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FOSTER

MICHAEL G. FOSTER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON WINTER 2020

BUSINESS

LIFE of a SALESMAN The extraordinary partnership behind the Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program PAGE 14

PLUS:

Better Together, Better Tomorrow PAGE 8 • Good Bones PAGE 12 • To Fly! PAGE 18


FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

FOSTER

BUSINESS Dean Frank Hodge

Associate Dean of Advancement Steven Hatting

Director of Alumni Engagement

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Thoughts on the future of Foster from the extensive “listening tour” of Dean Frank Hodge

BLC XXVIII, Dynamic Duo, Foster Notably, Early Risers, Happy 100th, Rankings Report, All Shine On, Alumni Calendar, Get Foster Gear, Volunteer Without Peer, Up And Away

Better Together, Better Tomorrow

News

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The extraordinary story of the extraordinary partnership that built the Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program into one of the nation’s best

Aimy Callahan

Contributing Writers Andrew Krueger, Eric Nobis, Kristin Anderson, Carolyn Marsh, Julie Case

a.k.a. design

Foster School of Business Marketing & Communications

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Faculty Research Briefs, Class of 2019, Honor Roll, Crystal Rocks, Kira Cares

To Fly!

On the cover: Jack Rhodes with current Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program students (l-r) Maddy Graves, Shlok Asrani, Julia Eldrenkamp, Christian Peterson, Donald (DJ) Beavers, Julia Mirick and Christina Tun Zan.

Business Manager

Design

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For these Foster alumni aviators, flying airplanes—of every kind—is a passion like no other

Ed Kromer

Matt Hagen, Paul Gibson, Jack and Ann Rhodes collection

Founders Hall will be constructed with cross-laminated timber, the state of the art in engineered wood that is healthy for people and the planet

Life of a Salesman

Managing Editor

Photography

Good Bones

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Andrew Krueger

University of Washington Box 353200 Seattle, WA 98195-3200 206.685.2933

On the Web foster.uw.edu

Foster Business is published twice a year by the University of Washington Foster School of Business. The publication is made possible by proceeds from the Ivar Haglund Endowment. No state funds are used in its production.

Change of Address? fans@uw.edu

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Alumni Vanessa Brewster Laughlin, Koki Yamashita, Krista Moatz, Captain Husky

Comments? bizmag@uw.edu


FROM THE DEAN

Since becoming dean of the Foster School of Business in July, I’ve had the pleasure of attending events from Seattle to Seoul. What I’ve found most satisfying has been the opportunity to connect and reconnect with so many great people along the way. My travels have given me a profound sense of context into the greater Foster community, a renewed commitment to our mission, and an even stronger conviction that by working together, we can be even better tomorrow than we are today. At a recent alumni event in New York, for instance, a young woman came up to me and said, “I was your student, and I want to thank you.” This young alum had been a student in my Introduction to Financial Accounting class, a prerequisite for admittance to the Foster School, and thus a highly stressful experience for many students. Given this, I had made a habit of asking my teaching assistants, after the first exam, if there were any students that were working incredibly hard but unfortunately not performing well. Once we identified this small number of students, I would reach out to them to let them know we recognized their hard work, and to ask if there was anything we could do to help them. I knew from prior experience that sometimes the smallest changes could have a large impact on these students’ performance. In meeting with this particular student, I learned that she would experience severe anxiety when taking tests in a large classroom. So, I told her that, on the next exam, we would run a little experiment. She would take the test in a room by herself just to see if it would make a difference… And make a difference it did! This student went from struggling to achieving one of the top scores on the second exam. She went on to duplicate this performance on the final exam, finishing near the top of the class overall, and earning admission to the Foster School. When this young alum was telling me her story that memorable evening in New York, we both teared up. Together, we truly do create futures. Connections like this one are what energize me. They are what make me as proud to be a part of the Foster School today as the day I received an offer to join the faculty 20 years ago. They strengthen my beliefs that what we do at Foster has the ability to change people, to change communities, to be better together, better tomorrow. Sincerely,

Frank Hodge

Orin & Janet Smith Dean UW Foster School of Business

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Photo by Christine Moody

CONNECTIONS AND RECONNECTIONS


NEWS

BLC XXVIII 28th annual Business Leadership Celebration honors outstanding leaders of A-list firms

Photograph by Erin Lodi

BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Dean Frank Hodge with Distinguished Leadership Awardees Shelley Reynolds and Brad Tilden.

For a first-year dean known by many as “Coach,” the Foster School’s 2019 Business Leadership Celebration was like opening day with a stellar team on the rise and full of promise. Frank Hodge, the Orin and Janet Smith Endowed Dean since July 1, presided over the Foster School’s 28th annual celebration of great leaders and leadership in November. Facets of leadership To mark a new era at Foster, a quintet of the school’s most-decorated faculty delivered TED-style talks on different “Facets of Leadership.” Pat Bettin, senior lecturer of management, illustrated compassionate leadership with the story of an extraordinarily humane commander in Vietnam. Crystal Farh, an associate professor of management and Michael G. Foster Endowed Fellow, challenged assumptions on team leadership. Bruce Avolio, the Mark Pigott Chair in Business Strategic Leadership, viewed authentic leadership through the examples of a prison warden, a flight attendant and Foster students.

Christina Fong, principal lecturer of management, touched on relational leadership and the relative success of takers, givers and matchers. And Charles Hill, a professor of management and organization, spoke on emergent leadership, and how to change on a dime. Exemplars of excellence This year’s recipients of the UW Distinguished Leadership Award embody these lessons in leadership at two of Seattle’s most iconic companies. Shelley Reynolds (BA 1987) is the vice president and worldwide controller of Amazon. Since joining Amazon in 2006 after 19 years at Deloitte & Touche, Reynolds now leads the accounting team that handles every business and location in which the Fortune 5 firm operates. Brad Tilden (MBA 1997) is the chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group. An avid pilot, Tilden also serves on the boards of the Washington Roundtable, Nordstrom, Boy Scouts of America, Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Airlines for America.

Foster’s success is powered by many invaluable corporate and individual partnerships, many of which were on display at the Business Leadership Celebration. The Opening Reception was sponsored by Russell Investments. The Awardees Reception was sponsored by Alaska Airlines. Gold Sponsors included Accenture, Anthony’s Restaurants, Dorrit Bern, Susan Bevan, Jason and Stephanie Child, John and Kathy Connors, D.A. Davidson Companies, Deloitte, Neal and Jan Dempsey, Bill and Sally Douglas, EY, Ed and Karen Fritzky Family, Dan Fulton, GM Nameplate, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, Holland America Line, Pat and Mary Ellen Hughes, Kemper Development Company, KPMG, LMN Architects, Lee and Darlene Nutter, Premera Blue Cross, Providence St. Joseph Health, PwC, Shelley Reynolds, Bruce and Gail Richards, Saltchuk, Wells Fargo, Gary and Barbara Wipfler, and Zevenbergen Capital Investments. Net proceeds from the Business Leadership Celebration will help foster leaders at the University of Washington.

The UW Foster School’s margin of excellence is largely due to private support from alumni and friends. If you are considering a gift to Foster before the tax year ends on December 31st, you can browse different areas of support by visiting foster.uw.edu/give.

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NEWS

DYNAMIC DUO Deanna and John Oppenheimer are this year’s Fritzky Co-Chairs in Leadership Throughout this academic year, the Foster School community is benefitting from the expertise of two Edward V. Fritzky Visiting Chairs in Leadership. Deanna Oppenheimer is the founder of the advisory firm CameoWorks and BoardReady, a non-profit organization that helps corporate clients diversify their boardrooms. A global expert in financial services, Deanna has served in leadership roles at Washington Mutual and Barclays, and has served on a variety of Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 boards. John Oppenheimer is the founder and CEO of Columbia Hospitality, a Seattle-based management and consulting company with a portfolio of award-winning hotels, restaurants, conference centers, golf courses and residential properties. John is also author of Keys to the Room: Unlocking the Doors to Opportunities and Possibilities. The Fritzky Chair, established in 2004 in honor of the former chairman, president and CEO of Immunex, brings distinguished business leaders to campus to share their experience and expertise with faculty and students.

FOSTER, NOTABLY First in Jobs – The Foster School led the nation in MBA job placement for the fourth-straight year in 2018 (and is likely to continue the streak with 99% placement in 2019).

Top Dawgs – The top employers of Foster alumni are Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, T-Mobile, Starbucks, Deloitte, EY, PwC, Expedia and Nordstrom.

National Reach – Foster’s Hybrid MBA Program—95% online, 5% on campus—has drawn applicants from 16 different states stretching from Alaska to Florida, California to New York.

Direct Effect – This year’s Freshman Direct class (339 students) is the largest in school history, with an average SAT score that ranks in the nation’s 97th percentile.

Global Impact – Foster counts 56,586 alumni living in 77 different countries across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Jump Start – Over the past decade, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship has served more than 750 studentcreated companies, which have gone on to raise more than $250 million in investment funding. First Class – The inaugural cohort of Foster’s MS in Business Analytics Program (31 students from 330 applicants), hailed from around the Pacific Northwest and as far away as Australia, China and India. Honoring Heritage – During Hispanic Heritage Month, Foster honored all 20 recipients of the Ernest I.J. Aguilar Endowed Scholarship for MBA students of Latin American heritage—the first of its kind in the nation. Diversifying the MBA – The Foster School co-hosted the national MBA Prep Summer Seminar with Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an organization that develops leaders from underrepresented communities.

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EARLY RISERS

HAPPY 100TH!

Young Foster alums recognized in PSBJ 40 Under 40

The Foster School’s “Rho” Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi celebrates its centennial this year. Founded in 1919, AKPsi Rho was the earliest business-focused student organization at the UW, and the 18th in the vast national network of AKPsi.

Lian Carl (MBA 2010), Joe Trieu (BA 2007) and Vanessa Brewster Laughlin (MBA 2007) were named in September by the Puget Sound Business Journal to this year’s “40 Under 40” list of standout business leaders. Carl is vice president of product for Ookla, a global leader in mobile and broadband networking intelligence, testing applications and technology. She is the former director of the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights. Trieu is president (and second-generation owner) of Evergreen Beauty College, which he has grown into the largest such school in the state and a member of the Seattle Business “Washington’s 100 Best Companies to Work For” six years running. Brewster Laughlin is the co-founder of Banister Advisors, which provides healthcare navigation, bereavement and estate services (read more about her on page 29). The PSBJ’s annual list of the region’s best and brightest young leaders has included a host of UW Foster School grads since its inception in 1999.

RANKINGS REPORT Foster’s top rankings vis-à-vis the nearly 500 accredited US business schools Undergraduate #19 (#9 public) in U.S. News & World Report MBA #16 (#4 public) in Bloomberg Businessweek Evening MBA #12 (#7 public) in U.S. News & World Report

Joe Trieu Lian Carl

Executive MBA #10 (#3 public) in Financial Times MBA job placement #1 (#1 public) in U.S. News & World Report ROI #1 (#1 public) in U.S. News & World Report Resources for women #1 (#1 public) in Princeton Review

Vanessa Brewster Laughlin

Research productivity #7 (#1 public) in Financial Times

WINTER 2020 | 5


NEWS

To keep up with the full calendar of Foster School events at home and away visit: foster.uw.edu/fosteralumni/

ALL SHINE ON Young Women’s Leadership Summit gives teens a head start on business success At last summer’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit, Foster’s Undergraduate Programs hosted 40 promising high school juniors and seniors for four residential days of introductions to business careers, company visits (including Amazon), and workshops with Foster faculty, staff and alumnae to develop skills in public speaking, communication, team-building, decision-making and negotiations. In the capstone, each student presented her own mini-TED Talk on a cause she really stands for. The Young Women’s Leadership Summit is one of several high school pipeline programs at Foster, including the long-running Young Executives of Color (YEOC) and the Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP).

GET FOSTER GEAR ONLINE AT THE FOSTER SCHOOL STORE

foster.uw.edu/store 10% off with the code: magazine

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VOLUNTEER WITHOUT PEER Lex Gamble receives 2019 Gates Volunteer Service Award Leadership. Philanthropy. Connections. Salmon. Lex Gamble (BA 1959) has given a lot in a lifetime of remarkable, relentless service to the Foster School of Business and the University of Washington. Gamble received this year’s Gates Volunteer Award in recognition of six decades of giving and service to the UW—and inspiring others to do the same. When his finance career took him to New York, Gamble turned the Big Apple into a potent satellite hub for fellow Huskies. He created Dawgs On Wall Street (DOWS) and sparked the annual New York Salmon BBQs, drawing the region’s UW grads to dine on the finest wild Pacific kings, flown in from Pike Place Market. Gamble also has served for many years on the UW Foundation Board and the Foster School Advisory Board. He and his late wife Diane (BA 1959) were enormously generous—supporting Foster, UW Medicine, Husky Athletics and much more. They also co-chaired multiple class gift committees, once endowing a fund to ensure the enduring health of the Quad’s iconic cherry trees. “I bleed purple,” says Gamble, by way of explaining his life-long commitment to the UW. Not that any explanation is needed.

UP AND AWAY Foster celebrates steady ascent of longtime corporate partner Alaska Airlines Balloons? Check. Giveaways? Check. Selfie station? Check. Husky Marching Band? Check. Alaska Airlines banners at each PACCAR Hall entrance? Check. Squadrons of gift-bearing paper airplanes raining down on a massive scrum of students in the Garvey Family Atrium (the luckiest snagging the one stowing a free roundtrip ticket to anywhere Alaska flies)? Check (and check). Must be Alaska Airlines Day at the Foster School, a celebration of one of the school’s most loyal and lasting corporate partnerships. The October 9 event kicked off with the plane-throwing, bandblasting party. Then things got down to business. Alaska CEO Brad Tilden (MBA 1997), COO Ben Minicucci, CIO Charu Jain and an impressive slate of senior leaders—many bearing Foster degrees— participated in panel discussions on careers in executive leadership, IT management, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Others met with student leaders from Foster’s MBA and Undergraduate Programs, and in “ask-me-anything” Q&As with Executive MBAs. Corporate Days are offered as a benefit to Foster’s Chair Level Corporate Partners, who invest more than $100K in Foster in a fiscal year. Check out pics of the day’s festivities and Foster student travels on Instagram. Search #FosterFliesAlaska.

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BETTER TOGETHER, BETTER TOMORROW

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Thoughts on the future of Foster from the extensive “listening tour” of Dean Frank Hodge

Frank Hodge became the Orin and Janet Smith Dean on July 1, 2019. Since then, he’s been relentlessly on the road and in the air. He’s stood on a pitcher’s mound in Spokane and in conference rooms around the world. He’s met with business leaders, alumni, peers as well as Foster faculty, staff and students. Through it all, he’s done a lot of listening and thinking to inform his plan for the Foster School’s future. Andrew Krueger, Foster’s director of alumni engagement, sat down with Dean Hodge to talk about his first four months on the job. AK:  You’ve recently been at alumni events in Seattle, San Francisco, Spokane and New York, as well as Seoul, Tokyo and Taipei. Are you enjoying the experience? FH:  Very much so. Not only the formal gatherings but all the happenstance meetings. I almost can’t go through an airport now without someone yelling “coach!” It happens all the time at SeaTac, but also in places like New York and San Francisco. It drives home the fact that we have alums everywhere. And having the opportunity, as dean, to reconnect with them has been energizing. I walk away with a smile on my face and a sense of pride in being able to carry the Foster flag. What is the role of a business school today? Capitalism has its critics. And some individual capitalists behave badly. But the far majority of business people are out to make a positive impact on people and their communities. When undertaken in an ethical and sustainable way, capitalism is something to celebrate. It facilitates an unparalleled standard of living. It drives innovation. And it allows people and organizations to have an incredible impact around the world. At the Foster School, we challenge our students to consider how they, and the organizations they work for, can contribute to society in positive ways. Doing so requires that we provide students the technical skills they need to succeed, but also, perhaps more importantly, the mindset to always be looking to make things better. To innovate. To improve. If we’re teaching a mindset that starts with the question, how can I help you?—we’ll find ways to make our communities better. What does being a public school mean to you? To me, it means we are a team player; an integral part of a bigger picture. We play a key role in the health of Washington state and everyone who lives here. We do not take this responsibility lightly. That is why we work hard to foster connections across campus, across Seattle and across the state. I’m very proud of the fact that we’re a public institution and we have a mission to educate the future business leaders of Washington and the world beyond. 1. Panelists at Foster’s Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA conference. 2. Neal Dempsey (BA 1964) of Bay Partners and Gary Wipfler (BA 1981) of Apple welcome Dean Hodge and Professor Jennifer Koski to the Bay Area. 3. Advisory Board Chair and Godiva CEO Annie Young-Scrivner (BA 1990) welcome Frank and Abby Hodge to an alumni gathering in New York.

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4. Advisors Susan Bevan (MBA 1976) and Tony Daddino welcome the Hodges to their Greenwich home, with Emeritus Advisory Board Chair Lex Gamble (BA 1959) and his wife, Ann Marie. 5. A spirited gathering of NYC-based Foster alums. WINTER 2020 | 9


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What is the biggest challenge facing the Foster School? I think as you get better and better, it’s easy to become satisfied and not drive as hard to be better tomorrow than we are today. Measuring ourselves against our prior performance is important to me. We want to continuously strive to find ways, even very small ways, to better ourselves. If we do this I believe we will naturally separate ourselves from our competition and create an inclusive and innovative culture that people are drawn to and want to be a part of. I think that’s true for any team that performs at a really high level. If you’re winning championships, your competition is who you play against on game day. But what separates the truly great from the very good is how you compete all the other days. How do you view innovation at the Foster School? I like to think we’ve been as innovative as anyone, but the key to being known nationally as an innovator is to always be innovating. That is how we can proactively meet the needs of employers and be a place where students want to be. Instilling this innovative mindset in everything we do at Foster is something I am working hard on. We also need to share the innovative things we are already doing with others, which I’ve been doing throughout my travels. I would eventually like people who hear the word “Foster” to think “inclusive, innovative, impactful.” What’s an example of Foster’s innovation? Our Hybrid MBA Program is one of biggest innovative successes. Lots of places are offering online programs. We wanted to capture the efficiency of offering courses online, with the critically important aspect of building a network. Our Hybrid Program does that and does it well. We were not interested in offering a

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program to 10,000 people around the world so we could make a lot of money. We were interested in finding ways to provide an exceptional educational experience to those who could not be on campus every day. We decided a hybrid model—four intensive days at the beginning of each quarter on campus and the rest of the quarter online—was the way to go. Once we made the decision to enter this space, I think we did it exceptionally well. One of the biggest challenges to raising Foster’s reputation nationally is also one of our biggest strengths: Seattle. Once people come here, few want to leave. How can we address this? [laughs] First, this is a great “problem” to have! Being located in one of the two hottest economic markets of the last decade is a true blessing. We take full advantage of this, both in terms of connecting with iconic Seattle-based companies to provide experiential learning opportunities, and in terms of making sure that Foster is well represented among their hires every year. The disadvantage of having so many of our graduates want to stay in Seattle is that the Foster name, and the quality education we provide, is not as well known nationally as it should be. I think our reputation lags our performance. I aim to change that. One way I am doing so is by traveling around the globe sharing with others what we are doing at Foster. I think it is only a matter of time before we have a strong national, and eventually international, reputation for excellence. What does diversity and inclusion mean to you? The “Foster ID Program” is about being welcoming and inclusive so that we naturally become more diverse. I believe that “I” comes before “D.” And we are working every day to be more inclusive,

10. An introduction to members of the local business community. 11. Celebrating Alaska Airlines Day at Foster with CEO Brad Tilden (MBA 1997) and Dubs II. 12. A warm welcome from Foster alums in Tokyo. 13. Discussing collaborations with Boeing executives Hans Aarhus (MBA 1989) and Sophia Zervas-Berg (MBA 1997). 14. Throwing the first pitch at a Spokane Indians game.

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You recently participated in the Deloitte Transition Lab, which enables leaders to step back and get clarity on organizational priorities. What did you take away from the experience?

6. With a couple of this year’s Foster MBA Board Fellows. 7. Meeting with Dr. Chong Lee (PhD 1987) in Seoul. 8. A behind-the-scenes tour of the NASDAQ with Chris Dearborn, managing director of market intelligence.

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9. Inside the NASDAQ.

not only for students, but also for faculty, staff, alums—anyone who walks through our doors. I also think it is important to recognize that the most creative solutions to the most complex problems come from bringing together diversity of thought. Diversity of thought comes from people who are diverse in every way imaginable: sexual orientation, ethnicity, political views, socioeconomic status and more. My dream is to bring together people who combine ideas in ways they have never been combined before, to solve problems that have never been solved before. How can we bring greater diversity to Foster? I want people, when they think of the Foster School and when they visit the Foster School, to feel welcome when they walk through our doors and to sense a spirit of inclusion that invites them to stay or, better yet, inspires them to stay. We need to be true to that. When we put out the welcome mat, we mean, “Welcome, everyone. Stay awhile. Be a part of our community.” We also need to make sure that everyone knows we are here. Otherwise, they’re not going to walk through that front door over our welcome mat. That’s the messaging part. That’s where I think being a part of The Consortium, being a part of the Forté Foundation, being part of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (that was on campus this past summer) is so important. As we spread the word that the Foster School is a welcoming, inclusive, innovative place that desires to positively impact communities, people will want to come see what we are all about. It’s a long process, no doubt, but something we can achieve. Something I believe we must achieve if we are going to be better tomorrow than we are today.

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I went in knowing that the overarching theme of “better together, better tomorrow” is important to me—“better together” is about community and connections and “better tomorrow” is about being innovative and having an innovative mindset. The “better together, better tomorrow” mantra really resonates with me and I believe captures who we are today and who we aspire to be in the future. When I was at the Transition Lab, we didn’t start with the purpose of using the word “foster” as a verb, but we kept coming back to it. What are we trying to do here? Well, we’re trying to grow something. What’s another word for grow? Foster. Fostering community. Fostering connections. Fostering innovation. Fostering purpose. Each of these “pieces of the puzzle” highlights a way we can be “better together” and/or “better tomorrow.” I added one afterward: Fostering pride. It hit me on the plane ride home that if we’re doing all the other elements well, we will foster pride among students, faculty and staff. And this sense of pride will be contagious, drawing alumni, donors, employers to Foster. Is “Better together, better tomorrow” your North Star? Yes! I say it to myself every day when I walk through the doors of the Foster School. It helps remind me of what I hope to achieve during the day. Like I mentioned before, if each and every person within Foster—including myself—can find even a small way to be better together, better tomorrow, we’ll excel over the long run and I think surprise a lot of people in just how good we can be. Whether this mantra will be the North Star for the Foster School is yet to be determined. In the coming months, I’m going to foster a collaborative process to clarify our purpose, strategy and brand. At the end of this process, I want everyone to feel like they had a voice and believe in the outcome. A North Star needs be a guide that we all look to, not just me. n The Dean Hodge Listening Tour continues. “I hope to see you at Foster or on the road,” he says. “Let’s stay in touch.”

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Founders Hall will be constructed with cross-laminated timber, the state of the art in engineered wood that is healthy for people and the planet

GOOD BONES by ERIC NOBIS

When it opens in 2021, Founders Hall will add classrooms, student team rooms and much-needed space for the UW Foster School’s student programs, career services and experiential learning centers. The 85,000 square-foot multi-use facility will replace Mackenzie Hall in its current location. There are several significant milestones associated with this project. For one, the estimated costs of $75 million are being funded entirely by private gifts from a consortium of leadership donors—literally the “founders” of the new hall. Additionally, the new facility will be the first building on the UW campus—and one of the first in the state—to incorporate the newest innovation in construction materials. Get ready, because the future is here, and it’s… wood. Not just any wood. Specifically, cross-laminated timber (CLT), an advanced engineered wood made from layers of pressed lumber that can be machined into large, beautiful shapes with accuracy to the thousandth of an inch.

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LMN Architects

Why wood is good The benefits of CLT are manifest before you even dig into the environmental science. Let’s start with the aesthetics of a beautiful wood finish and give a nod to what is widely regarded as the positive impact of bringing the outdoors inside when it comes to mood and ambience. Of course, the same benefits hold true for how a building of mass timber blends into its environs. CLT also has the edge over conventional materials in biaxial strength, durability, stability and acoustic qualities. There also are numerous environmental benefits. Trees naturally sequester carbon dioxide, and they continue to do so even after being converted to CLT. Founders Hall will be a carbon sink. Further, CLT derives from responsibly managed forests that aren’t depleting natural resources, but being harvested and regenerated sustainably like any well-managed agricultural crop. The manufacturing process for CLT is also considerably easier on the environment than other materials. UW researchers calculated the average building constructed with CLT to have a 26.5 percent smaller carbon footprint than a comparable one constructed with concrete.

There are tremendous performance advantages to CLT as a structural building material strong and rigid enough to replace steel and concrete. Back to our roots It may be hard to think of wood as the cutting-edge innovation in building construction—isn’t that what we used before concrete and steel? However, the way in which older wood buildings were constructed didn’t lend itself to urban growth, which demanded greater cost efficiencies and lesser risk of fire. In a region that is now known internationally as a high-tech hub, the timber industry has also been making revolutionary strides. Washington state has a long history of timber innovation, including advanced approaches to forest management and sustainability. In fact, the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is one of the oldest natural resource programs in the country. And researchers at the school recently validated the environmental benefits of building with CLT in a study published in the Journal of Building Engineering.

The Lorax would approve The construction of Founders Hall will be a partnership of Hoffman Construction, LMN Architects and McKinstry. Dean Allen (BA 1976), McKinstry’s CEO, says that CLT production is good for the state’s timber industry and for the health of American forests. Because CLT is a composite, it can derive from smaller diameter trees than the ancient giants of older-growth forests. Managing sustainable timber harvesting requires strategic “de-loading” of these smaller trees to create clearings that help avert the spread of forest fires. They also create new opportunity in the industry. “The smaller trees we want to remove are abundant,” says Allen. “And smaller mills can handle them, which also creates jobs.” He notes that CLT has given rise to Katerra’s new state-ofthe-art mass timber factory in the Spokane Valley. Time is money One other advantage is that CLT comes manufactured to the job specifications and ready to go—think “time is money.” The expedited schedule essentially saves interest carry on the deferred capital and will allow the project to be completed with greater speed. What about the downsides? “Well, there are new things to learn—a curve that hopefully flattens out over time,” says Allen. “Issues include wondering whether codes are up to speed and ready. But that’s a risk factor that’s been ameliorated. Use of CLT is a few decades old in Europe, and there are hundreds of buildings proposed.” Beyond proposed is Founders Hall, whose construction is set to begin in the new year. The newest piece of the Foster School campus will be up before you know it, erected with acres of gorgeous cross-laminated timber that is healthy for people, healthy for the planet and a beauty to behold. You could say that where wood is concerned, there’s nowhere to go but up. n WINTER 2020 | 13


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LIFE of a SALESMAN The extraordinary story of the extraordinary partnership that built the Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program into one of the nation’s best Jack Rhodes (BA 1961) is a masterful storyteller, capable

©istock.com subjug

of spinning a great yarn on nearly any topic. He draws from a deep well of crystalline memories and a vast neural network of personal relationships he’s cultivated across his 80-something eventful, impactful years on this Earth. And when he tells a tale, he commits his entire body to it, bends his rich baritone to paint the scene and embody the characters, and delivers the goods with the timing of a great comic. “When Jack tells a story,” says entrepreneur and author Jeff Lehman, one of his legions of friends, “it is worth listening to.” And it’s fair to say that the entire story of his life is etched into the Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program at the UW Foster School of Business. It’s an anthology, really, encompassing myriad instructive anecdotes and punchlines-with-a-message. But this story of stories doesn’t begin with a transformational gift from a couple of dyed-in-the-fur Huskies to their beloved alma mater. Or with the fostering of one of the nation’s first and finest sales programs. Or with the successful family business that punctuated a long and winding career in sales and marketing. Or even with the classroom connection of two UW undergrads who would forge an unbreakable partnership over a lifelong love affair. The story really begins ten years earlier, in the shadow of Husky Stadium, circa 1948. Type H blood John Henry Rhodes may not have been a Husky from birth, but he was an early convert. An only child raised in a modest studio apartment on 45th Street in Wallingford, he ventured often— through forest, in those days—to the UW campus. Greek Row, the Burke Museum, Hec Ed and, especially, Husky Stadium were places of magic and myth to his young mind.

by ED KROMER

From age 10, Jack hawked game-day newspapers outside the stadium to afford a cheap seat in the bleachers so he could watch the Dawgs do gridiron battle. He was hooked. “I call it type H blood,” he says, noting the H is for Husky. “Campus was an exciting place to be as a kid.” Newspapers weren’t the end of it, either. Jack was always selling. Lemonade stands. Rummage sales. Sponsorship of the neighborhood baseball team. You name it. “From a very early age, I always sold something,” Jack recalls. “It was kind of a gravitational thing that I enjoyed doing.” When his father fell ill to chronic liver disease, he began working in earnest to support the family. He got a job at Longacres Racetrack when he was a 9th-grader and worked through his years at Roosevelt High School, updating the manual tote board and serving the press room, earning extra cash fetching sandwiches for famished reporters. Jack’s first “official” sales job was in the men’s department at the Roosevelt Sears, which put him through the UW. His boss encouraged him to study marketing. But the one sales class on offer at the UW left the biggest mark. It wasn’t the only value he found in a business classroom. A perfect match Ann Loken (BA 1961) was born into a family of Huskies who owned and operated a successful hardware store in Everett. Ann was big-hearted and a crackerjack student at the UW, marshalling a military sense of discipline, a massive intellect and bold ambition. Advised to go into teaching, she instead studied business. One day in class, she met Jack Rhodes. They hit it off straight away. And Jack was a better man for the connection. “I like to say that I was a 2.0 student when I met her, and a 3.0 student when we got married,” he quips. WINTER 2020 | 15


“I don’t think you’ll find two finer human beings—people who care deeply about people and the impact they’re making— than Jack and Ann Rhodes. They built something to last, and that’s a rare thing these days.” PAT CHESTNUT , president and CEO of Arista Point

He got serious about his studies and rose to leadership positions in the pep-group Sun Dodgers and in Army ROTC. By the time Jack and Ann were married in 1961, Jack was already stationed at the Army Quartermaster Training School in Fort Lee, Virginia, where he got his first taste of teaching. After two years on active duty, he began seeking work in sales back in Seattle. Traveling salesman Jack’s first breaks came at Westinghouse, selling portable appliances to the military, then Allstate, then Xerox, where he eventually rose to sales manager. Ann had a considerably tougher launch. Fascinated by the stock market and hugely capable, she got her foot in the door as a receptionist at Merrill Lynch. When she was denied the chance to earn her broker’s license through the firm, she did it on her own time and her own dime. Even then, she was trusted only with routine overflow work rather than her own clients. When Jack’s career took off, she took off with him. “They were a great team,” recalls Karen Koon, Ann’s sorority sister. “That’s the way their whole life went, too.” Xerox took the Rhodes from Seattle to New York to Chicago. In the early 1970s, they moved to Massachusetts when Jack became director of marketing for a division of Avery, and Southern California when he became vice president of two Times Mirror subsidiaries. “I’m the guy who couldn’t keep a job,” he jokes. Business partnership In 1981, Jack and Ann decided it was time to hang their shingle together. Jack had plenty of experience and connections. And Ann was itching to get back in the game. Together they launched Rhodes & Co., a sales and marketing firm based in Southern California and serving blue-chip companies across the western United States. The venture was a partnership in every sense of the word, with Jack running the sales side while Ann handled operations. Rhodes & Co. was a huge success. And, after 18 years in business, they sold it to their employees and moved back to Seattle. Home at last.

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“We decided that Seattle was where we were going to ‘round it out,’ so to speak,” Jack says. But neither was ready to be retired. Back to school Jack plugged back into Husky Athletics, eventually becoming chair of the Tyee Club and receiving the Frank Orrico Award (for outstanding dedication, commitment and generosity to UW Athletics) in 2005. He became an advisor to UW Army ROTC and was inducted into the inaugural National ROTC Hall of Fame in 2016. But the Foster School is where both Jack and Ann really found a new mission. It happened that the very man who had hired Jack at Xerox 30 years earlier, Bill McKinley, was teaching a sales class at the UW. That class had roots in a side project that he and Jack had co-founded back in their Xerox days to take the company’s famed sales training program to the broader marketplace. And McKinley, a past-president of the Seattle Junior Chamber of Commerce, was as well-connected as Jack. “When I moved back, Bill said, ‘Why don’t we teach a class together like we used to?’” Jack recalls. They did just that. Soon, Jack developed a sales management class. And the embryo of a program was formed. Unfortunately, McKinley died soon after their reunion. But Jack kept building upon the foundation. Humble beginnings The Professional Sales Program counted barely a dozen students in its first year. But Jack converted his expansive personal network—carefully cultivated over a lifetime—into an army of vested mentors, advisors and employers to ramp up the program. He introduced a required practicum, facilitated mentorships and honed a curriculum that hewed to the practical over theoretical. And, perhaps most significantly, he made sure the program was as much of a partnership as everything else in his life. Jack, once again, handled the front office while Ann managed operations.


“Ann was really running everything behind the scenes,” says Khynna Ausink (BA 2009), who worked in the Sales Program office before embarking on a successful career at Sun Life Financial. “She was more involved than most people would ever know.” Old school If Jack has been the face of the program all these years, he’s certainly made an indelible impression. “Alumni like to talk about that special faculty member who changed their lives,” says Steven Hatting, the Foster School’s associate dean for advancement. “For so many Huskies over the last two decades, that has been Jack. When we send him prospective students, he makes their parents wish they could sign up for the Sales Program themselves! His love and joy for education is so authentic. It’s infectious.” Former students describe Jack as “meticulous” and “tough,” but also “wise,” “caring” and “relatable.” “A coach.” “A connector.” “Another word I’d use to describe him is ‘present,’” says Maddy Graves, a senior at Foster who landed a dream internship at the Seattle Mariners through the program. “Jack is a great listener, and deeply focused on how he can help you succeed.” Most of all, students call him “old-school,” in the best way. Jack still presents himself daily in a business suit, a beacon of professionalism amid a sea of campus casual. Not that he is an anachronism. Far from it. His guidance has remained at the vanguard of sales strategy, which has shifted seismically in his lifetime from a role of communication to consultancy. “Jack has always taught young people real-life skills they need to be successful in the world today,” says Pat Chestnut, the president and CEO of Arista Point and longtime advisor to the program. “He understands how to adapt to the changing sales landscape and how to help people adapt.” But some of his most resounding messages—the ones perhaps most unfamiliar to children of the Internet—are enduring. The rubric of selling, for instance. The importance of eye contact. The power of a handwritten note. The imperative of personal relationships. “Those things never go out of style,” says Kylie Nelson (BA 2010), who leveraged the program into her early career in sales at iHeartRadio. “Jack is always minding every detail, emphasizing

Sales students refer to Jack Rhodes as “old school,” in the best way.

interaction, thinking about how to appreciate people. This is why so many support the program.” And why it thrives. Why they serve The program that Jack and Ann built is a model for the nation, perennially ranked in the top 10. It serves more than 160 students from business and many other fields of study across the UW. They win championships—including three National Team Selling Competitions since 2012. And they land great jobs. The program’s placement rate been north of 96 percent for several years running. “Our students,” Jack notes, “are walking out into the marketplace equipped with skills that make them very productive right away in high-demand jobs that they really enjoy.” That was always the ultimate motivation for Ann and Jack, who likes to say the students have been the “highlight of our twilight.” “Not by design, Ann and I never had children,” he explains. “So being able to help guide young people and see them mature and develop as professionals and as people… It’s not like raising them from birth. But it’s a big deal.” A living legacy They’ve certainly given more than they got. And they keep giving. Jack and Ann dedicated the past 20 years to creating a life-changing positive feedback loop at the UW, a contribution so profound that it inspired the UW Board of Regents in October to officially name the Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program. Now they have created an endowment to secure its perpetuity at the Foster School. “Jack and Ann built an incredible pathway,” says Steven Hatting. “And now their generosity will help ensure the program’s impact for generations to come.” Sadly, Ann passed away in 2015. And though Jack turned over day-to-day management to capable new director Barry Erickson (BA 1986) this year, he continues to pour his wisdom and energy and stories and lessons and relationships into the program. The network is vast and getting vaster, reinforced by each year’s graduating class—now 1,500-plus alumni—who have leveraged their best-in-class professional sales training into a spectacular array of careers, and feel inspired to repay the personal connections they received while they were students in the program at Foster. To stay in touch. To get involved. To give back. That’s perhaps the greatest legacy of all. “I keep coming back to the UW and Foster—and I plan on doing so for the rest of my life—because of the example that Jack and Ann Rhodes set,” says former Sales Club president Alex Kremer (BA 2014), now a sales team manager at Outreach. “They represent what it means to be a Husky.” “I don’t think you’ll find two finer human beings—who care deeply about people and the impact they’re making—than Jack and Ann Rhodes,” adds Pat Chestnut. “They built something to last, and that’s a rare thing these days.” n

Have Jack and Ann Rhodes impacted your life and career? You can contribute to the Jack and Ann Rhodes Sales Program Fund online at giving.uw.edu/Rhodes or by calling Sean Moore at 206-616-3860.

WINTER 2020 | 17


For these Foster alumni aviators, flying airplanes— of every kind—is a passion like no other by ED KROMER

Some dreamed of flying from earliest memory. Others were romanced by transcontinental travel, a magical airshow or the thrum of seaplanes alighting like mallards on lakes near their homes. Some just had aviation in the blood— or got it on the brain, an absorbing challenge requiring ultimate focus. Whatever it was that inspired them to become pilots, there’s a veritable air force of Foster grads who fly. Here are portraits of a few alumni aviators who fly for business, for pleasure, for heritage, for duty, for freedom, for escape, for adventure—for the boundless love of flight itself.


Bill Ayer (MBA 1978) led the dramatic ascent of Alaska Airlines from regional to international carrier. So it should come as no surprise that the former CEO is also an avid pilot in his own right. Has been nearly his entire life. Ayer was just 11 when his father began teaching him about flying. He soloed at 16 and worked his way through college at the airport. And after earning his MBA at the UW, he fused interests in business and aviation into a sales job at Piper Aircraft, then a “micro-airline” he founded in Olympia, then a long and accomplished career at Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines. All the while, Ayer has flown on the side, providing a perspective-changing release from day-to-day business concerns. He’s logged more than 5,000 flight hours to date, making frequent trips around the Northwest and venturing as far Piper Malibu as Alaska and Mexico. When he’s not teaching at the Foster School, he flies medical patients from remote locales via Angel Flight, and serves on the boards of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the National Business Aviation Association, and the Museum of Flight. His plane of choice? A meticulously maintained 1984 Piper Malibu that he inherited from his dad. “Every airplane is a compromise,” Ayer says. “But this Malibu really fits my mission. It’s not the best at any one thing, but it does a lot really well.”

BILL AYER

Vera Martinovich (MBA 2018) loves to fly so much that she actually lives on an airstrip. She and her husband, who married at the Oshkosh airshow under a P-51 Mustang flyover, own a small squadron of planes, including a Cessna 150, a Cessna 185 Skywagon (on floats), a Beechcraft Bonanza, a Beechcraft Baron and a share of a Christen Eagle. After Hodgkin’s Lymphoma derailed her childhood dreams of becoming a military pilot, Douglas DC-3 Martinovich instead studied engineering and forged a fine career managing design of next-generation aircraft at Boeing. But flying is her passion, especially aerobatic maneuvers like rolls and stalls. And though military missions eluded her, today Martinovich captains two classic WWII-era aircraft for Mukilteo’s Historic Flight Foundation: the DC-3, which did heavy service carrying troops and supplies, and the B-25 Mitchell bomber, which was instrumental to the legendary Doolittle Raid. “I think about the boys who flew these,” she says. “They were 19, 20 year-olds with maybe a couple hundred hours under their belts and getting shot at.” Not that flying a 75-year-old warplane is lacking in risk, even over peaceful skies. And all this despite one surprising fact: “I’m afraid of heights,” Martinovich admits, with a laugh.

VERA MARTINOVICH


John Nils Nordstrom (BA 1959) grew up entranced by the seaplanes he watched from his childhood home on the shore of Lake Washington. But he didn’t reach the cockpit until he was 53 and beginning to imagine his retirement from the generation of co-leadership that turned Nordstrom into a nationwide brand that defined the gold standard in customer service. Nordstrom was visiting Kenmore Air one day when the owner showed him an old wreck of a de Havilland Beaver he was refurbishing. “That’s the plane I always dreamed of flying,” he says. “And there it was, right in front of me.” He bought it, earned his pilot’s license and multiple ratings, and bought another. His de Havilland Beaver Beavers have opened a world of adventure all over the American west. And they’ve led to a famous friendship with fellow Beaver fan Harrison Ford, who met Nordstrom while scouting a plane to co-star in his 1998 bush-pilot feature, “Six Days, Seven Nights.” Both adore the Beaver, which Nordstrom describes as the “Model T” of airplanes, with a top speed (with floats) of around 100 knots. “If you’re flying above I-5 into a headwind,” he says, “sometimes the cars are passing you.” But speed is not his game. “An instrument pilot is trying to get someplace as fast as they can,” he says. “I’m not trying to get there as fast as I can because I’m having too much fun.”

JOHN NILS NORDSTROM

Kenneth Gorelick (BA 1978)—better known across the planet as Kenny G, one of the best-selling recording artists of all time— has “Beaver fever.” Seriously. Gorelick, a native Seattleite, learned to fly in Southern California and has logged more than 3,500 flight hours since earning his license in 1989. When he bought a property on Lake Washington in the early ’90s, he thought it would be amazing to fly a seaplane right off his dock. He soon acquired the plane of his dreams: a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver on amphibious floats. It has proved a treasured source of relaxation and a great escape from international de Havilland Beaver fame. “Being in command of an airplane is the ultimate,” Gorelick says. “I can decide to fly pretty much anywhere I want. Turn in any direction, check out this area, that area. And there are so many small airports around the US that there are limitless experiences.” He flies the Beaver from coast to coast each summer, exploring the archipelago of lakes along the way: “It’s a wonderful trip that I’ve shared with my two sons and it’s always an adventure as one never knows how far the winds will take you. It’s truly a pioneer experience.”

KENNY G

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Izumi Hoehn (MBA 2018) flew to Japan each year of her childhood to visit relatives. After one trip she told her father that she wanted to be a flight attendant someday. “Why not a pilot?” he asked. “Girls can’t be pilots,” she replied. Northrop Grumman He laughed. “Sure they can!” EA-6B Prowler “So, I ended up being a pilot,” Hoehn says. Not just any pilot: a U.S. Navy aviator. She received a commission at 26 with some experience in the cockpit, drawing the call sign “Cougar” from the slightly younger—and far less mature—guys in her flight school class. And it was all guys. “There was an added pressure,” Hoehn says. “I felt like I was representing the female population. That if I did anything terrible or amazing, it would reflect on my entire gender.” At flight school, she did everything amazingly. And she earned the captain’s seat of the EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler, high-performance warplanes with electronic attack and jamming capabilities, based out of NAS Whidbey Island. During a couple of combat tours aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, Hoehn became so adept at the nerve-jangling craft of takeoff and landing on a carrier deck that she later taught it in flight school. Now a civilian armed with a Foster MBA, Hoehn works as an internal consultant in the Secret Service. “I’m a pencil pusher now,” she laughs. “I fly a desk.”

In his 10,000+ hours piloting charters for Clay Lacy Gulfstream 5 Aviation, Brian Kirkdoffer (BA 1989) has visited 126 countries, circumnavigated the globe many times over, and flown a who’s who of powerful politicians, famous celebrities and corporate titans. Not that he’s naming names. Call it “the captain’s code.” But Kirkdoffer does allow that a captive audience of A-listers flying far above the demands of public life makes for some very personal conversations. “One of the most spectacular things about this industry is getting an intimate look at some very interesting people,” he says. “It’s a unique relationship. Most people—no matter who they are—want to talk to the pilot.” He certainly did when he was a 14-year-old kid taking flying lessons from Clay Lacy, the legendary father of charter aviation. Lacy recruited his old student out of the UW to manage business development. To sweeten the offer, he also trained him to pilot his company’s Learjets and Gulfstreams. Kirkdoffer flew constantly his first 20 years with Clay Lacy. The past 10 years, he has captained the company to dramatic growth and transformation into an aviation asset management firm. “I’m one of those very fortunate people who rolled three of my passions—travel, flying and business—into a career,” he says. Having just bought a shoreline home with his family in the Seattle area, he’s thinking a seaplane might be fun, too.

BRIAN KIRKDOFFER

Mike Baker of MBaker Photographic

IZUMI HOEHN

WINTER 2020 | 21


Wayne Perry (BA 1972) was president of McCaw Cellular Communications, the pioneering mobile telecom, when he began taking flying lessons on rented planes. After buying a Cessna 182, he was hooked. He upgraded to his first business jet after 9/11 and has never regretted the decision. “It’s the one perk that you’ll never give up,” he says. “There is nothing that changes your life like being able to leave when you want to leave and arrive when you want to arrive.” For the past decade Perry has flown a Dassault Falcon, a 10-passenger jet with a range of 4,000 miles. It’s taken him all over the world, and equipped him with a colorful collection of aviation tales. Like the time he landed in Quito, Ecuador, over an airliner that had slid into a ditch, or the helicopter crash he witnessed while taking off from Boeing Field, or when air traffic in Abu Dhabi was cleared for him to deliver the King of Sweden—a bona fide VIP—to a World Scout Foundation meeting. Perry, a past chairman of that organization, has logged more than 5,000 hours flying and spends nearly a month each year in training to handle any emergency. “There’s an adage that there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old bold pilots,” he says. “I’ve gotten even more conservative over the years.” What is it they say in the Scouts? Dassault Falcon Be prepared.

WAYNE PERRY

When Alison Faddis (MBA 2015) graduated from college, all of her friends headed to business or law school. “I didn’t know what to do with my life,” she says. “So I decided to take flying lessons.” It wasn’t a stretch. As a kid, Faddis had attended airshows with her grandfather, a WWII pilot. She trained on a Cessna 152, then made her bones flying on-demand commercial and cargo for Salmon Air, a micro-carrier serving the largest roadless wilderness outside of Alaska. In 2000 she earned her wings at Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group. Over the next 18 years, she flew customers in the Bombardier Dash-8-400 and Embraer 175. After growing into management in flight operations and standards, Faddis enrolled in Foster’s Executive MBA Program. Embraer 175 “One thing I learned at Foster,” she says, “is that good leadership skills are transferrable.” She put this lesson to the test earlier this year when she left a rewarding career at Alaska to become the director of flight operations at Insitu, the Boeing-owned producer of unmanned aviation vehicles and surveillance systems. In the new year, Faddis will train to pilot—from the ground—this next-generation aircraft. But her days inside the cockpit are hardly over. Faddis, a board member of Angel Flight, is in the market for a plane.

ALISON FADDIS

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It wouldn’t be quite accurate to call Charlie Hogan (BA 1959) a “collector” of airplanes. Serial hobbyist? Maybe. Lifelong aviation fanatic? Absolutely. Since learning to fly just before entering the UW in the late 1950s, Hogan has piloted an eclectic assortment of airplanes. There was a Cessna 140 and 170. A Beechcraft Bonanza, Baron and King Air. A T-28 Trojan military trainer. A Grumman Albatross, a Republic Seabee and a de Havilland Beaver on floats. An open-cockpit Waco Biplane (his all-time favorite). A series of Cessna Citation business jets. Some were practical for his Beechcraft T-34 Mentor business developing commercial real estate. Others were pure joy on wings. “I’ve always wanted to have one that’s just fun to fly,” Hogan says. Aviation has afforded him a lifetime of great memories. He recalls flying with friends to a remote fishing camp in Baja, Mexico in the 1970s, before any roads led there. He piloted his Bonanza to join the Civil Air Patrol’s search-and-rescue the day after Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980. And his treasured family trips up and down the west coast of North America have been too numerous to count. He also loves attending the annual Oshkosh AirVenture airshow. In fact, Oshkosh is where he found his latest and greatest pair of wings: Albatross a restored T-34 Mentor that trained Air Force pilots in the 1950s. It makes a fun complement to his more efficient and functional Piper Meridian. Whatever he’s flying, Hogan is patently passionate about aviation. “I guess it just gets in your blood,” he says. “It’s a lot of work. You never Citation stop learning and no two trips King Air are the same. But it’s incredibly rewarding. I just love it.” What does it feel like to pilot an airplane? “It’s a little like reading a really good book,” says Hogan. “You know how you get so involved in it that you can hardly put it down and you feel like you’ve been transported into the story? Flying gives you that sensation, a feeling of ultimate freedom. I’ve been very fortunate to get to do it.” His fellow Foster alumni aviators would say the same. ©istock.com geirge tsartsianidis

CHARLIE HOGAN

Waco

Are you a pilot? Please let us know why and what you fly (and send a photo) to bizmag@uw.edu. We’ll add you to the story on the Foster blog—in formation with Dean Frank Hodge, who flew “puddle jumpers” early in his career.

WINTER 2020 | 23


FACULTY RESEARCH BRIEFS

WHEN FEEDBACK BACKFIRES

TOO MUCH INFORMATION?

MINORITY OPINION

Instant feedback, in some cases, can worsen performance

In peer-to-peer marketplace lending, knowledge may not be king

In these data-driven times, we increasingly believe that feedback is the secret to any success. Tell us what we’re doing right or wrong, and we’ll be able to improve. But it turns out that we humans are not always so good at making corrections based on feedback, no matter how compelling the data. That’s the upshot of new research by Masha Shunko, an assistant professor of operations management at Foster. Dr. Shunko and her co-authors analyzed the records of drivers who allowed a cellphone app to monitor and rate their performance in hopes of getting a “good driver” insurance discount. Drivers who were given the opportunity to review the rating of their last trip actually performed 13 percent worse on their next drive, compared to those who had no access to prior performance reports. And those who reviewed prior ratings drove more dangerously. They tended to speed, accelerate too quickly and break harshly. In other words, the feedback backfired. Why? Dr. Shunko explains that our tendency to overestimate our abilities can lead us to ignore negative feedback, while positive feedback reinforces an “optimism bias” that can result in riskier behaviors and reduced effort. “How hard are you going to study for the fourth quiz,” she says, “after receiving an A on the first three?” n

When it comes to peer-to-peer lending, what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. More specifically, when a marketplace lending platform like LendingClub or Prosper makes more detailed information available to lenders, sophisticated investors often benefit, unsophisticated investors are often disadvantaged, and the platform as a whole may suffer. This according a new study by Yao Zeng, an assistant professor of finance at Foster, of this new lending paradigm that connects loan applicants directly to potential investors. If a marketplace lending platform is filled only with sophisticated investors, the quality of loans will be high but the volume low. If it’s filled only with unsophisticated investors, then the volume of loans will be high but the quality low. Having both classes of investors in the marketplace is crucial to a platform’s success. Zeng says that means limiting information. This neutralizes the advantage of sophisticated investors to process information more quickly, an advantage that would drive away less sophisticated investors. “There’s an optimal point at which we must think about how much information the platform should provide to investors,” he says. n

Enacting a ‘token’ woman’s ideas helps male teams solve complex problems more effectively

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Women who break into traditional male bastions—engineering teams, construction crews, tech startups, trading rooms, corporate boards, combat units—sometimes get tagged with the pejorative “token,” suggesting that their inclusion had more to do with optics than aptitude. But what happens when a woman’s ideas are actually heard and enacted by her all-male teammates? Complex tasks get performed more effectively, according to a study co-authored by Crystal Farh, an associate professor of management and Michael G. Foster Endowed Fellow. Farh’s observations of all-male military tactical teams reveal that adding a woman consistently leads to more expedient solutions of complex problems requiring collective creative thinking—if the team acts on her ideas. “Merely having a female on a team does not distinguish her team’s performance from that of all-male teams,” Farh says. “Rather, this woman has to speak up and, more importantly, her suggestions have to be heard and enacted.” This is more likely to happen when team leaders believe that women are as capable of contributing as their male counterparts. Farh notes, however, that enacting a newcomer’s ideas actually slows progress on straightforward team tasks. n


©istock.com ilyast, Lislud, runeer, yuoak, pressureUA, Tera Vector

OUTSIZED INFLUENCE

WHY WE UPGRADE

SHARING AND CARING

Common personality traits amplify leaders’ ideological influence on their organizations

Decision to upgrade products is tied to self-improvement, self-esteem

Mindfulness meditation—even in small doses—increases generosity and compassion

Narcissism and extraversion can magnify a CEO’s ideological influence over an organization. That’s the conclusion of research by Abhinav Gupta, an assistant professor of strategic management and Michael G. Foster Endowed Fellow. Gupta finds that firms led by narcissistic or extraverted CEOs whose politics lean liberal are more likely to exhibit strategic behaviors associated with liberal values, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR). On the flip side, firms led by extraverted CEOs who lean politically conservative tend to exhibit more strategic behaviors associated with conservatism, such as downsizing. “In general,” Gupta says, “we find that CEOs who hold exaggerated perceptions of their influence (narcissists) or are able to effectively sell their choices to others (extraverts) enjoy greater latitude in infusing firm strategies with their preferences than CEOs who lack those qualities.” In other words, extraverts are good at selling their views. Narcissists believe they know best. And CEOs who possess one or both of these traits possess magnified ability to shape firm strategy around their personal beliefs. n

“New and improved” may have been the mantra of a bygone era in consumer marketing. But never before have product upgrades come as fast and frequent as they do today. Why do we go for upgraded cars and athletic shoes and televisions and mobile devices when what we have still works fine? A new study by Mark Forehand, a professor of marketing at Foster, indicates that our willingness to pay for product upgrades is tied to the extent to which we see improvement in ourselves. When we feel that we are advancing in some way, we’re more likely to see a product’s enhancements and more willing to fork over money to acquire them—especially when we identify strongly with the brand. “Regardless of how much a product has actually improved, it’s the subjective perception of improvement that truly matters,” says Forehand, the Pigott Family Professor in Business Administration at Foster. “Our research suggests that consumers’ own sense of self-improvement is one factor that can increase perceptions of product improvement and subsequently heighten the desire to upgrade.” The study also revealed, perhaps not surprisingly, that we are especially vulnerable to the seductions of upgrades when we are in need of some self-esteem. n

Interested in reading more about Foster research? Visit foster.uw.edu/research-briefs

Mindfulness meditation has hit the mainstream. Countless workplaces are getting in on the trend, offering directed mindfulness programs to help their employees alleviate anxiety, reduce stress, regulate emotions and improve focus. It turns out that those reflective sessions have a social benefit, too. Mindfulness meditation also makes people more generous, helpful and compassionate, according to a new study by Andrew Hafenbrack, an assistant professor of management at Foster. His study of workers in North America, Europe and Asia indicates that even a single, brief session of mindfulness meditation—an exercise usually practiced for one’s internal welfare—results in more positive social behaviors. “In today’s demanding and uncertain job environment, kindness and positive relationships are more important than ever in organizations,” says Hafenbrack. “Our study finds that as little as one session of mindfulness practice enhances pro-social behaviors, and those behaviors are likely to improve the work lives of not only those who practice meditation, but also their colleagues and customers.” n

WINTER 2020 | 25


FACULTY

CLASS OF 2019 UW Foster School adds eight exceptional faculty members Business education is booming at the Foster School, which welcomes eight new members to its expanding faculty. Each brings a wealth of expertise and accomplishment—and even greater promise—to Foster this year. Here’s a brief look at the faculty class of 2019. Lalit Jain Assistant Professor of Marketing and International Business Earned his PhD in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin • research scientist in the UW’s Allen School of Computer Science since 2018 • co-founded Seventh Harmonic LLC • expert at building machine learning and adaptive collection algorithms and systems with humans in the loop • fun fact: favorite company is Indian Trunk Sale, his mom’s clothing shop in Knoxville, TN.

Andrew Hafenbrack, Alicia DeSantola, Ties de Kok, Lukas Kremens, Mingwen Yang, Lalit Jain and Brian Gale. Not pictured is Russell Walker.

Ties de Kok Assistant Professor of Accounting Recently earned his PhD at Tilburg University • nominated for Best Doctoral Dissertation at Tilburg • spent 2018 as a visiting scholar at the Foster School • studies financial accounting, capital market research, management accounting, natural language processing and computer science • fun fact: is a proficient 3D modeler. Alicia DeSantola Assistant Professor of Management and Organization Recently earned her PhD in organizational behavior at Harvard University • studies new venture development, entrepreneurial teams, technology and innovation strategy and venture capital • won a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching at Harvard and a Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship for her work in entrepreneurship • fun fact: is a multi-linguist who has studied Spanish, French, Latin and Greek… so far.

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Brian Gale Assistant Professor of Accounting Recently earned his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • previously earned his JD from the University of Chicago Law School where he was editor of the Chicago Law Review • studies judgment and decision making, accounting regulation, information processing and investors’ use of financial reporting • winner of the Figge Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award at Illinois • fun fact: has visited the lowest and highest points in the Lower 48 in the same day. Andrew Hafenbrack Assistant Professor of Management and Organization Earned his PhD from INSEAD • joins Foster from the Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics • earned Best Teacher Award at CLSBE • studies mindfulness and performance, multicultural experiences, decision making, and social identity • mindfulness research has received widespread media coverage • won Best Paper Awards from Academy of Management and European AOM • named to Poets & Quants “40 Best Business School Professors Under 40” • fun fact: studied opera for many years.

Lukas Kremens Assistant Professor of Finance Recently earned his PhD at the London School of Economics • previously worked as an investment banking analyst at Rothschild • studies international asset pricing, macro finance, and financial intermediation • two-time winner of the Class Teacher Award at LSE • won best paper awards from the Swiss Society for Financial Markets and the Annual Conference in International Finance • fun fact: passionate soccer (a.k.a. football) player and fan of Borussia Mönchengladbach. Russell Walker Senior Lecturer of Marketing Earned his PhD from Cornell University • joins Foster from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management • at Kellogg, served as clinical professor of managerial economics and decision sciences, and associate director of the Zell Center for Risk Research • won 2011 Kellogg Impact Award • studies analytics, big data, digital strategies, data monetization, sports analytics, risk management, data-driven marketing, decision sciences and international business strategy • author of three books on big data and risk management • fun fact: is an avid horticulturist. Mingwen Yang Assistant Professor of Information Systems Recently earned her PhD from UT-Dallas • studies fintech, online reputation management, cloud computing security and business intelligence and analytics • runner-up for Best Paper in the 2018 INFORMS E-Business Cluster • fun fact: has a good sense of direction and enjoys orienting by map. n


HONOR ROLL Foster faculty recognized for outstanding achievements in 2019 Elizabeth Umphress, an associate professor of management and Evert McCabe Endowed Fellow, was appointed as the UW’s representative to the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s new Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment. She also was named associate editor of the Academy of Management Journal.

“On the Brink,” that chronicles efforts to preserve the soul of Seattle’s Central District, has screened across the USA.

Bruce Avolio, a professor of management and the Mark Pigott Chair in Business Strategic Leadership, was named the #2 most influential researcher of all time in leadership and #3 in organizational behavior by studies in Leadership Quarterly and Academy of Management Learning and Education.

Shi Chen, an assistant professor of operations management, received the Meritorious Service Award from the journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

Robert Palmatier, a professor of marketing and the John C. Narver Endowed Professor in Business Administration, received the Mahajan Award for Lifetime Contributions to Marketing Strategy, the Louis W. Stern Award for long-term contribution to distribution channels, and the Davidson Award for the best paper in the Journal of Retailing. He also was named editor of the Journal of Marketing. Xiao-Ping Chen, a professor of management and the Philip M. Condit Endowed Chair in Business Administration, received the 2019 Scholarly Impact Award from SAGE Publishing for the long-term impact of her 2013 Journal of Management paper investigating the link between paternalistic leadership and employee performance. Chris Barnes, an associate professor of management and Evert McCabe Endowed Fellow, was named “Professor of the Week” by Poets & Quants and earned editorial appointments at five academic journals: Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Sleep Health. Jeff Shulman, the Marion B. Ingersoll Professor of Marketing and creator of the award-winning Seattle Growth Podcast, was named associate editor of Management Science. His debut documentary film,

Kamran Moinzadeh, the Michael G. Foster Professor of Supply Chain Management, was appointed to the Supply Chain Thought Leader Roundtable, a body of leading minds in the discipline. Elizabeth Umphress

Kamran Moinzadeh

Scott Reynolds, a professor of business ethics and Weyerhaeuser Endowed Faculty Fellow, was awarded the honor of “Master Teacher” of ethics by the Wheatley Institution at BYU. Emily Cox Pahnke, an associate professor of management and the Lawrence P. Hughes Faculty Fellow in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was the recipient of a Schulze Distinguished Professorship Grant and was elected representative-at-large to the Strategy Division of the Academy of Management. Abhinav Gupta, an assistant professor of strategic management and Michael G. Foster Endowed Fellow, was named an Ascendant Scholar by the Western Academy of Management for his exemplary early-career record of research, teaching and service. Tom Lee, the Hughes M. Blake Endowed Professor of Management, won the Excellence in Reviewing Award from Human Resources Management Review. Elijah Wee, an assistant professor of management, received the Williams A. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). The Department of Finance and Business Economics was ranked #11 in the world for research impact in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Xiao-Ping Chen

Emily Cox Pahnke Abhinav Gupta

The Department of Accounting was ranked #5 in the world for financial accounting research and #15 overall in this year’s Accounting Rankings compiled by BYU. The Department of Management and Organization was ranked #2 most productive in the nation over the past five years in the most recent Management Department Productivity Ranking. The Foster faculty was ranked #7 in the world for research productivity in Financial Times 2019 Global MBA Rankings, and #3 for teaching in the Economist Which MBA 2019 index. n

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FACULTY

CRYSTAL ROCKS! Farh wins the 2019 PACCAR Award for Excellence in Teaching Crystal Farh, an associate professor of management and Michael G. Foster Endowed Fellow, won the 2019 PACCAR Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Foster School’s highest teaching honor was established in 1998 by PACCAR Inc, the Fortune 200 global technology company based in Bellevue, Washington. The PACCAR Award’s annual recipient is selected by a panel of Foster MBA students. Since joining Foster in 2015, Farh has distinguished herself as one of the school’s most dynamic and impactful educators. She teaches both the MBA core course in Management and Leadership (MGMT 500) and an MBA elective on Leading and Managing High-Performance Organizations (MGMT 545). Her students describe her as “motivating,” “engaging” and “nurturing.” They call her an “incredible communicator” who is “enthusiastic” and “passionate.” “Crystal has mastered how to teach the most important and difficult of skills: organizational leadership,” wrote one MBA student in nominating Farh for the award. “And she brings joy to her classes while doing it.” “Crystal is so skilled at combining research, activities and out-of-class reflection,” commented another of her MBAs. “She has supported the development of each member of the class of 2019 by helping us envision our personal leadership strengths and where we can improve.” Another summed her up simply: “Crystal rocks!” n

KIRA CARES! Schabram receives a 2019 UW Distinguished Teaching Award Kira Schabram, an assistant professor of management at the Foster School, received the 2019 UW Distinguished Teaching Award. She is the 13th Foster faculty member to receive the UW’s highest teaching honor. Schabram joined Foster in 2016 and made an immediate impression in the classroom. She earns rave reviews teaching Leadership and Organizational Behavior to Foster undergraduate students (she’s added MBAs this year as well). Students describe her as “caring,” “inspirational,” “transformational.” Colleagues call her “energizing,” “committed to inclusion,” and a “superstar instructor.” It might be because she views teaching as more than just the transfer of knowledge. “My philosophy is informed by my research on positive organizational scholarship, which is about human potential, virtue and thriving,” she says. So, coursework is geared toward individual discovery, of uncovering powerful career matches. She focuses content on how it can be applied—in work and in life. And she makes a lecture course feel intimate, through mentorship and advocacy. She exposes students to different forms of work that might suit them, prepares them to critically analyze their career plans, and offers personal and customized insights and skills. The added value does not go unnoticed. “Kira is the definition of what a transformational leader is and should be,” wrote Kyle Philley (BA 2019) and Madison Oraivei (BA 2019). “And her positive influence is one that we hope we can live up to one day when we are in our own professions.” n

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ALUMNI

A HELPING HAND Vanessa Brewster Laughlin’s advisory firm helps families navigate the worst times in life

Finding inspiration in loss To understand Brewster Laughlin’s business, one needs to understand the loss of a loved one. In 2014, her father-in-law, Jay Banister Laughlin, received an unexpected diagnosis of a rare, stage-four cancer. It was followed by a whirlwind of treatments, clinical trials, decline and, ultimately, his death in the spring of 2016. “What I’m trying to do, at the heart of all of this, is create the service that our family needed over those years,” says Brewster Laughlin. “I have a strong moral sense that the way that we handle grief in our society could be improved, that the cultural scripts for grief are not serving us in the ways that they should. We can do better.” Creating a new category Thus, Banister Advisors was born and the conversations that her business card prompt point to the need. “A lot of people listen intently as I describe our services, then tell me incredible stories of their own challenges and loss,” says Brewster Laughlin. She now leads a team of ten, offering “lifespan navigation” services including managing medical treatment options and end-of-life transitions, planning funerary events, personalized bereavement support for individuals and groups, estate processing and transition project management, and future mapping for survivors. In doing so, Brewster Laughlin has essentially created a new category of professional services. Her conversations with the Washington State Department of Revenue, the City of Seattle business

Photo by Jennifer Boyle Photography

“I hope you don’t need to use this,” is what Vanessa Brewster Laughlin (MBA 2007) often says when handing out her business card at networking events. The response from those on the receiving end of a Banister Advisors card? “A lot of them pause for a moment and then say, ‘Whoa, what is this?’ ”

license office and others have all led to Banister Advisors being placed in the ‘other’ category. “They simply have never encountered a business that does what we do,” she says. My DNA made me do it Seizing an opportunity is nothing new for Brewster Laughlin. “I was that kid who caught the entrepreneurship bug fairly early in my life, inspired in large part by my mother’s business as a seamstress and my father’s private practice on Whidbey Island,” she says. “I agree with people that refer to entrepreneurialism as a genetic defect!” In middle school, Brewster Laughlin used the sewing skills she learned from her mom to create and sell items ranging from bags to prom dresses. By the time she left her dorm room at Tufts with a BA in economics, she had officially launched a multi-channel fashion business. After growing it into a profitable venture, she shut it down in 2005 to get her MBA. She followed an internship at Starbucks with a seven-year stint at the coffee giant before joining the Camber Collective in

2013. The consulting firm’s 13th employee, she embraced the opportunity to work for the social impact practice until her fatherin-law’s death led to her current charge. The time is right Looking at population data, Brewster Laughlin’s new startup is timely. According to the US Census Bureau, there were 40.3 million people age 65 and older in 2010, a number expected to increase to 88.5 million—or 20 percent of the population—in 2050. In 2018, the National Institutes of Health estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer being diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people dying from the disease. Fueled by the inspiration of the fatherin-law who devoted much of his life to aiding others—as Buddhist lay minister, community volunteer with the Seattle Police Department, MSW social worker and pro bono therapist—Brewster Laughlin is ready to help. n

– Andrew Krueger

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ALUMNI

DJ BRAND EXEC Koki Yamashita knows his audience, spins the right mix

Photo by Ayako Yamashita

Found his way to Foster Yamashita was raised in Japan, where he studied international relations as an undergrad. A post with the Japanese consulate in Atlanta brought him to the US in his early 20s. “I led a lot of tours for Japanese visitors,” says Yamashita. “I went to the CNN building many, many times.” As he began to look toward the future, the MBA program at UW appealed to him. “I knew an MBA would broaden my options,” he says. “I’m thinking, here’s this great school right in this interesting city”—not to mention the peak grunge-music scene. Yamashita admits that he felt out of his depth in some of the first-year core classes, like finance. “I was always more of an arts guy,” he says. Of course, this is a person who taught himself to DJ by watching instructive VHS tapes that he got from a local record store. “There was no YouTube then!” says Yamashita.

“It’s the same Ikea bookshelf that everyone has,” jokes Koki Yamashita (MBA 2000), pointing to the ubiquitous white cubed storage unit in his home office in Tokyo. But his bookshelf is more interesting than average—it holds stacks and stacks of vinyl records. “Oh, those,” says Koki over Skype interview. “Back in the 1990s in Atlanta, I used to DJ. It was the ‘So So Def’ era, but I also liked house music. And acid jazz!” It’s not what you might expect from Japan-born Yamashita (MBA 2000), whose corporate advertising resume sparkles with pedigree: Nearly a decade with advertising giant TBWA\Chiat\Day, where he was the account director for Apple. Leadership roles in Los Angeles and Tokyo. And now, a post as the group manager of content excellence at Coca-Cola, where he’s focused on its brand communication, including the sponsorship of the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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In marketing, a match It was Elizabeth Stearns’ marketing class at Foster that really sparked Yamashita’s interest, and from there he started to consider a career in advertising. He remembers when Stearns invited an ad exec to class, an instant connection who ended up helping Yamashita get his first post-grad job at TBWA\Chiat\Day in LA. It wasn’t the traditional path at the time. While many of his peers were pursuing investment banking and consulting, advertising seemed like more of a gamble. Stearns proved to be an instrumental

mentor as Yamashita evaluated his options. He recalls her insight—that when she listened to him talk about taking the advertising job, his whole face lit up. That passion, she advised, would serve him well. Looking back, Yamashita is grateful for that guidance. His eyes still light up when he talks about his work, an impressive career where he was the director for the Apple account during the “Think Different” campaign, not to mention the rollouts of the iPod, iTunes and the iPhone. “It’s true what they say! Steve Jobs demanded complete and absolute attention to detail,” says Yamashita of his days working with Apple’s senior leadership team. That’s another life experience he’s grateful for: those steep expectations. “It absolutely pushes you to get better and better at what you do,” he says. Now at Coca-Cola, he is thrilled to be managing its brand communication and sponsorship of the upcoming Olympics in his home country, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and beyond. A thoughtful mix The stewards of iconic brands are not in an easy position. They have to deliver cuttingedge creativity, but they have to consider return on investment. To their audience, they have to be familiar but surprising. In that working environment, Yamashita says, everyone is encouraged to bring their eclectic interests and passions to the table. It’s a business that depends on collective wisdom. Yamashita is a guy with plenty of interests, that’s for certain. But the real magic comes in finding the right avenue or moment to share those passions, another dimension Yamashita is clearly getting right. He knows his audience. You know, like a really great DJ. n

– Carolyn Marsh


NEW MEDIA MAVEN “I’ve learned so many lessons,” Krista Moatz (BA 2000) says of her more than 13 years at POPSUGAR. In that time, Moatz and a team of five other co-founders have turned Lisa Sugar’s personal blog into a global media and technology company that boasts 300 million readers every month. “There’s a thrill to working on something from the beginning,” she says. “Every day there was a new challenge.” Moatz moved to San Francisco in 2000, right after graduating from the Foster School. She worked as an investment banker before taking an accounting role with the computer software startup Sugar Media, owned by Brian Sugar. When Sugar Media sold, Moatz went back to investment banking. In 2006, Brian invited her to join the founding team of a new venture: POPSUGAR. Five years into her career in investment banking, Moatz decided to take the leap into a new opportunity. Managing growth Moatz told Brian Sugar she would join the founding team, but she wanted to do what the company does, take on more than finance. “So that’s when he pitched the role of managing editor. I was like, ‘I have no idea how to do it, but it sounds interesting and I can figure it out,’” she says with a laugh. “Being an investment banker, I got to work with a lot of CEOs and CFOs, but I never got to be involved in running the business.” She and the rest of the founding team quit their other jobs and started raising funding and building POPSUGAR. As managing editor, Moatz worked alongside Lisa Sugar to really build out the website content and operations. “The uncertainty of it was hard. Also, it’s a lot of work. We did work 24/7, but it was because we wanted to. That part was hard, but it was also fun,” Moatz says.

Culture czar Nine years later, Moatz moved into a new role at POPSUGAR. As the EVP of culture and corporate citizenship, she is responsible for making sure everything the company does— from HR policies to product launches to partnerships—lines up with POPSUGAR’s culture and company values. “I’m like the culture watchdog, making sure we are always staying true to who we are and what we do,” she says. That includes an initiative to recruit more women in the engineering department. While nearly 90 percent of the company’s employees are women, including more than 60 percent of its VPs and above, women were far less represented in engineering. Moatz says the effort to recruit woman engineers is ongoing. Programming is now in place to not only recruit engineers, but also to develop the ones that already work at POPSUGAR. Growth opportunities for employees include dinners, mentoring programs and speaking opportunities. “It goes back to our values and the culture we’re trying to create,” Moatz says. “Our company is about creating content and a brand that inspires and empowers women.”

POPSUGAR Photography/Kyle Hartman

Krista Moatz has helped POPSUGAR grow from a personal blog into a global media giant

That means the introduction of a clothing line, a line of beauty products and a festival in New York that brings POPSUGAR to life. “We want to keep growing in as many ways as we can,” she explains. “We have to stay focused on our core business, but think about our brand in more ways than just content.” Her advice for anyone thinking about taking a similar leap and starting a business? “Just dive in. Don’t worry about trying to get everything lined up, get the business plan perfect. People spend time on things that aren’t the business or product,” she says. “Don’t be afraid. Just jump in and you’ll figure it out.” n – Kristin Anderson

Expanding the brand She’s seen the company from its very beginnings to a huge success that operates out of multiple cities and was recently acquired by Group Nine Media. But Moatz only has her eyes on keeping the POPSUGAR brand growing.

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Max Waugh Photography

THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN HUSKY Life at the University of Washington has come full circle for Barry Erickson (BA 1986), a.k.a. “Captain Husky.” Erickson’s time at the UW started at the age of one, on the shoulders of his father, going to Husky football games in the 1960s. During his undergraduate years at the business school, Captain Husky was born. The ubiquitous superfan, with mask, cape and purple W emblazoned on his muscled chest, roamed the sidelines and stands and fired up the fans for a 25-year run that ended with the remodeling of Husky Stadium in 2011. …Until 2017. That year, Captain Husky swapped the familiar mask and cape for a blazer and joined the Foster School of Business to become a lecturer in marketing and sales and, eventually, director of the Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program. After a distinguished career in sales and strategy at Goodrich, PACCAR, B/E Aerospace and DPS, Erickson succeeded the program’s founding director Jack Rhodes (BA 1961), who turned over the keys this year after nearly 20 at the helm. Today, Erickson’s responsibilities include teaching the core sales courses at Foster, development and facilitation of sales internships with local companies, and providing recruiting opportunities with the program’s 165 students.

Erickson’s life-long commitment to the Purple & Gold is evident in the classroom, where his love and enthusiasm for the Dawgs are infectious. He ends each week’s class with a survey of whom he will see at Husky Stadium (or any UW event) over the weekend. Whether autumn, winter or spring, a hearty “GO DAWGS!” adjourns each class. Of course, Erickson’s UW circle was not quite complete with his joining the Foster School faculty. His daughter Halle is a freshman and son Kelton is a junior at the UW this year. And Kelton, who used to play Captain Husky’s trusty sidekick, Deputy Dawg, now dons his dad’s legendary cape on Montlake Saturdays as Captain Husky 2.0 to lead the traditional second-half, full-throated spelling of H-U-S-K-I-E-S! Not that the original Captain Husky brings any less energy and spirit. It’s just that some of it now gets channeled into the Rhodes Sales Program, which continues its strong trajectory. The program boasts an annual 96 percent student job placement rate and similar rate of return for company hosts and program sponsors awaiting the next class of program grads well prepared to hit the job running. n — Andrew Krueger

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WINTER 2020

Profile for University of Washington Foster School of Business

Foster Business Magazine Winter 2020  

Foster Business Magazine Winter 2020