Adam and Briana Rubens reflect on their involvement as alumni and mentors of the Consulting and Business Development Center.
Patty Maggard Prediletto, owner of Colours By Design, an interior design firm based in Yakima, Washington, reflects on the value of the Business Certificate Program offered by the Consulting & Business Development Center. This program wrapped up this May with more than 100 graduates since January of 2015.
My name is Patty Maggard Prediletto and my business is Colours By Design. As a sole proprietor of a home-based interior design business, I was surprised when the Consulting & Business Development Center asked me to tell the story of my company. My initial thought was that a larger firm, due to their higher number of employees, crews, and supervisors to manage would make a better story about the impact of this program. Then I realized just how diverse the mix of my fellow classmates was in the Business Certificate Program. These included owners of small businesses (like mine) as well as employees from large companies. I’ve come to realize that although we have different perspectives on business, the tools that we learned can help us all in different ways.
I may not have a staff or a board of directors, but I do have clients and subcontractors that I work with; I make decisions with and for my clients on a daily basis; and I have to brainstorm how to approach a project and how to make snap decisions to keep jobs flowing. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. We all work on the same principles, we are here to make a profit, and I’ve realized through the BCP that companies both big and small use the same tools to accomplish these goals.
BCP teaches three major subjects: marketing, management, and finance & accounting. Here are my takeaways that I was able to bring back to Colours By Design.
Marketing: I know my name is long, but that is part of my brand. I was Maggard for the first 20 years of my career and built up that name recognition. When I remarried I knew I needed to keep that name as that is my brand and how I am known. This class has helped me to put that into focus and helped me to better understand how important identity or branding is. I knew that branding was important but BCP showed my why.
Management: When I am dealing with a couple, many times there are differences of opinions and tastes. It is my job to bring both sides together and come to a decision that everyone is happy with. I joke that I have a marriage counseling degree! With this course, I now have more tools in my toolbox to help me mediate the decision-making process.
Finance & Accounting: I have written a business plan and I readily admit that I am more creative than a financial whiz. However, I know it is a very important part of any business to have an understanding of how money flows and how to adjust to changes.
I would like to thank Domex Superfresh Growers for bringing the UW Foster School of Business to our community. I found the instructors were very engaging and entertaining. The teamwork exercises were fun, creative, and really helped me understand the concepts. It doesn’t matter what size your business is, this course is for all businesses, large or small like me.
On Friday, May 8, the Consulting and Business Development Center hosted the Undergraduate Consulting Challenge, pairing three local small businesses – Big Time Brewery, Gargoyles Statuary, and Panache206 with teams of students who were given a week to create a plan that would aid in the growth and development of each client.
Approximately 60 students formed teams of three or four to research and analyze the companies in order to develop recommendations to present at the competition. For the first time, the Consulting and Business Development Center extended the invitation to compete beyond UW to business students from community colleges throughout the state. South Seattle College and Yakima Valley Community College each sent four students to compete in the challenge – with the South Seattle team winning first place for their recommendations to Big Time Brewery!
Each student team presented dynamic ideas and data to the business owners and panel of judges from event sponsors Key Bank and Target as well as professionals from Community Sourced Capital, Crown Moving, PaintBox Labs Media Group and Project Management Institute who volunteered their time and expertise. Following the presentations, all attendees gathered in Deloitte Commons for a celebratory lunch and networking opportunity for students, business owners and professionals. After lunch the winning teams for each business were announced and each winning team member received a $200 gift card prize.
Congratulations to all involved with the 2015 spring Undergraduate Consulting Challenge!
For information about the next Consulting Challenge email: Consult1@uw.edu
Thank you to James Dennis Professional Photography
On April 21, the Consulting and Business Development Center had the honor of hosting the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum (MBHF) for the second year as MBHF inducted five new members into the prestigious Hall of Fame.
MBHF has been acknowledging trailblazers in the area of minority businesses as honorees since 2005, and this year marked a significant step towards creating a global community when the first international honoree, Dr. Jan Neissen, was inducted into the Hall of Fame and Museum. In his acceptance of the award, Dr. Neissen eloquently spoke about his study of American systems of minority supplier development and his efforts throughout his career at implementing the same ideals in Europe. He cited fellow honorees Anthony Robinson and Ralph Moore as influencers in his work both through their participation in the civil rights movement in America and their continuing work as proponents of equal opportunities both in the US and internationally.
Another significant induction was the late Billy Frank Jr., member of the Nisqually Tribe, who was represented by his son, Willie Frank. Billy Frank Jr.’s life work led directly to the growth of
business opportunities for Native families and for tribes across the U.S. From family-owned fishing businesses to tribally-owned hatcheries and fish processing plants thousands of jobs for Native and non-Native people have been created affecting the business community both here at home in Washington state and across the nation.
This year, the honorees became more than just pictures on the wall when UW Foster undergraduates were given the opportunity to meet these trailblazers face-to-face and interact with the honorees in a special lunch panel. During this luncheon, the inductees shared about their work and their lives as well as the wisdom they had to impart to the students as they move forward with their careers. After participating in the luncheon Lillian Mitchum, a senior at Foster studying operations and supply chain management, said, “It was encouraging to hear the stories of the honorees; where they started out, how far they have come, and how much they have accomplished during their journey.”
When asked about what the next generation of leaders should be focused on in moving towards diversity and equal opportunities for businesses inductee Bill Imada encouraged students to know their own background and stories and to, “share those stories with one another and engage.”
All are invited to come and share in the stories of this year’s nominees on display in the Mackenzie Hall Lobby.
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.
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.
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.
Guest post by Michael Verchot, Director of the Consulting & Business Development Center.
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.
Guest post by Michael Verchot, director of the Consulting and Business Development Center.
Dan Peterson (MBA 1997) received the Consulting and Business Development Center’s inaugural Alumni of the Year Award in recognition of his 17 years of work with the Center. Dan’s first project with the Center was a competitive analysis for Uwajimaya. Immediately after graduation from the Foster School he became an Alumni Advisor where he guided undergraduate student consulting projects. He helped teams that worked with Four Seas Restaurant and the Theater Off Jackson in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District neighborhood. He then worked with Catfish Corner in Seattle’s Central Area, Oberto and Mutual Fish in the Rainier Valley, and Garlic Garden in Pike Place Market.
In the early days of the center, there weren’t enough student teams to meet the demand from small businesses. On multiple occasions Dan stepped in and served as a consultant on behalf of the center working with an auto detailing shop in the Central Area.
Dan and his wife Angie have also been generous donors to the Center. Every time that the Center has asked for financial support Dan and Angie have said yes. They were one of the first donors to the Center’s endowment that will sustain the student consulting projects and he continues to support the center’s effort to build a self-sustaining funding base to insure its longtime financial health and its ability to serve students and businesses in under-served communities.
We’re honored to recognize Dan as a role model for how alumni and other business people can use their business skills to simultaneously improve student learning while growing jobs in under-served community.
As we get ready to celebrate our center’s 20th anniversary we’ve reestablished a tradition that we started in the 1990s to recognize our corporate partners who have made a difference in our work.
We presented our 2014 Corporate Partner Award at our 2014 UW Minority Business Awards Banquet earlier this month to Microsoft.
Microsoft has been a key strategic partner in growing the Consulting and Business Development Center into a national center of excellence. As early as 2007 Fernando Hernandez, who is Microsoft’s director of supplier diversity, began helping us to develop the Minority Business Executive Program. This week-long executive education program is designed to accelerate the growth of minority-owned, women-owned, and other diverse businesses that are supply chain partners of major national and multinational corporations. Microsoft has sponsored 20 businesses to this program.
In 2008, Microsoft hosted the center’s 2nd national research conference that focused on diversity in business issues.
In 2011 Microsoft hosted the annual summit for the Billion Dollar Roundtable. The BDR is an association of 20 corporations that spend at least $1 billion annually with minority- and women-owned businesses. Fernando Hernandez, who by then was on the Center’s Board, invited me to speak at the summit.
Fast forward to this year, and we can see the results of this work as the Minority Business Executive Program drew 30 participants from seven states as well as the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. This program is just the second executive education program to be endorsed by the National Minority Supplier Development Council and is just the 3rd of its kind in the US.
Earlier this year the center became the official research partner for the Billion Dollar Roundtable where it provides data to grow the effectiveness of corporate supply chain efforts in diversity.
Microsoft has been an invaluable partner in helping us to become a national center of excellence in developing businesses in under-served communities and in advancing student careers.
Megan Sevigny (BA 2015) reflects on her experience as a summer student consultant with the UW Consulting & Business Development Center.
At the beginning of this summer I had a small panic attack, which I am told is fairly common among incoming college seniors: I was certain I was making all the wrong life choices, and that I would be floundering helplessly after graduation. Fortunately, I didn’t have much time to wallow in my panic because I almost immediately started as a summer student consultant with the Consulting & Business Development Center. Luckily for me, my internship was the perfect tranquilizer for my panic attack because it led me to realize that not only do I want to pursue a career in consulting after college graduation, but I am being well prepared to pursue that goal with confidence.
In June, I contracted with a convenience store chain, an athletic club, and a distillery all from the lower Yakima Valley and the Tri-Cities to perform consulting projects through the center. My clients could not have been more different, but this diversity was what made my work so exciting, educational, and enriching. I grew up in the Yakima Valley and it was especially meaningful to me to work so close to home and to see local business owners bringing their ideas and passion for what they do to the community.
I can’t even begin to explain everything I learned about financial statements, liquor manufacturing, survey design, and athletic club member personas this summer. My family and friends are just about done with me explaining to them the inner workings of convenience stores and no one wants to come grocery shopping with me anymore because I spend far too long examining different products and what branding techniques they use. I have also developed a habit of interrogating any small business owners I happen across, about their career stories, passions for what they do, and their current business inner workings.
However, all these side effects, while not the healthiest for my social life, have proven to me that consulting is absolutely the direction I want to head after graduation. Furthermore, working and learning in the real world have shown me many of my own strengths and weaknesses and have served as a guide for which areas I want to focus my attention in my final year at school. My time working with the center has been incredibly valuable to me in so many ways. I made wonderful connections, learned so much about myself and my capabilities, and found some amazing support through the center and the business owners I worked with. I am eager to continue to build on my education and experiences and to move forward towards a career in consulting.