Tag Archives: executive education

Want a better board? Recruit more women directors

Now that more than 20 countries have adopted quotas for women on corporate boards, the number of companies with women directors is growing worldwide. To identify the impact that women directors make on boards, Foster adjunct professor Cate Goethals and global management consultant Susan Bloch recently completed the Better Boards Project, an international study of more than 100 board members.

The study builds on research by Credit Suisse, McKinsey, and Catalyst that concluded public companies with women directors outperformed all-male boards on several financial dimensions, including stock price, return on equity, and better average growth. For the Better Boards Project, Goethals and Bloch explored the distinctive qualities that women directors brought to the table and the relationship between board effectiveness and women’s contributions.

Study highlights
The directors interviewed overwhelmingly believe that the contribution of women makes majority-male boards more effective. Specifically:

  • Women provide the broad diversity of perspective critical to robust governance practice
  • Female directors are more likely to fully explore the implications of decisions through their implementation stage and insist upon discussing standards of ethics and accountability
  • Women are more likely to build relationships among board members and with management
  • They ask more and different questions to fuel deeper discussions and better-considered decisions
  • Women are more likely to probe the human dimensions of policies—their effects on employees, customers, and other women
  • Inside the boardroom, female directors are generally more collaborative, listening carefully and facilitating contributions from others

Many directors expressed enthusiasm for bringing more of the right women onto their boards, but noted challenges locating qualified candidates.

Creating a pathway for potential women board members
Several countries, including Norway, France, India, and the United Arab Emirates, have passed legislation mandating a percentage of women serving on public boards. Still, there are remarkably few female directors—about 11 percent of all board members around the world and markedly less in some countries and sectors.

The number of women on public boards is closer to 20 percent in the U.S., and growing as companies actively seek qualified women directors. The percentage of new female nominees to S&P 500 directorships has doubled in the last seven years to 30 percent—almost one in three new board members is a woman. The primary problem boards face is locating and nominating eligible women directors.

To respond to this recruitment gap, Goethals, Foster market researcher Andrea Bowers, and Executive Education staff Lisa Loucks and Ann Koziol launched a new program to help prepare talented professional women for board service. The Women Board Directors Development Program will be offered June 18-19 at the Foster School of Business.

The program will feature sitting directors Colleen Brown (American Apparel, Newport Board Group), Connie Collingsworth (Premera Blue Cross, Banner Corporation), and Betsy Berkeimer Credaire, (Women Corporate Directors, Los Angeles/Orange County, author of “The Board Game”) joining Goethals to share their personal board experiences.

The Women Board Directors Development Program will help participants:

  • Deepen knowledge of board roles and responsibilities, including financial reporting, corporate strategy, CEO performance, and regulatory compliance
  • Understand the best professional pathways to influential boards
  • Develop a detailed personal action plan for securing the right board seat and advancing board service
  • Learn proven techniques for becoming known to nominating committees
  • Understand the board interview and onboarding process
  • Hear from sitting board members how they found their best voice at the table

For more information and to register, visit www.foster.uw.edu/women-board-directors

For more information about the Better Boards Project, visit http://www.betterboardsproject.com/ or contact Cate Goethals.

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.

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.

Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Seminar benefits 3,000 and counting

Adapted from a Boeing publication

Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Seminar's (AIMS) 50th AnniversaryManagement theories and approaches fall in and out of favor, as any experienced manager can tell you. That’s a fact of life in the business world, and one that makes the half-century staying power of the Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Seminar, or AIMS, all the more impressive.

AIMS is a two-week residential leadership development program created and administered in partnership by Boeing and Executive Education at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Over the years more than 3,000 Boeing employees have gone through the program. All have benefited from the program’s focus on such topics as improving the global supply chain, increasing efficiencies and productivity in operations management, boosting business performance, and becoming effective leaders of change management.

AIMS celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2012, and students of Class 97 currently in the program joined some of the past graduates and UW representatives in mid-July for a dinner and reception at the Foster School of Business to honor this milestone and celebrate the program’s many accomplishments.

Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Seminar's (AIMS) 50th Anniversary“AIMS is a great program and a wonderful partnership with Boeing and the University of Washington said Bill Schnettgoeke, vice president of Supply and Operations Chain for Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Lean+ Enterprise Initiative Leader, who spoke at the event. “Its success is due to its ability to evolve from a focus on manufacturing to encompass Engineering, Supplier Management, Quality, among other areas – all the better to support the businesses. As we work across the value stream, it brings a cross section of people together.”

Tim Copes, vice president of Manufacturing and Safety for Commercial Airplanes, also spoke at the July 19 dinner at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“As an AIMS graduate myself, I can attest to how well the program prepared me to take on the challenges I’ve faced throughout my career,” said Copes, who completed the program in 1993. “The program’s endurance speaks volumes about its ability to give managers the skills they need to contribute to Boeing’s growth and profitability, and about the company’s commitment to developing the strengths of its leaders.”

The AIMS program is a nomination program for managers and executives from across Boeing who have at least three years of experience with the company.

Learn more about the Foster School’s Executive Education programs.

Snoqualmie Ice Cream owner builds a sustainable business via executive education

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Snoqualmie Ice Cream Owner Builds a Sustainable Business via Executive Education

Barry Bettinger and his wife always wanted to work together. Coming from upstate New York, Bettinger managed a large dairy plant for years. When he and his wife bought Snoqualmie Ice Cream 15 years ago, they were able to both live their dream of running a company together and create a Pacific Northwest sustainable competitor to Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs.

How? In part, through Foster School’s Executive Development Program.

Snoqualmie Ice Cream was growing, but Bettinger knew he needed to understand more fundamentals about running and growing a business. Wanting all the substance of an MBA but without the 2-year time commitment, he opted for the UW nine-month executive certificate program to gain new skills and grow his small business.

“I always reached out to the professors outside of class. I really got a lot out of it. I was totally absorbed for nine months,” says Bettinger.

Small business finance and strategy

“Finance professor Jennifer Koski met with me three times outside of class to discuss dividing a company into three segments—marketing strategy, financial management and operations. Each segment has its own strategy and she helped me separate that out in our own company and then tie it all back together.”

Management professor Charles Hill’s strategy classes also applied directly to running his business. “…the direction to go, how to price, even how to position ourselves in the marketplace. We use the Toyota system for pricing, so we compete right against Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s in the grocery store. That’s how I’ve designed it. Then we’ll make profits on the efficiency of operations.

“The other thing I got from Charles Hill was the realization that everything with a company comes from the mission and values. Our mission and values are based around two parts: whatever we make should be as perfect as possible and we have a responsibility to our customers, employees and community.”

Do they make perfect ice cream?

With flavors like Mukilteo Mudd (their top seller) blending four unique chocolates developed by world-renowned Belgian chocolatier Barry Callebautor or Raspberry Pomegranate sorbet, another best seller, you be the judge. Bettinger says some competitors pump over 50% air into their ice cream, but with each bite of Snoqualmie Ice Cream’s frozen dessert, you eat only 8% air. The thick, richness makes it a creamy, dreamy delight.

Sustainability and green practices are at the heart of Snoqualmie Ice Cream

Snoqualmie Ice CreamBettinger and his wife built a small farm next to the ice cream factory that grows ingredients for their ice cream. 800 lavender plants and 100 blueberry bushes sit among fruit trees and a modern chicken coop. Beehives will be installed in 2013 to collect honey. Cream and milk are purchased from a single dairy farm in Washington state to ensure quality and reduce fossil fuel costs during transport. They bake nearly all of their ingredients that go into popular flavors such as gingerbread in their on-site kitchen. Solar panels are installed on their ice cream factory. A clean energy kiosk in the ice cream parlor in Maltby, WA educates customers about the benefits of green roofs, local farming and more.

The “go local” movement has been growing nationwide and Snoqualmie Ice Cream offers a mostly organic, locally produced and sourced alternative to gourmet ice cream.

How did they become one of the top sustainable and local dessert makers in the Northwest? And why build a small farm next to their core business—the factory?

“The ingredients we were getting came in with oils and preservatives, so we hired a couple of pastry chefs to teach us how to make things in house. All the cookie dough, the caramel fudge. Pretty much everything that goes into the ice cream is made here. For us, it was a natural step on the path to start growing everything that we use,” says Bettinger.

“Sustainability is not just adding a piece of equipment. It’s more of a process, more of a journey.”

Cupcake Royale founder boosts business via Foster’s Executive Education

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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.”