how I look at a piece of fruit to thinking of the consumer when buying our product. Before I took these classes it was just putting a fruit in a box, no thought to it, but now after learning about the process that our team goes through to put a fresh piece of fruit into retail stores for the end consumer motivates you to do the best you can to satisfy the consumers’ needs.” Scholarships

Brooke Spearmon (MBA 2009), and husband Shaun Spearmon (MBA 2011) Store development services manager and organization & partner development manager (respectively), Starbucks Coffee Company

“I was the first recipient of the African American Heritage MBA Endowed Scholarship back in 2008. Not only did the monetary award significantly help offset the enormous financial costs of pursuing an MBA full-time, but the professional and personal relationships I built as a result of my relationship with the center have resulted in jobs awarded, increased visibility within the Seattle business community, and even deep friendships.” – Brooke “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities the Center facilitated for me and I am privileged to now be in a position to pay it forward to future African American business leaders at the Foster School.” – Shaun

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amazon to zulily The Foster School’s comprehensive, innovative and personalized approach to career management catalyzes opportunities of a lifetime with some of the world’s best businesses

Š Barnes

by Ed Kromer

12 | Foster Business

“Don’t be so humble.” Jean Gekler, a career coach in the Foster School’s MBA Career Management office, fills a whiteboard with adjectives describing Darius Chen, a characteristically modest Foster MBA student transitioning from his career in the US Army Special Forces. He is here to refresh his personal “Brand Essence.” The process begins with a painstaking inventory of professional roles and personal traits. With Gekler’s facilitation, Chen distills the most pertinent into three brand statements then, finally, a tagline: one simple expression of Chen’s professional essence with the economy of a haiku: “Strategic collaborator driven to cultivate excellence in people and organizations.” Gekler explains that some students use their brand essence statements on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Most think of them as background prep for career exploration and interviewing. “I consider it an exercise in self-reflection,” says Chen. “You don’t understand how valuable that is until you get into the interview process and see that the people getting the best offers are the ones most comfortable and confident and self-aware. Being able to articulate your value in a way that’s compelling, meaningful and genuine—that’s incredibly important.” Education, plus This exercise in self-reflection exemplifies the Foster School’s distinctive approach to career development and management— across every degree program. It’s an approach that is innovative, proactive, personalized, responsive to market demand, and informed by close relations with classmates, alumni and recruiters. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s considered part—rather than postscript—of the business curriculum. “At Foster, we measure our success on much more than providing a fantastic education,” says Dan Poston, assistant dean for graduate programs. “We must open doors to exciting career opportunities, give our students the job search skills to take advantage of those opportunities, and provide a deep network of successful classmates, alumni and industry connections on which our graduates can launch and build a career.” Foster gold Nobody does it better than Foster’s MBA Career Management, the gold standard in its industry. Foster’s full-time MBA job placement rate is perennially ranked among the top schools in the nation (its 95.6 percent employment three months after 2015 graduation places it 2nd among the nation’s top 25 b-schools, according to U.S. News). It is one of an elite list of 22 MBA programs whose graduates average more than $110,000 in starting base salary. And Foster leads the nation in placing graduates in technology and consumer products positions. “The reason for our success is that we’re not a traditional career office,” says Naomi Sanchez, assistant dean for MBA career management. “We do things differently here—both at the individual and the systematic level.”

It begins with the Pro Dev program, a required series of workshops and bootcamps that serves as a 6 a.m. wakeup call to the rigors and realities of the job search. First-year MBAs create a comprehensive leadership and career plan that includes a personal GAP analysis, marketing plan, brand essence and the compilation of a board of advisors. And this is only the beginning. Sanchez’s shop offers full-time and evening MBAs numerous recruiting and networking events, a high-level mentor program, MBA peer advisors, regional career treks, “Foster Days” at select corporate campuses, job skills workshops and one-on-one career coaching by in-house experts with deep industry experience. The goal of this investment is to foster competence, confidence and connections—in every student. “That no-student-left-behind philosophy is pretty unique,” says Sarah Eytinge (MBA 2014), a recruiter at Microsoft. “Other schools offer personalized attention if you ask for it. Foster tracks each student.” Making connections Foster also tracks each recruiter. Sanchez’s team tirelessly builds and maintains close ties with the perennial employers of Foster grads—Amazon, Microsoft, Philips, Liberty Mutual, Starbucks, Accenture, Deloitte, among the most active—and less-frequent recruiters such as Intel and Goldman Sachs which successfully tapped into Foster’s wide-ranging talent pool last year. This means frequent check-ins and invitations to recruiters and employer advisory boards. And continuous requests for feedback. Eytinge appreciates the hustle: “It’s nice to know they’re seeking out the customer and trying to satisfy our needs.” Paramount among those needs is finding the right MBAs for the job. “Other schools operate on an algorithmic search for qualified candidates,” Eytinge adds. “Foster knows all of their students. And they’re not afraid to recommend or even advocate for them.” “At the end of the day, it’s about finding individual fit,” Sanchez says. “It’s matchmaking, really. But at a strategic level.” Move up, change up, start up Career change is the central objective of full-time MBAs. But students in Foster’s work-compatible programs are also looking to make some kind of significant change. “Graduate business students don’t just want to learn something new,” says Poston. “They want to transform their career, to make a bigger impact on the world.” In the Technology Management MBA (TMMBA) Program, that transformation can take many forms, from advancement in the same company or industry to a shifting of function or industry to entrepreneurial venturing. “The classic trajectory is from technologist to strategic manager,” says Susie Buysse, the TMMBA’s senior associate director for career services and company outreach. “We offer tools, frameworks, support and coaching—a breadth of resources for students to take their careers to that next level.”

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This is not to mention frequent networking opportunities, such as company “Tech Treks” and casual TMMBA Mixers that capitalize on the tightly-knit cohort of TMMBA alumni throughout the region’s tech industry. One new innovation is the TMMBA Job Search Team, facilitated by Buysse. Viveka Raol (MBA 2015) became a member of the current group of alumni career seekers after her long-time employer, Amgen, shuttered its Seattle office. An experienced research scientist seeking work in product or project management, Raol has found enormous value in the team’s structure, networking, empathy and good humor during a challenging time. After a run of dead ends, she says her search has been reinvigorated by her teammates’ encouragement to approach the subset of TMMBA alums working in Seattle biotech. That advice has already yielded numerous productive meetings and opened doors. “The TMMBA has been like an extended family,” Raol says. “The support during school and after by my cohort, professors, administrators and alumni has been amazing.” Executive suite Executive MBA students at Foster, despite their most senior standing, are no less invested in career transformation. “Foundationally, Executive MBAs are looking for something different,” says Louise Kapustka, executive director of the EMBA Program. “They want to contribute at a more strategic level in their organization or do something completely different for their—or another—organization or industry. Our faculty give them great tools for every business discipline. But we need to give them a forum to explore where they can make the biggest impact, and the career tools to help them get there.” Heading up that effort is Lewis Lin, the program’s dedicated career and executive coach. Though Executive MBAs share many of the MBA Career Management resources, Lin, a veteran of Google and Microsoft, provides an executive suite of career management services including personalized advising. “Career reflection is one of the great hidden values of the program,” he says. Kapustka adds that a more long-term value to career management is the program’s powerful—and welcoming—alumni community, which is stocked with senior leaders at the region’s top firms. The network begins with the bonds within each class. “Very quickly our students come to trust each other in a way they would never have thought possible,” Kapustka says. “Throughout their careers, they become a sounding board, a support group with no ulterior motive.” Career firsts Of course, the spectrum of job seekers at Foster spans executive level to entry level. Since 2012, the EY Career Center has provided dedicated services to the latter—undergraduates and specialty masters in accounting, information systems and, starting next year, supply chain management.

14 | Foster Business

By necessity, founding director Andy Rabitoy runs more of a volume business than his MBA counterparts. Last year his team hosted 230 events and workshops, 1,300 career advising appointments, and more than 2,300 on-campus interviews by 221 firms. The annual Business Career Fair connected 1,100 students to 129 employers. Rabitoy’s eight-person team works hard to personalize the proceedings. They find fit for employers. And to students, they impart information, advice and access at every opportunity, from mock interviews to a new career-building elective that explores topics ranging from networking and LinkedIn to branding and emotional intelligence. But for students who have had little or no experience in the workplace, perhaps the most essential function is getting them out of the classroom. “They know they’re going to get strong academic rigor at Foster that will challenge them, make them think differently,” Rabitoy says. “But that’s not what gets them a career.” So his team relentlessly pushes internships, case competitions, club leadership, industry treks, informational interviews, and networking events with alumni and recruiters. It adds up to jobs. A student survey revealed an 85 percent placement rate through Rabitoy’s office last year—to a galaxy of hiring firms, including Deloitte, Accenture, EY, PwC, Alvarez & Marsal, Liberty Mutual, Amazon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, KPMG, Macy’s and many others. “If we can get our students to be prepared, polished and able to communicate their point of difference,” Rabitoy says, “I know they are going to be successful.” ENTRE 411 Of course, not every student fits into the corporate mold. For those of a more entrepreneurial persuasion, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship offers coursework, competitions, cross-campus networking, mentoring, even an accelerator—an astounding head start for the student startup. Some launch their own business. More join another in progress. “There are students who don’t want to be a cog in a big machine,” says Buerk Center director Connie Bourassa-Shaw. “They want to work for a company that has a clear social or innovation mission and an entrepreneurial ethos. They don’t want to be typecast in narrow roles.” For these, the center collaborates with the career management offices to track students and employers in the startup realm. And it hosts the annual Startup Job Fair that brings to campus smaller but fast-growing companies like Zulily and Porch. “Entrepreneurial skills serve students in whatever job, industry or organization they pursue,” Bourassa-Shaw adds. “That ability to make a cohesive and compelling pitch, to stand in front of a room and convince people that you know what you’re talking about and can make it so—that’s huge.” Catalyzing futures The Foster School’s mission doesn’t end with education. The mosaic of career resources and workshops and coaching sessions and networking opportunities is dedicated to catalyzing meaningful careers and transforming the lives of every student.

Sundas Khalid (BA 2015) is one. She came late to Foster, after immigrating to America from her native Pakistan, having two children and suffering a life-threatening illness. Despite taking some early advice to build her business experience, she struggled to land an internship. So she worked hard with Rabitoy and his team to polish her interview skills, then connected with Amazon through a networking event which led to an internship and now a job in business intelligence—a tale of inspiration she was asked to recount at last year’s Undergraduate Program commencement ceremony. “Being an immigrant, the first female in my family to graduate college and get a good job, this was a life-changing event,” Khalid

says. “I cried a lot that day.” Such stories of transformation are what drive Rabitoy and Foster’s other career management professionals. Theirs is a privileged place in the lives of students. “The beauty of working in career management is you get to be a part of some huge defining moments,” he says. “I think this is why you find so many Foster alumni wanting to take part in our events and engage with our students. They want to share in this discovery, to help them with their roadmaps of their lives.” n

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes What to do when you’re mid-career and looking for a new opportunity? We asked the Foster experts for advice. Naomi Sanchez Assistant Dean, MBA Career Management

Build relationships that will open doors. Identify—and learn to communicate—your points of difference. You have to view yourself as a product in the marketplace. Know your strengths (and weaknesses). Take a selfassessment. Get feedback from those you know and trust. Create a document—a resume or social media profile—that really explains who you are and why somebody should hire you. Lewis Lin Career Coach, EMBA Program

Take a step back. Build a career plan to get clarity on what you want to do next, then figure out what kinds of skills and experience and network you need to get there. Remember that, as you progress in your career, your value becomes less about technical skill and effort and more about your ability to collaborate and communicate. And make sure your LinkedIn profile is in top shape. It’s the key database for recruiters. Read “Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies” by Joshua Waldman. Connie Bourassa-Shaw Director, Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

If you are thinking of starting a business, start by talking about your idea. Pitch it constantly to smart people (generalize any sensitive IP, of course). What you will get is validation or refutation. Both are invaluable. You will constantly refine the idea based on the feedback, the pushback, the questions and the enthusiasm of the people you present it to. Read “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. Then stop studying and start doing.

Andy Rabitoy Director of Career Management, Undergraduates and Specialty Masters Programs

To find opportunity, you have to work your network. Seventy percent of jobs are unpublished, and things move really fast. It’s about who you know. You have to get in front of decision-makers or at least people who can make introductions. Learn to articulate the value-add you’ll bring beyond the job description. If you’ve been typecast, change the story. And don’t underestimate the importance of your presence on LinkedIn. Susie Buysse Senior Associate Director for Career Services and Company Outreach, TMMBA Program

Complete a feasibility analysis of your career goal. Create a clear, compelling and consistent message and image across your personal marketing. Develop a job search plan with company targets and metrics. And build and expand your network over time. Don’t wait until you are searching for a new job. If you learn this critical skill and continue to manage your network throughout your career, you’ll most likely never need to look for a job again.

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My MBA Rankings Foster develops app-style MBA Rankings Calculator to help candidates find their best fit schools by Andrea Bowers & Eric Nobis

Many things are changing in higher education. But when it comes to the perception of business schools, the full-time MBA rankings still carry a lot of weight. Consider that, in a given year, more than 270,000 students in the United States are pursuing an MBA. The average cost for a year’s tuition is $30,000. That’s more than $8B in play, and rankings have a strong role in guiding early decision-making—so it’s a big business. Rankings organizations have to decide on a set of criteria and how to weigh various items. This does not make everyone equally happy. In short, those emerging at the top of the list celebrate; those toward the bottom kvetch about the methodology. As humans, we love rankings—and we hate them. Of course, none of this is very helpful to a prospective MBA student trying to figure out just what “best” means when it comes to his or her graduate education experience. To address some of the difficulties these prospects face, the Foster School has developed the “Best Fit Rankings Calculator.” This unprecedented online tool helps MBA applicants make informed decisions and access diverse rankings metrics in one convenient place. It does this by aggregating data on more than 60 schools licensed from the most influential rankings publishers: U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Financial Times, Forbes and M7 Financial (and these data are updated as new rankings are published). The calculator empowers potential students to create a custom list of “best fit” schools by choosing their own combination of criteria from among 10 distinct MBA program metrics—including salary and placement, student selectivity, employer reputation, faculty research and return on investment. The simple sliding tool allows applicants to allocate 100 points across ten categories and calculate a personalized ranking of their 30 “best fit” schools by weighting the factors that are most important to them. Foster MBA student Ryan Walsh helped shape the calculator by sharing his experience as an MBA applicant.

16 | Foster Business

“This tool would have been invaluable as a prospective MBA,” he says. “With so many different lists and rankings, it was difficult to find the ‘right’ one. The MBA Rankings Calculator allows applicants to set the parameters and create a ranking system based on their personal priorities. It would have helped me quickly see which schools were right for me.” Since it was launched in late February, the MBA Rankings Calculator has attracted thousands of prospective students to the Foster site. And it has generated significant media attention, most prominently a comprehensive review from the influential MBA site Poets & Quants, which called the online calculator “both eye-catching and easy-to-use” and lauded its unbiased results and ability to “easily adjust preferences, offering a unique benefit to users.” “Obviously, we urge MBA candidates to always consider the culture, the community, the location, the student services, program performance and other areas that matter to them when choosing an MBA program,” says Dan Poston, assistant dean of master’s programs at the Foster School. “But we know for nearly all candidates the rankings are a consideration. Not only does this tool help them filter data from multiple rankings to see the results that that are most important to them… it’s just fun to explore how school rankings change based on different priorities.” Try the free MBA Rankings Calculator and create your own list of best fit MBA programs at n


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Where the Elite MEET to lead The Foster School’s annual Business Leadership Celebration approaches its 25th year of world-renowned speakers and local luminaries The year was 1992. The Seattle economy was beginning its ascent to national prominence. Microsoft’s Windows operating system and Office software suite were steaming toward ubiquity in the computerized workplace. The newly public Starbucks was at the dawn of exponential growth. A strategic merger gave Costco a national footprint. Nordstrom commenced its eastward expansion. And an emerging tech industry was laying the groundwork for Amazon and a constellation of digital startups that would soon emerge. That same year, the Foster School of Business also went big. Its inaugural Business Leadership Celebration, held that year in the grand ballroom of the elegant Olympic Hotel, featured no less a keynote speaker than Alan Greenspan, the iconic chairman of the Federal Reserve. The most powerful figure in finance “made the ‘dismal science’ of economics understandable and interesting for the audience,” according to Kirby Cramer (MBA 1962), one of the longest-serving members on the Foster School’s advisory board. The celebration—formerly banquet—was conceived by then-dean Robert Leventhal and the board. Its intent was to honor the leaders who have shaped the region and to “raise the profile of the school by bringing in national speakers you wouldn’t normally see in Seattle,” recalls Cramer. That certainly describes Greenspan. And Andy Grove of Intel (1997). Jeffrey Immelt of GE (2003). Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase (2011). Robert Iger of Disney (2014). Many of the preeminent names in American corporate

leadership have headlined the Foster School’s biggest night over the past 24 years. “Thinking through the list brings back a lot of wonderful memories,” Cramer says. “We’ve been blessed to have so many big names who have really participated in the event and delivered on some fascinating topics.” But big names aren’t the whole story. As the years have turned over, the UW Business Leadership Celebration has evolved into a de facto reunion of Foster alumni. It is a potent mechanism for raising scholarship funds. And it’s a golden opportunity for current students to mingle with the region’s movers and shakers. “You never know who you’re going to sit next to,” says Cramer who, as retired chairman of SonoSite, director of Immunex and CEO of Hazelton Laboratories, among a long career of ventures and investments, would be a fortuitous person to meet. Perhaps paramount among these multiple impacts of the Business Leadership Celebration are the deep connections that the Foster School has forged with the business community, year by year. These bonds are represented in the Distinguished Leadership Awards conferred upon 66 of Seattle’s most influential civic and corporate luminaries. Cramer, a Distinguished Leadership Awardee in 1997, takes pride in the rise of the Foster School and its signature event as it approaches its 25th birthday this October 27th. “The Business Leadership Celebration has boosted the school’s profile, raised money for scholarships, offered students exposure and solidified the Foster alumni network,” he says. “That’s four-for-four. “And it’s provided so many great memories.” n

Jeffrey Immelt John Connors Jim McNerney

Alan Greenspan

Mark Parker

Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Mike McGavick Alan Mulally Richard Kovacevich

Robert A. Iger

John W. Thompson

Š Deng

Jamie Dimon

UW Foster School Business Leadership Celebration THROUGH THE YEARS 2012


Alan Mulally President, Chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Company

Reggie Fils-Aime President & COO, Nintendo of America, Inc.

Keynote Speaker:

Award Recipients: Howard Behar, Dorrit Bern (BA 1972), Don Root (BA 1961)


Keynote Speaker: John W. Thompson CEO, Virtual Instruments; Chairman of the Board, Microsoft


Keynote Speaker: Jamie Dimon President, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase

Award Recipients:

Award Recipients: Gary Furukawa (BA 1981), John Jacobi (UW 1962), Steve Singh

L. Patrick Hughes (BA 1957), Bruce A. Nordstrom (BA 1955), John N. Nordstrom (BA 1959)



Robert A. Iger Chairman & CEO, The Walt Disney Company

Mark Parker President & Chief Executive Officer, Nike, Inc.

Keynote Speaker:

Award Recipients: Dan Baty (BA 1965), Kemper Freeman (UW 1963), Nancy Jacob (BA 1967)


Keynote Speaker: Richard Kovacevich Chairman Emeritus, Wells Fargo & Company

Award Recipients: David Bonderman (UW 1963), Tom Crowley (BA 1989), Dan Fulton (MBA 1976), Kate Kingen (BA 2009)

Keynote Speaker:

Award Recipients: Charles K. Barbo (BA 1963), Mark A. Emmert (BA 1975), Jon F. Hemingway (BA 1979)


Keynote Speaker: Marilyn Carlson Nelson Chairman of Carlson

Award Recipients: Phyllis Campbell (MBA 1987), Chris DeWolfe (BA 1988), Don Nielsen (BA 1960)

“Great leaders display the ability to connect with people; the ability make them think they can do better than they thought they could do; the ability to inspire.” — John Connors

Award Recipients: Gerald Grinstein, Eileen O’Neill Odum (BA 1977), Mark Pigott


Keynote Speaker: Jim McNerney CEO, The Boeing Company

Award Recipients: William S. Ayer (MBA 1978), Leslie Koo (BA 1977), Ray Williams (BA 1959)


Keynote Speaker: Clayton I. Bennett Owner of the Seattle SuperSonics and Storm

Award Recipients: Lex N. Gamble (BA 1959), Sally Jewell (UW 1978), Leonard H. Lavin


Keynote Speaker: John Connors Partner at Ignition; Former CFO, Microsoft

Award Recipients: Budd Gould (BA 1962), Gary Shansby (BA 1959)


Keynote Speaker: Mike McGavick CEO, Safeco Corporation

Award Recipients: Stanley B. McDonald (BA 1943), Yoshihiko Miyauchi (MBA 1960)

“You can’t stop change, so it’s important to embrace it as an opportunity—not a threat—and make it work for you. We believe there is far more value in being a disruptor rather than being disrupted.” — Robert A. Iger

20 | Foster Business

Keynote Speaker:

“If you look at each stage of your life as an opportunity to make a difference, your effectiveness will increase, your reputation will grow and extraordinary possibilities will present themselves.” — Marilyn Carlson Nelson


Keynote Speaker: Jeffrey Immelt CEO, General Electric

Award Recipients: William P. Kinnune, Jr. (BA 1961), Herb T. Mead (BA 1956), Wallace E. Opdycke (BA 1959), Y. K. Park (BA 1959)

“Be a sponge. Take in insights, inspiration and influences from all around you. It could come from anybody, anywhere, anytime.” — Mark Parker

Save the date for our 25th Annual Business Leadership Celebration October 27th at the Sheraton Seattle


Keynote Speaker:


David R. Hinson (UW 1960) Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration


Howard Schultz CEO, Starbucks Coffee Company

Award Recipients: Ron D. Crockett (UW 1961), James B. Douglas (BA 1930), Charles M. Pigott

Keynote Speaker:

Award Recipients:

Kevin Sharer CEO, Amgen

Award Recipients: Michael Garvey (UW 1961, 1964), Gary E. Milgard (BA 1957), Alice W. Sandstrom (BA 1934)

Keynote Speaker:

William A. Fowler (BA 1966), Kerry Killinger


Keynote Speaker: Andy Grove CEO, Intel


Keynote Speaker: Rozanne Ridgway Former Ambassador to East Germany and Finland

Award Recipient: Andrew V. Smith


Award Recipients: Kirby L. Cramer (MBA 1962),

John W. Stanton CEO, Western Wireless Corporation; Former CEO Voice Stream/T-Mobile

William H. Gates III

Award Recipients:

Keynote Speaker:

Award Recipients:

David Coulter CEO, Bank of America

Richard P. Cooley, Elmer Nordstrom (BA 1926), Everett Nordstrom (BA 1923), Lloyd Nordstrom, Frank A. Shrontz , Samuel N. Stroum

Keynote Speaker:

Marion O. Garrison (BA 1939), George Kozmetsky (BA 1938), Orin C. Smith (BA 1965)


Keynote Speaker: James K. Glassman Financial and Political Analyst

Award Recipients: Neal Dempsey (BA 1964), William C. Huang (UW 1955, 1957), Wayne M. Perry (BA 1972)



Award Recipients: Michael L. Darland (BA 1965), John W. Ellis (UW 1952, 1953)


Keynote Speaker: Alan Greenspan Federal Reserve Board Chairman


Keynote Speaker: John H. Eyler, Jr. (BA 1969) CEO, FAO Schwarz

Award Recipients: Arthur W. Buerk, Jr. (BA 1958), Sally Narodick

Keynote Speaker: Richard Karlgaard Publisher Forbes Magazine

Award Recipients: Edward V. Fritzky, Charles M. Lillis (BA 1968, MBA 1969), Norman J. Metcalfe (UW 1965, MBA 1967)

“In the years going forward it will be your reputation— for integrity, judgment, and other qualities of character— that will determine your success in life and in business.” —Alan Greenspan

SPRING 2016 | 21

Heart Mind

Orin Smith has led Starbucks, the University of Washington and a host of impactful organizations with visionary intellect and humble humanity By Ed Kromer

22 | Foster Business

When we reminisce, with no small amount of

caffeinated civic pride, on the creation of Starbucks, our thoughts inevitably return to that hallowed original store in Pike Place Market, circa 1971, or perhaps to the freewheeling entrepreneurial zeal of vintage Howard Schultz. But the Starbucks we know today—the hometown company that has redefined the coffee experience around the world without losing its soul—is as much a legacy of Orin Smith (BA 1965). During his 15 years at Starbucks, the unassuming former president and CEO catalyzed the company’s unprecedented expansion. He helped create the famed Starbucks culture and ethic of uncompromising commitment to people and the planet. And he helped craft Starbucks into one of the world’s most recognized and celebrated brands. “What we were able to accomplish at Starbucks gives me great satisfaction,” says Smith, characteristically distributing credit far and wide. But his is a singular story of remarkable leadership, humble humanity and meaningful philanthropy that neither begins nor ends at Starbucks.

Making his mark A native of Chehalis, WA, Smith engaged his curious mind at the University of Washington with studies in accounting, finance, economics, statistics and political science. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Gamma Sigma, the honor society for business students, and graduated in 1965 with a BA in business administration. He earned an MBA from Harvard soon after. Smith made his first significant mark in the business world during 14 years with what is now Deloitte, eventually leading its Pacific Northwest consulting practice. He also served as CEO of two international transportation companies, and as the levelheaded chief policy and finance officer for Washington governors Dixie Lee Ray and Booth Gardner. When Smith signed on to be Schultz’s chief financial and administrative officer at Starbucks in 1990, the company looked more like a scrappy startup than a global juggernaut. Compared to the more-established businesses and industries he had experienced, “Starbucks was a risky venture,” he says. “But the store performance was fundamentally sound, the company was growing rapidly, and we had interest from significant venture capital firms.” Unprecedented growth Smith’s initial charge was to lead development of the financial functions. But his job description expanded seemingly by the day. He soon headed roasting, purchasing, distribution, store construction and human resources, among his “other duties as required.” Along with Schultz, he managed the company’s initial public offering in 1992. Smith was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 1994, assuming overall responsibility for domestic and international retail and wholesale operations. And he served as president and CEO from 2000 until his retirement in 2005.

During his years of leadership, Starbucks grew from 45 stores to nearly 10,000 in 33 countries, maintaining an astounding 37 percent annual compound growth rate in revenues, earnings per share and share price. “Orin was the yin to Howard Schultz’s yang,” says long-time Starbucks associate Anne McGonigle (BA 1985), “He helped turn Starbucks from a handful of Seattle coffee shops into one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world.” For his part in this, Smith received the Foster School’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2001 and Harvard Business School’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2002—making him one of only 92 graduates (among approximately 50,000) at the time to receive the school’s highest honor. Institutional Investor named him “Best CEO” in the restaurant category from 2002 to 2004. Businessweek named him one of the “Best CEOs in America” and CEO Magazine named him “Best CEO in the Northwest” in 2004. During Smith’s tenure as CEO, Fortune named Starbucks one of the “10 Most Admired Companies in America” in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and one of the “100 Best Places to Work in America” every year from 2000 to 2005. These honors recognized not only what the company did with Smith at the helm, but also how they did it. Starbucks was more than an economic miracle. It was a movement. Different kind of company In Smith’s first year at Starbucks—and just before opening its shares to Wall Street scrutiny—he and the senior executive team of Schultz, Howard Behar, David Olsen and several others codified the company’s unorthodox philosophy into its famous mission and guiding principles. Starbucks would be “performance driven, through the lens of humanity,” to borrow its current vernacular. Pledges to create a workplace of respect and dignity, value diversity, source and serve the highest quality coffee, satisfy customers, and make a positive impact on the community and environment preceded—and really enabled, in the Starbucks way of thinking—the final principle of profitability. And this enlightened corporate ethic, so radical at the time, became the company’s polestar, guiding every decision and creating a culture to inspire at every level. “We communicated this mission and these values consistently—and repetitively—across the company,” Smith recalls. “And, most importantly, our senior management team modeled these values and principles until they became part of the fabric of the organization.” Lens of humanity It didn’t take long to weave principles into untearable fabric. Premium pay and diversity hiring were only the beginning. Before going public in 1992, Starbucks instituted health care benefits for all—even part-timers—and began offering “Bean Stock,” the opportunity for every partner (the company’s meaningful term for employees) to own shares in the company.

SPRING 2016 | 23

A few years later, Smith helped forge an unconventional partnership with the non-profit Conservation International to develop Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, a unique set of comprehensive standards that ensure ethical and environmentally responsible sourcing. But would this generous human ethic be able to survive in a profit-seeking organization with global ambitions? “I don’t think any of us were certain that the culture we created from our principles could be sustained as we expanded across North America and, especially, into the international markets of Europe, Japan, China and the Middle East,” Smith recalls.

“It is no exaggeration to say that Orin played a foundational role in corporate America’s rethinking of the way that employees and customers are viewed and treated,” says Jim Jiambalvo, dean of the Foster School. It’s difficult to imagine what Starbucks might be today had its pivotal leaders not forged its culture upon a foundation of unyielding principles, had they cast off the lens of humanity in pursuit of short-term gains. “I think it would be a very different company,” Smith says. “Much smaller, much less successful and much less appreciated by our partners, customers and communities. I think a lot of our

“At the root of our culture is this commitment to people. And this resonates in every culture around the world. Our principles and the culture they built were—in my view and in many others’—the reason for our great success. Our fortunes soared wherever we went.” – ORIN SMITH

The Starbucks secret As it happened, Starbucks’ uncompromising principles proved essential to its astounding long-term success. Smith says that the company’s singularly values-driven culture has been its ultimate competitive advantage as it has grown to more than 23,000 stores in 67 countries today—a global brand built on its ubiquity and word of mouth rather than traditional marketing. “At the root of our culture is this commitment to people,” Smith says. “And this resonates in every culture around the world. Our principles and the culture they built were—in my view and in many others’—the reason for our great success. Our fortunes soared wherever we went.” Has Wall Street finally embraced the Starbucks model? Not quite. “Many people would say that we paid our people and our coffee growers more than we had to, that we offered benefits that weren’t necessary, that we invested too much in our communities,” Smith says. “I don’t think they fully appreciate the importance of these things to our business.” “Our philosophy was that we needed to take care of our people. And if we were able to do so, they would be inspired to take care of the customer. And the customer would take care of the company,” he adds. “I think you’ll find that to be Starbucks’ operating philosophy even today.” Indeed, in the years since Smith’s retirement, the Starbucks principles have driven even more progressive programs, including education assistance and the recent campaign to hire military veterans.

24 | Foster Business

competitors would have fared much better. Many tried to copy what we have built. But what they could never replicate was the company’s heart and soul, that one-of-a-kind culture that was the manifestation of our values and principles. “I’m proud of Starbucks for many reasons. But probably most of all for that culture and how it is regarded by partners and customers.” Beyond Starbucks After stepping down as CEO of Starbucks in 2005, Smith was retired but far from finished. He went on to serve on the boards of directors of several blue-chip firms, most prominently the Walt Disney Company (where he’s lead independent director) and Nike (where he recently retired as backup to chairman Phil Knight). “When asked in 2010 who would I pick as chairman if I were hit by a bus,” Knight says, “my pick was Orin Smith. He is outstanding in every way—as a businessman, as a leader, as a moral man.” Smith chaired the Starbucks Foundation from his retirement until 2014. The foundation, created during his Starbucks presidency, supports educational, community and environmental efforts in the United States and in coffee and tea growing regions around the world. And Smith continues to serve on the board of Conservation International, the organization with which he partnered in the 1990s to develop best practices for cultivating coffee and tea in a way that treats farmers fairly and protects the biodiversity of the fragile, fertile growing regions. Today, CI works to protect the environment and humanity in 25 countries.

Back to school Smith’s “retirement” has also been a boon for the UW. While still leading Starbucks, he joined the advisory boards of the Foster School and UW Medicine, which he later chaired. He continues to serve on UW Medicine’s Strategy and Strategic Initiatives committees. At the university level, Smith is former chair and treasurer of the UW Foundation Board. He also made great impact as a UW Regent from 2009 to 2015, serving as chair in 2013-2014. “Orin is a thoughtful partner Howard Behar, Orin Smith and Howard Schultz and advocate for the University of Washington, bringing Kid from Chehalis leadership and quiet determination to all the projects he touches,” says Jeff Brotman, the co-founder and chair of Costco who served More than a decade after his amazing run with Starbucks, Smith remains both in highest regard and in highest demand. He with Smith on the Starbucks board and at the UW. continues to apply his unique balance of leadership—marrying And then there is his staggering philanthropy. Smith and his vision and efficacy, ambition and principles, confidence and wife Janet are Presidential Laureates at the UW. Their generhumility—toward furthering worthy causes and institutions. osity has provided facility support as well as endowed funds “Orin is simply one of the most thoughtful, collaborative and that include the deanship at the Foster School and a student humble leaders I have ever known,” says Bill Ayer (MBA 1978), fellowship endowment that will launch careers (and companies)

“When asked in 2010 who would I pick as chairman if I were hit by a bus, my pick was Orin Smith. He is outstanding in every way—as a businessman, as a leader, as a moral man.” – Phil Knight, Chairman, Nike in perpetuity. The Smiths also have supported stem cell research and facilities at UW Medicine and scholarships at the Evans School. Both Starbucks and Nike endowed scholarship funds at the UW in Smith’s honor upon his retirement. Now Orin and Janet Smith are making perhaps their greatest contribution yet to the UW, serving as co-chairs of its historically ambitious capital campaign. “I’ve had a great experience with every part of the institution and I get a lot of satisfaction out of participating and giving back in these kinds of ways,” Smith says.

the retired chairman and CEO of Alaska Airlines and current chair of the UW Board of Regents. “His leadership style and clearminded reasoning are legendary. His calm demeanor and deep understanding of issues and people make his advice and counsel highly sought after.” Not bad for a kid from Chehalis. But then, maybe his humble beginnings have everything to do with all that Smith has accomplished, and how. “Earnest, compassionate, humble. A principled leader and man of exceptional integrity. That was and is the essence of Orin Smith,” adds Anne McGonigle. “You could take the kid out of Chehalis and send him to the University of Washington, Harvard Business School and the heights of business success, but you could never take Chehalis out of the kid.” n

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GREAT READS: fiction What do Foster School faculty members like to read for pleasure, not business? Taking a break from the pursuit of serious management titles, we asked them for some favorite works of fiction, and received this wide array of titles.

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

“If and when I’m reading fiction, then it’s purely for pleasure and to fill my free time—which is very, very rare! When I am reading for pure pleasure, I like something soapy, brainless, and plot driven.” — Christina Fong, Principal Lecturer of Management Notes from the Underground (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

“This long short story explores the rich inner life of a Russian civil servant, and we find the resentful, petulant part of our own brain. The exposure of inner lives is something fiction is uniquely good at, and Dostoevsky is uniquely good at it among fiction writers.” — Ed Rice, Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics

Until Proven Guilty (J.A. Jance)

“I like this Seattle author’s entire series of 24 stories about the fictional detective J.P. Beaumont. The stories are good and intriguing, with many mentions of Seattle landmarks. You have to start at the beginning to understand the evolution of the characters.” — Rick McPherson, Lecturer of Management

The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries (Andrea Camilleri)

“I LOVE this series of light and very funny mysteries that take place in Sicily.” — Elizabeth Stearns, Senior Lecturer of Marketing & International Business

The Code of the Woosters (P.G. Wodehouse)

“This book, written in 1938, is one of the great comic novels in English literature. Featuring Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves, it’s one of the few books that will have you literally laughing out loud!” — Jim Jiambalvo, Dean, Professor of Accounting

Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)

“Fun book for anyone who lived in the ’80s! Read it before the Spielberg adaptation hits theaters next year.” — Jarrad Harford, Professor of Finance

I Am Pilgrim (Terry Hayes)

“Best thriller in a long time. Warning: do not start this book unless you’ve got an overnight flight to somewhere! You will not be able to stop.” — Steve Sefcik, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Professor of Accounting “It is a great thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat when you read it. Lots of twists and turns.” — Leta Beard, Senior Lecturer in Marketing & International Business (who recommended it to Sefcik)

The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

“If you’ve never read this all-time classic, or haven’t since high school, I would recommend it. It’s a forebear of the modern adventure classics The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling—which I’d also recommend.” – Frank Hodge, Professor of Accounting

All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)

“Endearing characters, a compelling (and suspenseful) storyline, and an interesting, historically important setting (WWII Europe). The story of goodness emanating from the darkest of circumstances is both beautiful and heart-wrenching.” — Dawn Matsumoto, Professor of Accounting

The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)

“Amazing sweeping story of a young boy whose mother is killed by an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his life with a Dutch masterpiece. Fabulous characters, and an amazing story that spans continents, and worlds from high art to gangsters.” — Emer Dooley, Lecturer of Entrepreneurship

Then We Came to the End (Joshua Ferris)

Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner (A.A. Milne)

“I am not the first to notice that the original A.A. Milne stories are not only delightful but are full of allegorical life lessons. The books are lyrical and funny. They embody kindness. The characters have an every-person quality. And Pooh is a timeless hero. The ‘bear of very little brain’ proves to be most brilliant.” — Jonathan Karpoff, Professor of Finance

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marques)

“The literary voice established in this novel has withstood the test of time. The literal and the fantastic are interwoven with a seamlessness that amazes. The book is at once funny, sad and tragic; it’s history and fantasy. A true classic.” — Xiao-Ping Chen, Professor of Management

“A humorous and sardonic story about contemporary office life in an ad agency that’s undergoing layoffs, almost entirely narrated in the first-person plural.” — Michael Johnson, Associate Professor of Management

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faculty Research briefs

by Ed Kromer




Let It Go

Fear Factor

Service With A Smile?

Forgiveness can make us see slopes as less steep, jump higher

A good scare can enhance attachment to brands

The hidden downside of friendly customer service

We often think of forgiveness as a metaphorical unburdening, a “weight being lifted from our shoulders.” But forgiving also results in a literal unburdening. A study by Ryan Fehr, an assistant professor of management at the Foster School, demonstrates that the sensation of lightness achieved by absolving someone who has done us wrong makes us perceive hills as less steep and even jump higher. This physical unburdening that results from resolving a grudge can influence how we perceive the world around us. That includes viewing challenges more optimistically. Fehr believes this study and others on forgiveness suggest that better managing interpersonal conflict is ultimately good for business. “We’re finding that forgiveness does help lift these burdens, which implies that forgiveness might help people retain more energy, carry less stress and even perform better at work,” he adds. “Anything an organization can do to encourage constructive conflict management and resolution between co-workers and between leaders and employees is going to produce a more effective workplace.” n

Seen any scary movies lately? What you probably didn’t see, amid the spine-chilling gasps and blood-curdling screams, were many product placements. While any modern romance, action or comedy is chockablock with brands that pay good money to hitch on to the positive emotions such films evoke, horror flicks are largely devoid of such commercial displays. It seems to make sense. After all, who wants their brand associated with so stressful an emotion? It turns out that marketers have no reason to be afraid of fear. Research by Lea Dunn, an assistant professor of marketing at Foster, reveals that being in a state of fear can create an immediate and emotional attachment to an unfamiliar brand—an attachment that does not develop in people experiencing sadness, happiness or excitement. “Unlike other emotions, we find that one intense experience of fear can actually promote an almost human emotional attachment to a brand,” she says, “even a brand you’ve never seen before.” n

“Service with a smile”—that fundamental expectation of American consumers— extracts a hidden toll on many who provide it. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Ryan Fehr, an assistant professor of management, and Scott Reynolds, an associate professor of business ethics. Fehr and Reynolds determined that supervisors who frequently engage in “surface acting”—suppressing negative or even neutral feelings in order to maintain a happy face to customers—are more abusive toward their employees. This abuse is hastened by the depletion of self-control. And it leads to a number of downstream personnel problems in an organization that eventually cycle back to the customer. The good news is that self-control, like a muscle, can be strengthened with exercise. Retail and service firms can adopt training methodologies to build their managers’ capacities for self-control. “In the long run, organizations can address this problem by instilling managers and employees with a sense of purpose, a sense of belongingness, a sense that the relationship with the organization is more than transactional,” Fehr says. “Managers who actually enjoy their jobs and want to smile when they’re around customers will have a much easier time retaining self-control.” n

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March Market Madness

Healthy Choices

Speak Up!

NCAA basketball tourney distracts investors, disrupts market efficiency

Want to live more healthfully? Focus on pleasure, not virtue

Deciphering our decisions to voice ideas and opinions in a group

When the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off each spring, workplaces across America become enthralled by its panoply of Cinderella stories and buzzer-beaters, the riveting display of sheer athletic possibility playing out, at least initially, during normal business hours. Not surprisingly, productivity suffers. The financial markets also feel the distraction of “March Madness,” according to new research by Jacob Thornock, an associate professor of accounting. Thornock’s study of investor activity during more than a decade of NCAA tournaments demonstrates that the volume of trading drops by 40 percent during the first round of March Madness. And the market response to earnings news is comparatively muted. These findings reveal a systematic— though minor—flaw in market efficiency. “Classical economics asserts that markets are perfectly efficient,” Thornock says. “On the other hand, a market is made up of humans. And we are able to cleanly capture that human element. “It turns out that the market likes to watch a little basketball and gets distracted by March Madness just like everyone else.” n

Eat vegetables because they taste good, not because they’re good for you. Drink green tea for its exotic evocations, not its health benefits. Exercise for the joy of movement or social connection, not to burn calories. That’s the advice of Nidhi Agrawal, an associate professor of marketing at Foster whose frequent explorations—both experiential and experimental—of consumer behavior and the mechanics of willpower give her some real expertise in this area. Agrawal’s recent research, with doctoral student Chethana Achar, concludes that promoting the nutritional benefits of healthy foods actually makes people less likely to eat them. Of course, compared to the omnipresent marketing of processed foods, there’s little marketing of any kind for healthy whole foods. So Agrawal suggests that it’s up to you to “market” healthy foods—and other healthy behaviors—to yourself. The most effective way is to build a positive experience around them. “You have to snap out of the mindset that health is an obligation,” she says, “and move to the mindset of doing healthy things for the pleasure they bring.” n

To speak or not to speak… What factors guide our decisions to express—or suppress—our opinions and ideas in a group? According to new research by XiaoPing Chen, a professor of management at Foster, it’s complicated. Chen’s study into the dynamics of group interaction identifies a veritable word cloud of overlapping factors, motives and moderators. But two figure most prominently. People are most likely to speak up in work teams when they believe that management will endorse their suggestions and that their input will be received positively by the group. “Employees are likely to speak up if they perceive high efficacy and low risk associated—that is, if they believe their voice will be socially desirable,” Chen says. To create an organizational culture conducive to the open exchange of ideas, she adds that employees need to see substantial evidence that a pro-voice climate is more than just talk. A good start is delegation, empowerment and the removal of risks to speaking one’s mind. n

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faculty Research briefs

Regulatory Oversight

Protest too much?

Clouded Judgment

SEC financial reviews don’t often catch fraud, but they may prevent it

Reason, not disruption, is the most effective means of growing a social movement

Weather-induced mood influences credit approval decisions and outcomes

When campaigning for social change, disruption may win a few battles, but education is more likely to win the war. This according to a new study by Abhinav Gupta, an assistant professor of management at Foster. Gupta’s analysis of a student-organized campaign to pressure an athletic apparel company into improving working conditions at its Central American manufacturing facility reveals insights into the makings of a successful social movement. He finds that disruptive tactics such as protests can yield limited immediate success. And they do raise awareness. But educational tactics that appeal to reason are more effective at expanding the objectives of a cause more broadly. Such evidence-based appeals to reason prove more potent at persuading even leaders of organizations not targeted by activists, creating a contagion that can multiply impact and grow a movement exponentially. “There is a place for disruption,” Gupta says. “Evidence-based tactics and disruption-based tactics have a kind of good cop/bad cop dynamic. Disruption gets attention. But evidence and persuasion change minds.” n

You are more likely to get a loan approved on a sunny day—especially an unexpectedly sunny day. So concludes a new study on the role of sentiment in managerial decision making by Ran Duchin, an associate professor of finance at the Foster School. Duchin’s analysis of the $1 trillion American mortgage market and local weather conditions across the nation reveals that the mood-boosting power of an unseasonably sunny day increases the approval rate of marginal loan applications, while the mood-busting quality of unusual cloud cover diminishes the approval rate. Moreover, this climatologically-driven sentiment produces a measurable economic impact. Specifically, loans approved in the throes of unexpected sunshine are more likely to wind up in default. Duchin says that sentiment likely influences professional decision-making in many other circumstances in which agents have discretion and face ambiguity, from air traffic control to economic forecasting to college admissions. He also points out that this analysis merely scratches the surface on sentiment. If something as slight as a change in the weather can have such a measurable impact on a person’s professional judgment, imagine the effect of more intensely personal regulators of mood—from deaths and divorces to awards and love affairs. n

Financial watchdogs may wield more bark than bite. But their bark alone can be a pretty effective deterrent against fraud, according to new research by Terrence Blackburne, an assistant professor of accounting at the Foster School. Blackburne’s analysis of regulatory oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission over the past six decades reveals that an increase in budgetary capacity to review the financial disclosures of public firms corresponds to a decrease in earnings management and financial restatements. The increase in examination intensity signals managers that they are being watched and serves as a disincentive to engage in creative accounting. “There’s a lot of debate as to whether this review process really matters. We don’t have any evidence that it uncovers fraud,” Blackburne says. “But my analysis suggests that the process of review affects behavior in the first place. Firms that know they’re being watched are less likely to initiate a fraud.” His window into the fluctuating capacity of SEC oversight also reveals that the office charged with monitoring disclosures of the financial industry is the Commission’s most chronically underfunded and overworked—even after the financial crisis. n 30 | Foster Business

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Thought Leaders Foster faculty among the elite in latest scholarly rankings There are many more—and more celebrated—rankings of business school programs than of the faculty who deliver those programs. But a few empirical ratings of intellectual horsepower do exist. And the Foster School of Business features prominently, both as an entire research faculty and in several specific disciplines. Most recently, the Financial Times ranked the Foster faculty 16th in the world, 13th in the nation and 4th among public universities in research productivity. This number, a factor in the paper’s “2016 Global MBA Ranking,” is derived by tallying the number of research articles published by a school’s faculty in the top 45 scholarly business journals, representing every discipline. The ranking is weighted to reflect the relative size of each faculty. And even when there is no per capita weighting, the comparatively small Foster School faculty ranks 22nd in North America and 23rd in the world in the latest “Top 100 Business School Research Rankings,” compiled annually by the University of Texas at Dallas. The UT index tracks the number of papers published by each school’s faculty in the leading 24 business journals, across disciplines, over a five year period. Foster’s particularly prolific 2015 fueled a climb of nine places for the 2011-2015 ranking which was published January 19. The current “Academic Ranking of World Universities” rates the UW 24th in the world and 21st in the nation in business and economics research. This ranking, compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, takes into account each school’s number of major prize winners, scholarly publications, citations, and percentage of

papers published in top journals (where Foster and the UW rated a 93.3 out of 100). Discipline rankings The Foster School’s Department of Management and Organization faculty is listed 2nd nationally in the latest “Management Department Productivity Ranking,” which is published by Texas A&M University. Only the Wharton School faculty published more studies in the eight most-important management journals in 2014, the most recent year tabulated. Foster’s Department of Finance and Business Economics generated the 8th most publications in the top four finance journals, according to the most recent “Finance Ranking Index” which is maintained by Arizona State University. The Foster Department of Accounting ranks 27th in the world in number of studies published in 12 peer-reviewed accounting journals between 1990 and 2015, according to Brigham Young University’s “Accounting Rankings,” which compile data on scholarly production in the field. Foster has been especially prolific in the area of financial accounting, where it ranks 15th in the world over the past six years, and 14th since 1990. And though there is no independent ranking of marketing research, Foster’s Department of Marketing & International Business recently conducted its own competitive analysis and found itself 8th among the nation’s public universities in publishing productivity in the discipline’s top journals, and 6th in terms of career productivity per research professor. n

The Financial Times ranked the Foster faculty: • 16th in the world

• 13th in the nation • 4th among public universities in research productivity.

SPRING 2016 | 31


Rock & roller What do healthcare innovation and roller derby have in common? Molly Moore If you’ve driven the streets of Seattle, browsed an Alaska Airlines magazine or spent time on the Internet lately, you may already be acquainted with Molly Moore (MBA 2012). Moore was the one of protagonists of a recent advertising campaign promoting the Foster School’s work-compatible MBA programs which broadcast her image online, in print and on buses and billboards around the region. “It’s been a surreal experience seeing my 15 minutes of fame on the sides of Metro buses and a billboard next to Home Depot,” Moore admits, laughing. She was selected for good reason. And not, necessarily, because of her meteoric rise in Seattle’s roller derby scene (more on that in a moment). It was because of her unique position in healthcare, her capacity to catalyze innovation, her irrepressible joie de travail. Heathcare nerd Moore refers to herself as a “giant healthcare nerd.” She got into the industry by chance, taking a job confirming appointments and emptying the trash at an optometrist’s office to pay for college. But she was smart and ambitious and eventually found herself negotiating provider contracts and managing specialty provider networks for Aetna, United Healthcare and Regence BlueShield—major players in health insurance. But after 17 years in the industry, she could no longer see her next step. “I realized that I didn’t want my boss’s job,” Moore says. “I wanted the latitude to move around and do other things in healthcare.” She enrolled in Foster’s Evening MBA Program to expand her possibilities. It worked.

32 | Foster Business

“You leave the Foster School and you feel like you can do anything because they teach you everything,” Moore says. “You have all these great frameworks to point yourself down any direction you want to go.” For her, it meant a return to the familiarity of healthcare. But this time, she’d be on the bleeding edge. Big health opportunity Cambia Health Solutions is the parent company of Regence BlueShield in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah, and several smaller providers of health insurance in the west. Within Cambia is a division called Direct Health Solutions which invests in companies leveraging innovative technologies to create a more person-focused and economically sustainable healthcare system. Today Moore does business development on the investment team. For current and potential portfolio companies, she ensures that the opportunity is real, the technology is sound and the team is market-ready. “I make sure they’re healthcare nerdy enough to understand what they’re getting into,” Moore says. In three years on the job, Moore has helped double Cambia’s investments to 24 firms that range from SpendWell, an online marketplace for people on high-deductible health plans, to Wildflower Health, a mobile app to help new moms manage care. Creator of opportunities But assessing and advising investments is only the beginning of Moore’s job. Less defined, but perhaps more important, is her role as a strategic matchmaker. Leveraging her vast industry experience, she connects entrepreneurs, providers, insurers and organizational consumers to catalyze healthcare innovations and accelerate their speed to market. “Healthcare is complex and getting more complex,” she says. “But it’s something I’m able to help people navigate.” Much of this occurs at The Cambia Grove, the company’s new 9,000-squarefoot collaboration incubator in downtown Seattle that has become a hub for innovation activity across the Northwest region

(signified by the hulking Sasquatch mascot that greets you at reception). In this arena, Moore operates under the intentionally open-ended title “creator of opportunities.” She says this role is a parallel to the work of the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, which made an enormous impact on her career. It’s another connection she maintains. The Cambia Grove hosted the center’s recent 48-hour healthcare hackathon. Director Connie Bourassa-Shaw serves on its board. And Moore was thrilled to judge at the center’s inaugural Health Innovation Challenge in March. “It’s great that they’re pointing students from around the UW toward healthcare,” she says. “It’s a massive market opportunity and a great place for innovation. As more people focus their tech talent on healthcare, it’s going to become more rad.” Skaters gonna skate Know what else is rad? Roller derby. Moore was an avid skater as a kid, circling the family’s two-car garage with her sisters for hours and hours on rainy days. When she graduated from Foster in 2012, she decided to reward herself with a pair of top-end quad skates, purchased with the year’s income tax refund. “So,” inquired the clerk at Seattle’s Fast Girl Skates, “are you going out for roller derby?” The thought had never crossed Moore’s mind. “I just want to skate,” she replied. But when she took her new wheels out for a spin at a local rink, she encountered a tribe of roller derby debutantes gearing up for training through the Rat City Rollergirls’ “Potential Fresh Meat” development program. It looked like fun. Moore picked up a helmet and pads and gave it a whirl. “That’s how you get started in roller derby,” she says. “And then you figure out there’s this super-supportive community, and so you keep coming back.” Derby dreams Moore progressed rapidly from potential to potent. After a successful tryout, she was placed in the Rat Lab and drafted by the Derby Liberation Front, one of four teams

in Rat City, which is one of the most established leagues in the country. A blocker, Moore brought a mix of technical skating and some power to the rink, where she skated under the handle “Violent Beauregard.” She loved watching her worlds collide. “It was funny to have my Foster community and my work community and my friends and family asking, you’re really doing this? You’re really… doing… this? And I was like, yeah, it’s super fun.” Also, super painful. Among her litany of derby-related injuries, Moore suffered whiplash and concussion, dislocated her shoulder and broke her tailbone, finger, sacrum and nose—the latter two weeks before her wedding. “Try explaining that one,” she laughs. “I was unusually accident prone.” Though she was elected captain of the DLF before the 2015 season, Moore put her second career on hiatus when she became pregnant. But she misses it. Desperately. “When I was pregnant, I would dream about roller derby,” Moore says. “I skated around in circles until I was 30 weeks along and totally out of balance.” On derby leave for now, though, she’s taking stock of the sport’s valuable lessons. Roller derby has, actually, reinforced the Foster School virtues of teamwork, confidence, resilience and receptiveness. Plus, it’s an unsurpassed reliever of stress. “I love being on my skates, I love hitting people, I love the community,” Moore says. “I can’t wait to go back someday.” n – Ed Kromer

SPRING 2016 | 33


THE BUSINESS OF FUN Former accountant Kevin Clark cruises to a second act on Seattle’s waterways A few years ago, Kevin Clark (BA 1977) set foot in a Foster School building for the first time since he graduated. He was stunned by the beauty of the new facilities. “I was there in the Balmer Hall years,” says Clark. “That building was designed in the Soviet era…maybe by the Soviets themselves!” he jokes. Clark returned to campus to participate as a mentor with Foster’s Consulting and Business Development Center. The center, which assigns a group of students to be consultants to local businesses, relies on mentorship from experienced execs in the area, like Clark. “We worked with all kinds of small businesses—a Vietnamese restaurant, a jewelry store, a specialty electrician sidelined by the recession. It was a great experience,” says Clark. Now re-engaged with the school after all those years, Clark is wowed by Foster’s second act–new name, new facilities, expanded programs and interdisciplinary focus. Clark’s second act Meanwhile, Clark is in a second act of his own. A former accountant with three decades in public accounting, Clark is now CEO, president and owner of Argosy Cruises and Tillicum Village. He acquired a minority interest in the company in the ’90s, then bought a majority and transitioned full-time to the business in 2006. Clark runs the operation with his wife Cary (BA 1977), who spent a number of years in international aircraft financing at Boeing. Today, Argosy hosts more than 450,000 people a year aboard its fleet of nine vessels. It offers boat tours around Lake Washington, Lake Union and Elliott Bay, as well as operating private charters and themed events like the popular Christmas Ships.

Regulated but rewarding It’s not all carols and theme parties. Clark is tasked with navigating a tourism-based business in a highly regulated industry, subject to old, complex maritime laws and the federal oversight of the Coast Guard. It’s also a capital-intensive kind of business, and one where safety of customers and crew is always the biggest priority. “Whatever the challenges are, we essentially sell fun,” Clark says, “and we get to see the joy on the faces of our customers every day.” The company also proudly supports a wide range of charitable causes. It donates tickets to auctions, deploys ships for special charity events, and even carves out specific profits to go straight to initiatives like the Seattle Times Fund for the Needy. Passion as priority “It’s a tough choice to switch gears in such a big way,” says Clark of his second act. “I worked closely with clients and families for

34 | Foster Business

so many years, and those relationships are very important. But this was a unique and really invigorating opportunity.” Reflecting on his career, Clark, the son of an elementary school principal, believes he would have also been very happy as a teacher. And indeed, teaching and working with young people is the source of his greatest fulfillment at the helm of Argosy. “Our employee count triples in the summers, and a lot of our seasonal hires are students. If we’re doing it right, we are teaching them; we want to see them do well. And many come back to us for multiple seasons of employment.” Clark speaks proudly of his three sons, all in their 20s, including one who graduated from Foster in 2015. What advice does he have for them when it comes to careers? “You have to find something that gets you out of bed, that you want to do with a passion. For me, it was later in life, but I’m enjoying every minute.” n

– Carolyn Marsh

POSITIVE CONNECTORS For Tom and Jeff Lindquist, momentum and personal relations are the keys to success Tom Lindquist’s career started with a left turn. “I thought I was going to go into investment banking,” says Tom (BA 1982). “When I graduated from Foster, that was the hot career path.” Today, Tom is more than three decades into a tremendously successful business career. He spent 16 years with developer Trammell Crow, and served as president and chief operating officer at Seattle-based timber company Plum Creek. Plum Creek merged with Weyerhauser at the beginning of 2016 to create the country’s largest private landowner. It was Texan real estate mogul Trammell Crow himself who diverted Tom from his intended path. While attending Harvard’s MBA program, Tom went to a recruiting event that Crow hosted. “He was such a unique person,” says Tom. “But it was his message that really resonated with me: his firm was looking for people who wanted to build a long-term network. They wanted to invest in these ‘positive connectors.’ That made perfect sense to me.” Tom was also swayed by Crow’s proposal that hires could settle in cities they believed had great opportunity, since Tom was looking to get back to Seattle. Pacific Northwest DNA Raised in Edina, Minnesota, in a military family, Tom spent childhood summers visiting his mother’s family in the Pacific Northwest, often staying on with cousins for several extra weeks before taking the train back by himself at 12 or 13. It was an easy choice to come out to Seattle to attend Foster as an undergrad. Tom worked closely with a couple of finance professors on research projects, and they urged him to apply to the Harvard MBA program after graduation. But he knew he wanted to make his way back to the Emerald City one day. Trammell Crow offered just the right opportunity. Tom and his wife Juli, also a UW grad, settled on Mercer Island, where they raised three children. SPRING 2016 | 35

alumni Contagious enthusiasm Husky quarterback Jeff Lindquist shares his father’s enthusiasm for Foster and for the Pacific Northwest. “I always knew I wanted to come to the University of Washington,” says Jeff, who is Tom’s middle child. Jeff is slated to graduate from Foster in spring 2016, but will stay on for a year of post-baccalaureate studies while he plays football for his last year of eligibility. Recruited as a “pro-style quarterback” after putting up 6,061 passing yards and 2,520 rushing yards during his time at Mercer Island High School, Jeff will shift to tight end for his final Husky season. High achievers Lindquist success isn’t limited to Tom and Jeff; in fact, the family has a whole roster of high achievers. Jeff’s older brother Sam played baseball at Stanford as an undergrad, and did a brief stint in the minor leagues before returning to Stanford for a second degree. The youngest, Sara, currently attends Dartmouth, where she plays volleyball, and was, like Jeff, a high school All-American. All three are racking up academic accomplishments in their respective pursuits. And if Jeff is any indication, they’re a humble bunch, too. “Don’t tell anyone,” jokes Jeff, “but the best athlete in the family is my sister—she’s the real superstar.” But, Tom notes that their successes—and really any kind of success—can perhaps mask the struggles, low points and uncertainties along the way. “I’m so proud of what our kids have achieved,” says Tom, “but what I’m especially proud of is how they get through the low points.” Momentum Tom Lindquist is a relentlessly logical thinker, always looking for the “go-forward” options in a situation. “When it comes to those down moments, you have to first face up to them, even when it’s tough, and you have to say, OK, this is where we are. Now what are the options for moving forward?” This kind of thinking has also been a reliable tool for Jeff, who shows the same bias for forward motion as his father. “My dad is a great role model,” says Jeff. “He has always been tremendous at helping me or my

36 | Foster Business

siblings think through a situation, whether it’s an academic issue, a sports issue, or even personal relationships.” And once you’ve worked through those options, says Tom, you have to have the courage to push forward into the unknown. “It’s easy to spend time in the rear-view mirror,” he says. “But there’s no extra value gained from looking backward for too long. Pushing forward has risks, but it’s how you learn. You have to believe in momentum, not perfection, even if it means you’re tying your shoes while you’re running.” Relationships and coalitions Logical thinking and a bias for momentum are two of the traits that Tom sees in the people who have the most success in business, for sure. But one trait is even more crucial, by far: being a positive connector. Just like Trammell Crow, Tom thinks one of the most precious skill sets in any business is the ability to build relationships and coalitions, in a positive way, across all of your networks. “I really believe this skill is responsible for more than 50 percent of someone’s success,” he says. “Human relationships are incredibly complex, and the people who are willing and able to build and maintain them are the ones who can really make a difference.” Tom questions the arms-length nature of relationships and interactions in this era of social media, texting, even email. “I do wonder if this next generation is missing out on building certain personal engagement skills—that this capability is somehow not relevant in our very wired world now… which is just not true. Maybe it’s just that the people who do have them will be even more successful—relatively, versus their competition—than in days past,” he says. One young man he doesn’t have to worry about on that front: his son Jeff. Elected as the captain of the football team in 2015, and active in Greek life and campus-based church The Inn, Jeff’s love of football and Foster always seems to come back to the strength of his friendships. “There’s nothing like being able to link arms with your guys on the field and go up against something,” he says. Like father, like son. n – Carolyn Marsh


3 MSIS Graduation HUB Lyceum Auditorium 5 Undergraduate Graduation Celebration Hec Edmundson Pavilion 6 EMBA, TMMBA, GEMBA Graduation Ceremony Meany Hall 10 MPAcc Audit and Tax Graduation Celebration HUB North and South Ballrooms 11 Full-time MBA, Evening MBA, PhD Graduation Celebration Meany Hall UW Commencement Ceremony Husky Stadium

25 8th Annual UW Foster Alumni Picnic Denny Yard July

15 UW Alumni Night at the Mariners; Foster Alumni Pregame Party Pyramid Alehouse September

30-October 1 MBA Reunions for Classes of 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 & 2011 Visit for details and more events, including happy hours, lifelong education and family events. Looking for events outside of Seattle? Watch the online events calendar for happenings in New York, Portland, San Francisco, Spokane, Tokyo and other locations in the coming year!

A Foster Student JournEY EY is a top university community participant, student recruiter and Chair Level ($100,000) corporate partner of Foster School activities and education. Alumni and other leaders from the firm add countless hours of teaching, programming and mentorship to help create futures for students throughout Foster and the UW. Aysha Aijaz is one of the many students benefitting from EY’s involvement. Arriving at the UW from Bellevue College in 2014, Aysha Aijaz looks forward to receiving her bachelor’s degree with concentrations in accounting and information systems in December. She will be an assurance intern in EY’s Seattle office this summer, which makes sense given the “Big 4” accounting and consulting firm has been part of Aysha’s Foster School journey every step of the way. Aysha first connected with Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), the international honor organization for financial information students at the EY-sponsored Week of Welcome. A year later, Aysha is the chapter president and pitching BAP membership and activities to freshmen and transfer

With students and EY professionals after an EY presentation

students herself. An early visit to the EY Center for Career Advancement in Dempsey Hall, where EY co-taught a professionalism workshop, shaped her mindset and business demeanor. Professionalism was put to the test when Aysha and two fellow Foster School students represented the UW at the Competition on Management Information Systems (CoMIS) in April. This team trek to Minneapolis

Week of Welcome

was sponsored by EY yet again. While it was her father and grandfather who inspired Aysha to pursue business, Aysha knows EY has been investing in education and her fellow Huskies since well before she arrived at Foster, and she looks forward to continuing this partnership tradition for future Foster students—including her brother, who is one year behind her in the accounting program!

With CoMis teammates

足N onprofit O rganization U.S. P ostage

PAI D S eattle, WA P ermit N o. 62 ADVAN C E M E NT B ox 353200 S eattle , Wa 9 8195-3200

Michael G. Foster school of business University of washington


spring 2016

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