Tag Archives: Executive Development Program

Celebrating 45 years of Executive Development

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, the Executive Development Program (EDP) at the Foster School of Business celebrated 45 years of advanced business education. Alumni representing over 40 organizations attended the event, from established companies like Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Boeing, to numerous startups created by Seattle entrepreneurs.

Founded in 1970, under the name “The Management Program,” EDP is designed to help individuals improve their understanding of the big picture of business. The program begins and ends with strategy and touches on every aspect of business in between. “It tells you how all these things fit together,” said Professor Charles Hill.

At the event, Dean Jim Jiambalvo talked about how the program had a major impact on the Foster school, specifically the quality of the faculty. “Executives have a higher standard, and they drove us to meet those standards,” Jiambalvo said. Often, executives enrolled in EDP want to know how to immediately apply what they just learned. “It impacted my teaching for a long time,” said Jiambalvo.

Bill Ayer discusses leadershipBill Ayer, former Alaska Airlines CEO and a long supporter of the Foster School, provided a keynote address on leadership, sharing numerous lessons and pieces of advice as he talked about his experience in a challenging industry. Among the numerous takeaways of the speech, Ayer discussed the primacy of the customer, as well as the importance of decisive action: “The perfect plan will never be perfect,” he said.

Over the course of the keynote, Ayer listed eight lessons he wanted to pass on to other executives:

  1. Get the right people on board
  2. Create a sense of urgency
  3. Focus on one to two big ideas at a time
  4. Always have metrics, what you measure is what gets done
  5. Focus on what you can control over the long-term
  6. Be totally and completely customer focused
  7. Don’t confuse being popular with doing the right thing
  8. Develop strategic partnerships

Mamtha Banerjee shares her experienceThe evening ended with an invitation for EDP alumni to share their experiences about the program. One alumna, Mamtha Banerjee, founder and CEO of MagicFlix, talked about how EDP helped her become more than a technical expert, giving her the business skills to take part in strategy and decision making. “The best part was really the case studies—getting everyone’s point of view from different industries,” Banerjee said.

Nordstrom Strategy Analyst sees immediate return on investment

Click image above to play video

Foster’s Executive Development Program offers immediate return on investment

Ali McKenzie, EDP 2014, is a Strategy Analyst at Nordstrom. For years she wanted to go back to school but had many doubts about whether she could do it. She was concerned about the extra workload and how it might affect her work/life balance. Ali thought the Executive Development Program’s part-time, nine-month format could be manageable, so she enrolled. Right from the start, she was learning tangible skills that she could apply immediately to her job. The variety of topics covered by the program helped increase Ali’s effectiveness as a cross-functional leader, and the extra work she put into class was repaid the very next day at the office.

Is this the year you invest in your development as a manager and leader? Find out if the Foster Executive Development Program is right for you. Contact us to start the conversation.

GI Bill supports growth opportunities for veterans

Click image above to play video

GI Bill supports growth opportunities for veterans

Anthony Rogers, EDP 2014, is a small business owner with a Master’s degree in Project Management. While his degree was beneficial for his day-to-day business tasks, he wanted to learn how to manage his organization more effectively. He also had a desire to meet and interact with other professionals in the area. Between his extremely busy business and personal schedules, Anthony found the part-time Executive Development Program to be a perfect fit for him to learn the tools he needed to take his business to the next level as well as network with other local executives.

Since he had served in the Air Force for six years after September 11, Anthony was eligible for the GI Bill, which paid the full tuition for the Executive Development Program. Contact us to learn more about using the GI Bill to pay for the Executive Development Program.

Reaching outside the comfort zone

Guest post by Michelle Sievers, Executive Development Program (EDP) alumni

Michelle SieversI’m the community relations manager at PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company – the quirky Northwest company that’s a lot like you; a little different. PEMCO was founded by an educator, so it goes without saying we inherently foster a culture that encourages continuous training and education for our employees. As a community relations manager, my position requires me to creatively engage and influence colleagues, our leaders, and the organization to help our Northwest community be a better place to live, work, learn and play. I was achieving this, but I wanted more for PEMCO, my community and myself. I looked to professional development as a key to unlock my potential.

The opportunity to participate in the University of Washington’s Executive Development Program came at a time in my life and career at PEMCO when I needed a “disruption.” I yearned for a positive disruption that would challenge and push me both personally and professionally. I wanted to innovate. I wanted to think beyond the rules and authority that confined my professional role. I wanted to learn from others. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.

On my first day in class, I had an overwhelming feeling of insecurity. As my classmates introduced themselves, I suddenly became intimidated by titles. Executive Director. Chief Executive Officer. Vice President of Operations. Physician. Is this the right place for me? Do I belong here? Mission accomplished: within the first thirty minutes, I was out of my comfort zone. It didn’t take long for me to realize that in the end, titles and positions were secondary to the people: their experiences, their perspective, their voice. And what each of them brought to the EDP for me completed a rich, comprehensive curriculum.

With the Executive Development Program, I gained a deeper understanding about business strategy, leadership, innovation, financial accounting, macro-economics, marketing, communication, decision making and organizational leadership. And specifically within organizational leadership, I had an opportunity to work closely with a subset of classmates to problem solve and recommend solutions on a real-life organizational problem. One of my biggest takeaways: organizational problems regardless of their size are mere symptoms of deeper challenges with an organization’s people, process and structure. Again, the opportunity to work and learn together with a diverse group of EDP classmates provided a perspective beyond the readings and lectures. The final group business case project pushed us all to think creatively, strategically and play to each of our strengths.

It’s been almost two years since that first day in class. In the past two years, I’ve continued to stretch myself personally and professionally. I’ve accepted leadership roles on two local nonprofit boards. More important, I’ve taken on more leadership responsibilities within PEMCO that has enabled me to innovatively improve our programs and positively “disrupt” our thinking and actions about what it means to be “a lot like you, a little different” in our community.

The Executive Development Program is a nine-month, part-time certificate program that explores each facet of business enterprise from an executive’s top-level view. The program focuses on practical business applications and provides a progressive, entrepreneurial learning community where students can access advanced business education without a significant burden to their work, travel and family schedules.

Reinventing the Fremont Dock

Erik PetersenWhat do a sports bar and fishing boat have in common? If you’re Erik Petersen, quite a bit.

Petersen, an alumnus of the Executive Development Program at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, manages fishing boats for Iquique U.S. by day and is owner of the Fremont Dock by night and weekend. As a fourth-generation member of the commercial fishing industry, it’s in his blood. He grew up on fishing boats and worked on one in Alaska with his father during the summer between high school and college. His ownership of a sports bar is more recent.

In 2011 he became a silent managing partner in the Fremont Dock, and when it became for sale, he bought it. The Fremont Dock reopened in September, and business has been good ever since.

Petersen has been able to apply what he learned in the EDP, not only to his work at Iquique, but also to the Dock. The program emphasized maximizing return on investment capital (ROIC) and he’s applied that concept to both of his jobs by running lean businesses. He is relentlessly focused on maximizing profits and reducing waste and costs by tightly managing inventory and purchasing.

Petersen’s motivation for enrolling in the EDP was to gain more skills and advance his career with a minimal impact on his time. He credits the EDP with “changing his frame of mind.” At the beginning of the program he said he went from learning how to think strategically to thinking strategically in his day-to-day work activities. An example of this is leveraging the network that exists in the program. It didn’t take Petersen long to find connections between his classmates and his businesses.

The Fremont Dock is family owned and operated. Petersen’s wife, Sara, manages it and his brother and parents also work there. His 5-7 year plan is to establish and expand the brand to other waterfront towns and neighborhoods–à la Ballard Dock, Edmonds Dock, etc.

“I’m passionate about never stagnating and constantly improving,” Petersen says.

It’s a mantra he applies to both Iquique U.S. and the Fremont Dock.

Executive Development 9-month Certificate pay-off

Click image above to play video.

Executive Development 9-Month Certificate Pay-Off

Many professionals seek to up their game, retool or improve their skills at some point in their career. The 9-month, Seattle-based University of Washington Foster School of Business Executive Development Program offers people a chance to learn from renowned faculty and peers from a wide range of industries. What’s the pay-off? Sharper skills. Expanded network. Strategic thinking. Business growth and improved operations.

Watch the video above to hear from program participants, including Cupcake Royale founder Jody Hall, Washington Research Foundation CEO Ron Howell and more leaders in health care, retail, tourism and other industries.

Senior leadership lecturer Pat Bettin, PhD, says, “Each faculty member tries to let you leave every Monday evening with… this is what you can be doing tomorrow.”

Strengthen your skills and grow your business via the Executive Develpoment Program.

Cupcake Royale founder boosts business via Foster’s Executive Education

Click on image above to play video.

Cupcake Royale founder serves up community sweets—and boosts business via Foster’s Executive Education

It takes a neighborhood to raise a cupcake business. That’s the way Jody Hall (Executive Development Program 2010) sees it. Hall is founder and owner of Cupcake Royale, the Seattle region’s innovative cupcake bakery and coffee house.

For Hall, it wasn’t enough to offer customers great coffee and delightful cupcakes. Her entrepreneurial desire was to also create a business where neighbors would come together to cook up ideas, learn something new and inspire each other in conversations about the arts, society and politics.

“The heritage of a coffee house is the penny university,” she said of her inspiration. “You got this penny, you get a cup of coffee in this gathering place and you talk with the business merchants, artists, poets, musicians and get an education about what is going on in your society.”

From Starbucks to cupcake start-up

Cupcake Royale wears its style of business with charm. Slogans such as “Ask me about my cupcakes” and “Legalize frostitution” (also the company blog name) are common. It’s run by an entrepreneur whose professional marketing and branding experience stemmed from a part-time barista gig at Starbucks in 1989 that led to a position in marketing when Starbucks revolutionized how Americans drink coffee.

That combination of coffee, specialty cupcakes and community has been a big success.

The first Cupcake Royale opened in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle in 2003. In 2010, Hall opened her fifth location in Bellevue. Cupcakes range from the Classic, Red Velvet and Salted Caramel to monthly specials such as Bacon Whiskey Maple and Deathcake Royale.

“When people come in and look at that cupcake case, from one to 91 years old, they just flap their arms and are like (dramatic gasp). Little kids almost launch they are so excited,” she said.

Locally grown, locally sourced

When Hall launched Cupcake Royale, you’d have to trek to New York to find a cupcake of substance, let alone one crafted with high-quality, local and seasonal ingredients. “We can tell you with every bag flour, this is from farmer Fred and this is from farmer Carl. We know these guys and have driven their combines. We know about the wheat,” she said.

However, the reality of business is that any store as successful as Cupcake Royale will attract voracious competitors. “Everybody sells cupcakes now,” she said, “not to mention the other cupcake bakeries that are opening up at a pretty hefty clip around here.”

While Hall built a successful foundation for her business, she felt that to grow and succeed in this new competitive landscape she needed to bolster her understanding of finance, operations, management and leadership.

Foster and the competitive edge

To give herself that advantage and engage in the kinds of high-level conversations about strategy and marketing she had when she worked at Starbucks and REI, Hall enrolled in the UW Foster School of Business Executive Development Program (EDP). The nine-month, part-time Foster executive education program helps busy senior managers, executives and other professionals explore each facet of business from an executive’s top-level view.

“I wanted to sharpen my own skills and validate them, and EDP was great,” she said. “After every class I literally would download with my managers: Here’s what I learned and how I think we can apply that to what we are doing here.”

What’s next for Cupcake Royale and Jody Hall?

Hall is building a strong three-year plan that takes the new fierce cupcake competition into account. “One of my strategies has come directly out of the EDP class.”

Executive Development Program: Swedish testimonial

Click image above to play video.

Why Does Swedish Medical Center Support the Executive Development Program?

Swedish Medical Center is the largest, most comprehensive, non-profit health care provider in the Greater Seattle area.  For Swedish, it’s not just about facilities, research, and new techniques.  It’s about people coming together to provide the most compassionate care possible.  One of their values is continuous learning and improvement and as a way to achieve that value they turn to the Foster School of Business.  Watch the video above to see why they believe the Executive Development Program is such a good fit for their busy administrators.