Giving to Foster since the 1950s never gets old

Family lore has it that Frank Dupar Sr. first arrived in Seattle broke in the early 1900s because a thief got to his money the night before while he was hitching a ride in a boxcar.

He was sitting on the sidewalk near the King Street Station with nowhere to go when a man approached him and asked, “What’s the matter, sonny?” Frank told his story, and the man gave him a dime and an upbeat prognosis: “This town is going to be good to you.”

“What an understatement,” said Adrienne Riley, Dupar’s granddaughter and president of the Dupar Foundation.

After his rough start in Seattle, Riley said in an interview at the Foster School’s 2010 Annual Scholarship Breakfast on Nov. 4, Dupar went on to own a plumbing company and then co-found what became Westin Hotels and Resorts as well as several other iconic and highly successful businesses.

The Dupars made a point of giving back to the community that played such an important role in their lives, contributing to important civic projects like the creation of the Seattle Center so the city could host the 1962 World’s Fair. They also felt strongly about contributing to education.

“Since he only went through the 8th grade, education was really important to him,” Riley said.

The Dupar Foundation was established in Frank Dupar Sr.’s name in 1958 and has been contributing to scholarships at the Foster School nearly since the foundation’s inception, Riley said. And, while she has attended the scholarship breakfast for nearly ten years, she said it never gets old.

“To me it is really meaningful to see kids who have a lot going for them and, because of the scholarship, they are able to attend college and do something with their lives,” she said.

This year the Scholarship Breakfast celebrated 338 Foster students receiving scholarships totaling more than $1.8 million.

Riley said she especially appreciates knowing more about the students who have received the Dupar Foundation’s scholarship. “It’s nice to touch your money,” she said.

“This morning I sat with a young man who, after he graduated college, went into the National Guard and went to Iraq where he was in charge of convoy security missions and now here he is in his first year of the MBA program,” she said. “It is inspiring.”

Female bankers in Indian pay it forward

Guest blog post by Cate Goethals, UW Foster School of Business lecturer

Why do more women hold top banking positions in India than anywhere else in the world—including the US? My students and I went to India in September 2010 to study women’s leadership at all levels of society, including to get an answer this question.

India is a country where women are widely undervalued—a bride is burned every two hours. And where, equally counterintuitive, far fewer women go into banking, so the pool of qualified females is smaller.

Abonty Banerjee, general manager of global operations at Indian bank ICICI
Abonty Banerjee, general manager of global operations at Indian bank ICICI

Our first visit was with top female executives at ICICI Bank in Mumbai, the country’s largest private bank.  ICICI has been the training ground for most of the top women in Indian banking. Why? It grew rapidly beginning with India’s economic reforms in 1991, providing opportunities for women. It also paid less than other banks and so attracted proportionately fewer men than other banks.

“We don’t do anything special for women,” says CEO Chanda Kochhar. “But we are in a way special because we don’t have any biases. When it’s an employee, we go by the merit of the employee. When it’s an entrepreneur, we go by the merit of the entrepreneur.”

Women also work harder even in an organization of hard workers, explains Abonty Banerjee, general manager for ICICI’s global operations. “We work very long hours, typically 12 hours per day, six days per week. That is a function of our population. If you don’t do it, there are so many others to fill the job.” There is no daycare, though relatives often babysit. Women are generally expected to manage households and children regardless of career. “Women succeed because they work harder at home and at work.”

Indian banker Veena Mankar discusses women in leadership with Foster students
Indian banker Veena Mankar discusses women in leadership with Foster students

We also visited with one of ICICI’s prominent alums, Veena Mankar. Veena founded Swahaar (“self-support” in Hindi), a bank and finance organization dedicated to making tiny loans to Mumbai’s urban poor—especially women—and teaching them how to manage money.

Inspired by the plight of her own household help, Veena is determined to make a difference in the lives of poor women. The challenge, she says, is to change their mindsets, to convince them they are as deserving as men and that their daughters as well as sons should be educated. Once they realize this, their girls often go to college, marry later, delay childbearing and have healthier children, thus ensuring a better life for future generations and the community.

This is where it comes full circle. Highly-educated and affluent women in banking use their success to change the context for women at other levels of society. “It’s not just about giving a woman a loan. It’s about giving her a place in society and her family,” explains Veena.

For background and a comparison of women in American vs. Indian banking industry, I recommend these New York Times articles: Female Bankers in India Earn Chances to Rule and Where Are the Women on Wall Street?

Cate Goethals, University of Washington Foster School of Business lecturer and Seattle consultant, leads global business seminars and study trips focused on women and international business. She has taught at the UW Foster School for more than 20 years—including a class called “Women at the Top” that was named one of the 10 most innovative MBA classes in the country by Forbes in 2010.

Academic powerhouse leads PhD Program with heart and mind

Academic powerhouse leads PhD Program with heart and mind

Terry MitchellThere’s not much more for Terry Mitchell to accomplish.

In four decades as a management professor at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, Mitchell has published more than 120 articles in major journals, delivered more than 120 addresses at major professional meetings, contributed more than 40 chapters to edited volumes and published 4 books.

He has authored formative research in leadership, motivation, decision making and employee retention.

A 2008 Journal of Management study named Mitchell among the 35 most influential management scholars in the world. He also received the 2010 Academy of Management Lifetime Achievement Award.

In the twilight of his brilliant career, Mitchell dedicated his stature, experience and passion to developing tomorrow’s business professors in his former role as director of the UW Foster School of Business PhD Program. “Activist director,” amends Tom Lee, associate dean for academic and faculty affairs, with a smile.

“That’s true,” confirms Mitchell, laughing. “When I took the position, I began doing the same thing I do in my research, which is to go out and talk to people—in this case students and faculty on how the program could be improved.”

Lifting the Foster PhD profile

Mitchell turns opinions into action. Since taking the helm five years ago, he’s worked to improve all facets of the PhD Program and lift its standing inside and outside of the Foster School.

The most competitive prospective students are now flown to campus for recruiting. Key entry test scores and language ability standards have been elevated. An enhanced website and new brochure are helping market the program more effectively. “As a result,” Mitchell says, “we’re getting better and better students.”

Foster School doctoral students now benefit from a mentoring program, a 10-week teaching course, a core of dedicated doctoral courses, a mandatory first-year paper, a formal annual progress report and exit interviews upon graduation. “We’ve worked really hard to see that our students get actively involved in teaching and research quickly,” Mitchell says.

To help place doctoral students in the best faculty positions, each is now mandated to present a job talk in front of faculty. The program also aggressively sends students to network and present research at conferences.

Extension of Mitchell’s work-life balance

Through his long-running doctoral course entitled “The Academic Life,” Mitchell has taught hundreds of young people not only how to survive graduate school, but also how to thrive as a professor, a career far removed from the typical business student’s path. “Initially, the lack of structure causes a lot of doctoral students to struggle,” he says. “So we help them learn to structure their time, prioritize.”

Priority management is a key lesson for a professor-in-training. And Mitchell serves as a sterling exemplar. Master of the work-life blend, he has established himself as a successful academic, though never at the expense of a rich personal life. Outside of work he fishes frequently, follows Duke basketball religiously, collects rare sports memorabilia, plays a mean rock-and-roll piano, even delivers cultural lectures on cruise ships (titles include “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Can you count in Mayan?” and “There’s gold in them thar’ hills,” depending on the destination).

A rich legacy of Foster PhD alumni

Mitchell insists on making every last bit of work count while at Foster. In the case of the PhD Program, exponentially. Through his policies as former PhD Program director and his example as a smart, caring mentor, he’s created a rich legacy in the legions of students he has influenced.

“Terry was a magnificent mentor and friend throughout my doctoral program,” says Denise Daniels (PhD 1997), associate dean for undergraduate studies at Seattle Pacific University. “I would not be the scholar or teacher that I am without his input.”

“Through his doctoral courses and now his [former] role directing the program, Terry’s influence reaches beyond the publications and presentations that are easily counted,” says Brooks Holtom (PhD 1999), associate professor and interim associate dean at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “His social capital and immense ability have allowed him to shape education at the Foster School in many ways.”

Adds Will Felps (PhD 2007), an assistant professor at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, “Terry’s guidance and support has been critical to the success of so many young people.”

The not-so-young as well. “No one in my entire career has been more important in shaping who I am as a scholar and a professor,” says Stephen Green (UW PhD 1976), the Basil S. Turner Distinguished Professor of Management at Purdue University and one of Mitchell’s first students. “To this day, Terry is still the standard by which I judge my performance and contributions. He always inspires me to push myself to do better.”

Mitchell says the inspiration is reciprocal. “I love what I do,” he says. “And a big part of what has made this life, this career so positive is the relationships I’ve had with doctoral students. It’s an honor, an infusion of energy and ideas, to be able to work with some of the brightest young people in the field.”