All posts by UW Foster School of Business

Podcast: Social media as a leadership tool

This morning’s UW Foster School of Business breakfast lecture focused on the social media revolution. Richard Law, CEO of Seattle-based Allyis, talked about “Social Media as a Leadership Tool” and how executives can socialize their way to employee engagement, retention, collaboration and success.

Law touched on the communication game that’s already changed due to social media, ROI of engagement, statistics, social media being a broader concept than just its platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Conversations among customers, employees and their peers now help create brands.  Two-way dialogue is the best way to represent a brand and Law offers tips for staying competitive in today’s marketplace.
RSSListen to podcast on social media.

Video extra: The Generation Y workforce will equal Baby Boomers in numbers, and Gen Y’s digital media presence is noteworthy. Law played this four-minute “Socialnomics” video about current social media use and demographics.

This lecture is part of Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, an event for business leaders and faculty to share insights about current business topics and trends with other business leaders, alumni, faculty, students and the Foster School community.

Foster students consult for Brazilian restaurant in Seattle: part 2

Watch the second installment of our video series following student business consultants from the Foster School as they help a small Brazilian restaurant improve its bottom line and sell its hot sauce. Undergraduate students visit the restaurant for the first time on January 12, sample the food and hot sauce, and finalize their consulting contract with the business.

This is the second of a series of videos on Foster Unplugged where you can follow the five-member student team assigned to help Tempero do Brasil, a restaurant at 5628 University Way Northeast. Check back to follow more of the student team’s efforts as the winter quarter class progresses (under Student Life blog category).


The team was organized through the UW Business and Economic Development Center‘s Marketing 445 class. During winter quarter, dozens of students join teams and are paired with professional consultants from Hitachi Consulting, Deloitte, Ernst & Young as well as senior executives through the Seattle Rotary Club to help minority business owners expand their businesses and improve their bottom lines.

Love is in…Balmer Hall?

Several words come to mind when one thinks of Balmer Hall …dark, old, dreary, cold!

But romantic?

In fact, Balmer is where Dan Donohue (BA 2004) and Angela Pak (BA 2004, MBA 2009) met and fell in love.

Dan and Angela arrived at the University of Washington with similar goals.  They wanted to “make new friends, be involved in student activities, obtain some leadership roles and get a good job.”

Because of their passion for getting involved, it was no wonder they ended up in the same social circle.

Dan and Angela met when they were hired as peer advisers in the Undergraduate Programs Office at the Foster School in 2002. They also both held leadership positions in Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed professional business fraternity, and had many business classes together.  In fact, there was a two-year span where they saw each other almost daily.

After two years of getting to know each other, Dan stepped up his game. All it took was an invitation for a birthday drink and they have been inseparable ever since!

Angela, a marketing manager at Amazon, and Dan, a sales manager at Volvo Construction Equipment look back at their time in school with no regrets.  Not only did they meet and exceed all their initial goals but they managed to knock another biggie off the list too:  Dan and Angela are set to marry this summer, almost exactly six years after they graduated and started dating in 2004.

When asked if anything they learned at the Foster School has helped their relationship, Dan and Angela quickly responded with three key lessons:  Teamwork, communication and, of course, negotiations!

Foster students consult for Brazilian restaurant in Seattle: part 1

The UW Foster School of Business annual Multicultural Marketing and Business Development class is underway and that means local businesses owned by people of color and women will get hundreds of hours of free consulting from student teams, their advisors and mentors.

Through the Business and Economic Development Center’s Marketing 445 class, students are paired with professional consultants from Hitachi Consulting, Deloitte, Ernst & Young as well as senior executives through the Seattle Rotary Club to help minority business owners expand their businesses and improve their bottom lines.

In a series of videos on Foster Unplugged you can follow the five-member student team assigned to help Tempero do Brasil, a small restaurant at 5628 University Way Northeast, as the students experience the challenges and success of helping  this business with its accounting practices and market its unique hot sauce.

In this first installment, watch as Foster teams meet Tempero do Brasil owners for the first time on January 11. Check back to follow more of the student team’s efforts as the winter quarter class progresses (under Student Life blog category).

Turning green into $green: Market strategies for minority–owned businesses

Guest blog post by Rita Brogan, CEO of PRR

RitaBroganQ:  What is green and white all over?
A:   It’s the green economy!

One of the primary purposes of this blog series is to introduce more color into the green economy. Just as the environmental movement has been comprised primarily of white middle-class people, so has the emergence of green businesses reflected that demographic.  While minority-owned businesses participate at about the same rate as white-owned firms do in the green economy, African American- and Latino-owned firms in the green economy are smaller in terms of revenue and number of employees than are Caucasian- and Asian/Pacific Islander-owned firms according to a 2008 survey by the UW Business and Economic Development Center (BEDC). There are probably a lot of sociological reasons for this disparity, but the fact remains that there is a growing economic sector that is still untapped by many minority-owned businesses.

 There is no magic to becoming a successful green business, but here are four steps that can help minority businesses break into the green economy:

  • Develop your “elevator speech.”  Imagine that you only had time between the 10th floor and 1st floor to convince a venture capitalist to invest in your business. How would you describe your business model, its value and potential in three sentences or less? This is not an easy thing to do, but the discipline and creativity that you need to exercise in developing your elevator speech will help you hone your brand into a strong and memorable message.
  • Network with other green businesses. The enthusiasm and commitment of environmentally-oriented businesses and organizations is staggering. Organizations like Green Drinks have grown from low-key networking events into huge monthly celebrations of like-minded businesses. Over 400 people attended the Green Drinks event that PRR co-sponsored in October. Attendees included wind and solar power businesses, manufacturers of green office products, distributors of green office products—you get my point.  Even better, we were able to raise funds for our co-sponsoring non-profit, People for Puget Sound.
  • Get certified as a small business with the Small Business Administration as a DBE or MWBE with the State Office of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses or with the NW Minority Supplier Development Council. These programs will let you know about upcoming procurement opportunities, and can help provide technical assistance and low-income loans.
  • Join the BEDC’s Green Economy Initiative. We all get by with a little help from our friends. The mission of the Green Economy Initiative is to increase the number of minority-owned businesses that are generating profits from their involvement in the green economy.

Rita Brogan is the CEO of PRR, a public affairs and communications firm based in Seattle that is nationally recognized for its work in social marketing, public involvement, and community building. PRR is one of Washington’s 50 largest minority-owned businesses. Brogan was a recent recipient of the Foster School’s Business and Economic Development Center Asian/Pacific Islander Business Leadership Award. She will be writing the BEDC Brogan blog series twice a month, focusing on green economy issues with an emphasis on ways that businesses owned by people of color or women can create a competitive advantage.

Faculty podcasts: Brands that die and merger research

Two UW Foster School of Business faculty members gave lectures this week on research relevant to the financial crisis and our current economy: Brands that die and mergers & acquisitions. Missed the lectures? Listen to these 20-minute audio recordings.

Shailendra_JainMarketing Professor Shailendra Jain discusses groundbreaking research on consumer responses to brands that die—brand loyalty, weak vs. strong brands and PR backlash when brands are eliminated. Jain recommends managers should consider which are high or low priority brands, whether or not to add more brands, which brands to eliminate and how to do so effectively.
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Jarrad_HarfordFinance Professor Jarrad Harford gave an overview of 30 years of merger & acquisition research. Do buying or selling companies benefit from a merger? How successful are mergers & acquisitions over the long run? How much do CEOs vs. shareholders and investors gain or lose? Some results show that when mergers destroy stock value, CEOs still get wealthier.
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These lectures are part of Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, an opportunity for business leaders and faculty to share insights about current business topics and trends with other business leaders, alumni, students and the Foster School community.

Hopeful signs from small business growth

MichaelVerchotAs we all try to look ahead and see what the New Year has in store for this region’s economy there are some less visible but possibly more promising early signs of recovery. At the end of 2009 the UW Foster School Business and Economic Development Center celebrated the successes of small businesses from across the state at the 11th annual UW Minority Business of the Year Awards banquet. The 550+ attendees celebrated the incredible growth that minority-owned businesses have had in Washington.

  • When the awards program began in 1999 the 50 largest minority-owned businesses in Washington had combined revenues of under $1 billion.
  • This year, the 50 largest had combined revenues in excess of $3 billion. And for the first time there’s a minority-owned business, PetroCard Systems of Kent, which has revenues in excess of $1 billion.
  • As recently as five years ago, companies could get on the largest minority-owned business list with sales of as little as $750,000 and this year, the smallest of the 50 largest businesses had revenues in excess of $3.4 million.
  • The fastest growing minority-owned business this year (for the 5th time in 7 years) comes from the Spokane area. The Spokane Tribal Enterprise Corporation has grown its revenues by more than 760% in the last three years and has grown from just seven employees to nearly 50.
  • The 25 fastest-growing, minority-owned businesses in Washington have added more than 600 jobs in the last three years, despite the recession.

Prior to the 2009 awards banquet, we held our annual Minority CEO Summit. This invitation-only event drew 40 CEOs of million dollar plus companies and the strategies that these companies were employing to grow were impressive and proving to be very successful. Some companies were developing joint ventures with companies throughout the Pacific Rim. Others were acquiring competitors, and still other companies were developing business-to-business relationships with other minority-owned companies to grab market share and to do business with each other.

Also at the Summit, Foster School economics professor Alan Hess presented the Chicago Federal Reserve Index of economic activity which showed that the economic recovery is ahead of schedule when compared to an average of the six recessions between 1970 and 2001. This was a great encouragement to the CEOs at the Summit who are all anxious to make new investments as the economy turns around.

While these CEOs of some of Washington’s largest and fastest growing minority-owned businesses were not feeling like the good times were rolling yet, as they talked with each other at the CEO Summit and Minority Business of the Year Awards, they were optimistic about their opportunities in 2010 – something we can all celebrate.

By Michael Verchot, director of the UW Business and Economic Development Center

Symposium explores new research in technology entrepreneurship

Now in its seventh year, the West Coast Research Symposium and Doctoral Consortium in Technology Entrepreneurship draws faculty and doctoral students from around the globe to present their early-stage research to an audience of their peers. This year’s event, held September 10-12 at the University of Washington, saw a record 91 applications from doctoral students applying for 24 workshop spots. The 67 faculty and student attendees came from the United States, Europe, and Asia.

The first day of the conference is devoted to a workshop for doctoral students on developing a research agenda in technology entrepreneurship and completing and publishing a top-notch dissertation. The faculty are onstage during the next two days, presenting 23 papers. This year presentations were divided into seven sessions: knowledge creation and transfer; corporate venturing and innovation; optimism, risk, and intellectual property, selecting venturing partners; social ties and dynamic capabilities, technology—geography, topography, and legacy; and industry creation.

“The West Coast Research Symposium is an excellent conference for PhD students for so many reasons,” said David Gomulya, a fourth-year doctoral student from the UW. “The opportunity to meet leading scholars and fellow students in an intimate setting is second to none. Most importantly, the relaxed and collegial atmosphere of the conference is what makes it truly a conference to go to. As a student, you’re not afraid to ask questions, and you’ll get excellent and specific feedback.”

UW Professor Suresh Kotha, one of the co-founders of the conference, seconded that sentiment. “Feedback from your peers helps crystallize the research question you’re asking,” he said. “And the questions from the audience are insightful and constructive. Generally about a third of papers presented at this conference will be published in top-tier journals.”

The Conference partners include the center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (University of Washington), the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (USC), the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (Stanford), the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship (University of Oregon), and the Don Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UC Irvine). The Kauffman Foundation provides additional financial support.

The Call for Papers for the 2010 WCRS will be in February 2010.

Management podcasts by Foster faculty

University of Washington Foster School of Business Assistant Professor of Management Michael Johnson and Assistant Professor of Management Morela Hernandez interviewed several other researchers and professors about organizational behavior in an Academy of Management 2008-2009 podcast series.

Audio interviews include new and notable management research on a wide range of topics such as shared leadership, trust in cross-cultural business relationships, stress and fairness. The topics are useful for leaders, managers, academics, students and workers in general. Listen to a few select management interviews below and share with colleagues or apply new insights to the workplace. See all management podcast topics.

mdj3[1]Michael Johnson audio interviews

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Work as a Calling: Interview with J. Stuart Bunderson from Washington University in St. Louis
October 30, 2009

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Early Warning Signs of Burnout: Interview with Christina Maslach from University of California at Berkeley
February 12, 2009

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Charismatic Leadership and Emotions: Interview with Amir Erez from University of Florida
July 19, 2008

morela[1]Morela Hernandez audio interviews

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Does Your Boss Trust You? Interview with Sabrina Deutsch Salamon from York University in Canada
June 24, 2009

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Perceived Discrimination: Interview with Derek Avery from University of Houston
July 8, 2008

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Team Downsizing: Interview with Scott DeRue from University of Michigan
June 7, 2008

Boeing’s Dreamliner – friend or foe of US business?

UW Foster School of Business Professor Dick Nolan guest blogged for the Harvard Business Review about the dark side of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner engineering and manufacturing feat – outsourcing of intellectual capital to Asia. Here is an excerpt from his recent post:

On Dec. 15, after two-and-a-half years of teeth-gnashing problems and delays that cost Boeing more than $10 billion in contractual penalties, the 787 Dreamliner completed its maiden flight, making aviation history in more ways than one.

With its new composite skin and sculptured structure, it is the most technologically advanced commercial airplane ever. Offering a lighter but stronger and more aerodynamic structure, the 787 is designed to be quieter and more fuel-efficient than other commercial jets, allowing carriers to bypass hubs and whisk many more passengers point to point cheaper, faster, and with new levels of in-flight comfort. After announcing the Dreamliner, Boeing booked a huge number of advanced orders for the plane (nearly 1,000), curtailing to a slow crawl new orders for rival Airbus’s giant 380 plane.

But there’s a dark side to this story. In trying to keep down Airbus, Boeing may be creating a much more dangerous competitor, one that likely will come from Japan, China, or India — countries that will own the markets for new airplanes in the near future and are in various stages of building their own commercial-airplane-manufacturing industries.

Read Professor Nolan’s full blog article at Harvard Business Review: “Is Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner a Triumph or Folly?” Professor Nolan argues that the extensive outsourcing by Boeing to build the Dreamliner airplane could lead to increased competition in Asia. What do you think?