All posts by Alanté Fields

Taste of Foster: The Business of Wine

Taste of Foster panelists
From left to right: John Blair (Dunham Cellars), Angela Jacobs (WineGirl Wines), Bryan Maletis (Fat Cork), and Paul Zitarelli (Full Pull Wines)

Whether it’s tech, aerospace, or retail, Foster alums are often at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship. And in Washington’s wine industry, things are no different. With a focus on the business side of winemaking, the second annual Taste of Foster played host to a panel of four Foster alumni making waves in the burgeoning Pacific Northwest wine scene. Facilitated by Full Pull Wines owner/wine blogger Paul Zitarelli (MBA 2009), the panel included John Blair (MBA 2011), General Manager for Dunham Cellars, Angela Jacobs (MBA 2010), owner and winemaker for WineGirl Wines, and Bryan Maletis (EMBA 2010), owner of Fat Cork. Over the course of the evening, event attendees got to know a bit more about the panelists, their products, and their views on Washington’s growing wine industry. Below are a few highlights from the discussion.

Why do you think MBA’s aren’t well represented in the wine industry?
For John Blair, size is the issue. “A lot of wineries can’t afford to hire an MBA…I see that changing.” Bryan Maletis agreed with John, stating, “The big companies are getting bigger and there are more small startups. The big companies will be hiring MBAs.” Maletis also argued that more flexibility in state law will positively effect the number of MBAs in the wine business, especially when it comes to creating more direct-to-consumer experiences.

What are some misconceptions about the wine industry?
Be wary of over-romanticizing vineyard life says Angela Jacobs. “Living on a vineyard sounds fantastic,” she quipped, “but there’s frost in the winter and bugs in the summer. It’s amazing and rewarding but it’s not easy.” For John, it’s important to remember that a product is being sold. “It’s still a business,” he said, “a competitive business. I tell people when they go out to the grocery store that there isn’t a shelf more competitive that wine.”

Taste of Foster attendees

Advice for someone interested in getting involved in the wine industry?
Bryan advises those looking for a well-rounded sense of the wine business to set up informational interviews. “The most successful candidates ask to be connected with more people.” Drawing from his own experiences, Paul agreed, stating, “I definitely asked for more informational interviews.”

Looking toward the future, where do you see the Washington industry?
Pointing to the recent purchase of Columbia Winery by a California distributor and the success of Woodinville’s Chateau St. Michelle, John responded, “I think the sky’s the limit.” Angela agreed, stating, “Our market is not even close to saturation. It makes it possible for people like me to start a small winery.”

How do you maintain the balance between the heart and business of wine?
“I don’t think there is a balance,” said Jacobs semi-jokingly. “It’s an art, a science, and a business.”

See more photos of Taste of Foster: The Business of Wine on the Foster GOLD Facebook page. To be notified of upcoming alumni events, be sure to subscribe to the Foster Alumni event calendar.

Reflections on the Japanese healthcare system

This post was written by Management Professor and Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking Executive Director Bruce Avolio.

Bruce AvolioMy trip to Japan this past week, brought me first to Kyoto, then to Osaka and Tokyo. Kyoto is the City of Temples and Shrines, over a thousand, much of which are all in wonderful condition. The purpose of my trip, was to do a keynote presentation to senior Japanese leaders in the healthcare field, on the transformation that is underway in healthcare around the globe. I also conducted a day-long workshop for middle to senior leaders in the healthcare industry, more focused on advancing leadership development in individuals, teams and organizations.

If you have never been to Japan, go! The Japanese are perhaps the best hosts on earth. They delight in making things easy for you and showing you their country.

Intermingled among the work related events, we had opportunities to visit very interesting shrines where Shoguns sat in court governing regions of the nation back in the mid 1800s. We learned about their culture and styles of leadership. One style that was very disconcerting to me, as I am always late to everything, was that if you were late to a meeting with the Shogun, by a minute, and that was after traveling months to get there, it was time to say goodbye to your comrades. There were very strict codes of behavior in terms of who sat where in meeting the Shoguns, and even more strict
when meeting the Emperor.

In advance of my trip, I read up a lot on the Japanese healthcare system. Like most modern systems, it was based on Bismarck’s model in Germany of a more centrally controlled system. But unlike say Canada and the U.K., the primary involvement from government is in setting prices for everything from 4 stitches to an MRI. The costs are kept very low, such as $105 for a night in a hospital, any hospital.

BookScanCenter_2In the USA, that would be comparable to a hotel on the freeway for one night, certainly not our top hospitals, where rooms run into the thousands per night. The rigid cost structure is transparent, and everyone has to follow it, no exceptions. So, it is hard to run a healthcare business in Japan and be profitable, but everyone is covered, and the quality of care is good, based on Japan having the highest life expectancy rate, and lowest infant mortality rate in the world among other statistics. The Japanese can get into see their doctors usually in a day or two, and that can include top specialists. Japanese typically go to their physicians regularly resulting in better preventative care. And there are few if any lawsuits, and no one goes bankrupt in Japan due to medical bills.

Yet, all is not perfect of course. The system is struggling financially with low costs and an increasingly older population. Moreover, while I was in Japan, there was a series of stories of a surgeon who had killed a number of patients over a several year time span, and it appeared many knew he was incompetent, but challenging a senior physician is difficult to do in a culture like Japan. One article termed it a problem with leadership, that should have intervened to stop this surgeon. I would add a problem with organizational culture, not unlike we see in the US in terms of similar incidents.

In the end, we started some potential fruitful relationships between our school and the healthcare leaders in Japan, and going back to Japan in the near future, seems like a great possibility. Between the hospitality, food and beautiful cities and countryside, it seems like a great place to strike up a collaboration.

Foster on Tap: An alumni happy hour

This blog post was written by Alex Andreotti, Foster’s Assistant Director of Events.

On Feb. 26, Foster alumni gathered at Palomino Rustico in Bellevue for the year’s first installment of Foster on Tap, the newly renamed alumni happy hours. Alumni across graduation years and degree programs gathered to network, reconnect and swap stories of their adventures post Foster. During the event, we asked attendees to tell us the most useful thing they learned at the Foster School. This is what some of them had to say:

“Numbers tell half the story; always look at them closely.”

“Social interactions are just as useful as coursework when building a career.”

“Collaboration with peers. All of those group projects helped me learn more about personality and team dynamics.”

“Negotiation is joint decision making.”

“A holistic overview of different aspects of business.”

“Got to know many classmates from other countries.”

“Timing is everything. Sometimes you need to wait, other times you need to rush.”

See a few photos from the event below. More photos can be seen on the Foster GOLD Facebook page.

Foster alums
Foster alums
Foster alums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See upcoming alumni events here.

Checking in on YEOC: The January and February Sessions

YEOC Session: January 2015
With their polished resumes and personalized YEOC business cards in tow, students kicked off the January 2015 session by attending the first ever YEOC Resource Fair. Program Manager Korrie Miller says that over 23 companies and non-profits (Microsoft, Foster Lavin, Girls Who Code, and YMCA to name a few) participated, interacting with students and helping them find summer jobs, internships, and even scholarships.

The remaining activities of the day focused on finance, both personal and professional. Students heard from Mentor Joshua Banks on the importance of investing and from Microsoft Finance Director Cliff Camp on the significance of the mentor-mentee relationship. Students also learned how to navigate financial aid packages and create personal budgets via the financial freedom game, led by Mentor Maria Garcia.

See photos of the January session below:Resource Fair

Intro to finance course
Cliff Clamp

YEOC students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YEOC Session: February 2015
The focus on this month’s session was iCreate Consulting Challenge, YEOC’s annual commercial competition. Working with partner organizations the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) and Foster’s Consulting and Business Consulting Center, students were tasked with developing a marketing strategy and viral Instagram video for a burgeoning, education-focused organization. In line with YEOC’s mission to address inequities in the high-school-to-college pipeline, the group receiving consultation was the Urban Technology Center, an initiative of ULMS designed to attract underrepresented students to STEM.

After hearing Michael Verchot, the director of the Consulting and Business Development Center, discuss past consulting projects and ULMS Board Chairman Nate Miles argue the importance of resiliency, fellow ULMS Board Member Kia Franklin divulged the specific challenges facing the Urban Tech Center’s launch in Seattle. Under the guidance of Mentor Danielle McConnell (a YEOC alum herself) and the Mentors-in-Training, students separated into groups and began working on their marketing plans and videos. After only an hour and fifty minutes of preparation and feedback sessions, students then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, their parents, and the many others in attendance. Program Manager Korrie Miller reports, “It was a packed house!”

See a few photos from the session below. Student photos and video can be seen here.

Nate Miles
iCreate presentation
iCreate judgesYEOC students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credits to YEOC mentors Emmeline Vu and Skyler Rodriguez.

This blog post is a part of a series focusing on monthly YEOC student activities. Visit the YEOC page to learn more about the program.

High reliability, high integrity: Curtis Reusser on leadership

Curtis Reusser, CEO of Bellevue based aerospace manufacturer Esterline, addressed a packed crowd in Anthony’s Forum during the most recent Leaders to Legends Breakfast. While discussing his decades-long career in the engineering sector (he’s an alum of UW’s engineering school), Reusser delved into the mechanics of running a large, yet under the radar company, revealing everything from his approach to activist investors to decentralization. Watch the full lecture below:

Foster undergrads win first place at accounting case competition

PwC Case Competition winners
PwC Case Competition winners from left to right: Lindsey Jackson, Natasha Pulliam, John David McCleary and Trenton Dos Santos-Tam

Another Foster team takes first place!

After winning the PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Case Competition local preliminary round, competing against 46 other universities via video for one of five finalist’s spots, and presenting at the company’s New York City headquarters, a team of four Foster accounting undergrads took home the first place prize.

Frank Hodge, Foster professor and Accounting Chair, reports that during the final round (which included challenging questions from PwC national partners and directors) the students “presented with poise and handled the questions beautifully!”

Congratulations to students John David McLeary, Lindsey Jackson, Natasha Pulliam, Trenton Dos Santos-Tam and faculty coach Jake Thornock!

Forty years of making a difference: Foster recognizes long-time supporter

Carol Batcheldor and Dean Jim Jiambalvo
Dean Jim Jiambalvo with Carol Batcheldor

This blog post was written by Alicia Fereday Hull, Philanthropy Officer for the Foster School. 

When Carol Batchelder (BA 1955) gave her most recent gift to the Foster School of Business, she hit an incredible milestone. She has been giving to the Foster Difference Fund each year for the past 40 years. Beyond her commitment to business education at the university, Carol has served on the UW Foundation Board, is an active member of Alpha Phi and often travels abroad with the UWAA. On January 21st, Dean Jim Jiambalvo took a moment to recognize Carol for her generous support. Thank you Carol, for helping to advance the Foster School to where it is today.

Foster undergrads take 2nd place at National Diversity Case Competition

For the first time in UW history, Foster School students participated in the Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition at Indiana University. Traditionally held during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Foster undergrads competed against students at Yale, Morehouse, and more to take the number 2 spot and win $5,000 in prize money.

Congratulations to Danielle McConnell, Tina Moore, Mayowa Laniran, and Joshua Banks for all of their hard work!

See photos from the competition below:

Diversity Case Competition
Students competed against Southern University, Yale, Morehouse and University of Arkansas to make it to the final round
Diversity Case Competition
Team Foster presenting in the final rounds to 10+ corporate judges and all universities
Diversity Case Competition
2nd Place Plaque!
 Diversity Case Competition
Final results
Diversity Case Competition
Team Foster all smiles after taking 2nd place! L-R: Tina Moore, Mayowa Laniran, Danielle McConnell and Joshua Banks

Inaugural Client of the Year Award

Guest post by Michael Verchot, Director of the Consulting & Business Development Center.

Craig Dawson

For nearly 20 years the Consulting and Business Development Center has been providing student consulting services and business education programs for owners and managers of small businesses across Washington. For the first time ever, we recognized a business that has successfully used more than one of our programs to grow their profitability and their number of employees.

At our Minority Business Awards banquet earlier this month, we recognized Retail Lockbox as the inaugural recipient of our Client of the Year Award.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of this company. What started as a simple lockbox company offering one service has grown into a firm offering lockbox, merchant services, and document management services. They have private sector, public sector, and nonprofit clients in the healthcare, telecommunications, utilities, insurance, and property management industries.

When they first connected with the center their revenues were slightly more than $2 million.

Three times in the last 12 years the company has worked with student teams from the Center to develop five-year strategic plans. The owners of the company credit these five-year plans with providing the framework they’ve needed to grow their sales to close to $6 million and add more than 50 employees. They’ve also used the Center’s week-long Minority Business Executive Program to improve the strategic decision making of their top executives.

Because of how Retail Lockbox has grown by leveraging resources from the Consulting and Business Development Center they’ve become one of the most vocal advocates for the center and they’ve encouraged other businesses to become engaged in their programs.

Checking in on YEOC: the November and December sessions

November Session: Marketing and Branding
The scene: After a morning of guest lectures on the topic of marketing, a new client enlists your teams’ services in developing a marketing strategy for their business…and they want you to present it by the end of the day. For the students in YEOC, this is the November 2014 session. Led by YEOC Mentor Skyler Rodriguez, students were divided into groups and tasked with coming up with a marketing strategy for a unique animal café. Having just attended a lesson in developing a marketing plan from YEOC Mentor Midori Ng as well as a guest lecture from Razorfish Strategy Associate Chike Ume, the students were all set for the task.

See photos from the session below:

YEOC Students

 

 

 

Checking in on YEOC: The November & Decemeber Sessions
 

YEOC students

 

 

 

 

YEOC students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
December Session: International Experience
With YEOC passports in tow, students traveled from classroom to classroom, learning all about the different study abroad options that Foster has to offer. When the activity ended, they all gathered in Shansby Auditorium to hear from EY Dallas Managing Partner Advisory Thear Suzuki. During her time at the podium, Suzuki discussed international experiences and the importance of having a “global mindset.” After the keynote, students participated in a cultural showcase complete with discussions on current events in Ferguson, Missouri the All Students Count Act and international dances.

See photos from the session below:
YEOC Session

 

 

 

o	Grupo Folkorico Guadalajara

Polynesian Student Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jafra Dabke Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog post is a part of a series focusing on monthly YEOC student activities. Visit the YEOC page to learn more about the program.