Category Archives: Women In Business

Foster MBA Program Earns Forté Foundation Membership, Expands Opportunities for Women MBA Students

Foster Evening and Full-time MBA students, alumni, and the MBA Admissions team at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference

As a Forté Foundation partner school, Foster’s prestigious program offers its female students access to an expanded network, impactful leadership development opportunities, and accelerated career trajectory. According to Forté, only 17% of Fortune 500 Board members are women. Women make up 14% of Senior Executives and only 4% of CEOs. A Catalyst and University of Michigan research study, Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity, highlights opportunities for improvement in making the business corporate and academic environment more inclusive for women. This sparked the founding of the Forté Foundation, which began in 2002, when female enrollment in MBA programs was only 28%. Since then, that number has increased to 36%, as Forté membership has climbed to 70,000 women with a cross-section of career stages, and 53,000 participants attended Forté Forums.

Forté aims to increase the representation of women in business, and an alliance with the Foster MBA Program promotes that mission in Seattle and wherever Foster’s graduates choose to pursue their post-MBA careers. Foster’s work-compatible MBAs, such as the Evening MBA Program, provide a flexible curriculum that can be tailored to each student’s demanding schedule. Together, Foster and Forté are firmly focused on providing women access to the tools and resources to pursue their passions and thrive in business.

Erin Town, MBA Admissions Director, and Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017, reflect on their experience at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference and what a Forté partner school designation means for Foster students.

Erin Town

Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions
Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions

We are absolutely thrilled to announce our alliance with the Forté Foundation, a leading non-profit organization that is focused on increasing the number of women who hold significant roles in business. Forté is dedicated to directing women toward leadership roles in business and industry, and to enabling corporations to more effectively attract and retain female talent. As a sponsor school, the Foster community can now take advantage of the Forté Foundation’s series of professional development and networking events, scholarship opportunities, and online career planning resources.

For many years, the Foster MBA program’s small size and personalized, hands-on approach to learning has offered students from a wide variety of backgrounds the chance to make a real impact, transform their careers, and to make lifelong connections and friendships. This welcoming and empowering culture is one of the reasons we have generally seen higher percentages of women in our programs than the typical MBA program. Now, as a Forté partner school, women at Foster will have even more opportunities for professional development and, most importantly, access to a powerful network of female business leaders from around the globe.

Mēgan Lewis, Senior Associate Director, and Erin Town, Director, MBA Admissions

In June, my colleague Megan Lewis and I attended our first Forté Foundation Women’s Leadership Conference along with a group of incoming and current Foster MBA students. The conference was filled with inspiring moments and learning opportunities, but what struck me most was the fact that every session, every keynote, every discussion, was led by a woman. The presenters were incredibly honest and uninhibited. At the end of every session there was a line of women waiting at the microphone to ask questions and to present their thoughts. While the conference offered incredible opportunities for professional development, being surrounded by so many ambitious women was what really left me feeling inspired. I can’t wait to bring a new group of students to the conference next year!

Anna Nordstrom

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017

I was so inspired by my time at the Forté Conference!  The women in attendance were all so impressive, and the organization brought in speakers who were accomplished and eloquent and shared their own experiences and practical advice to help prepare the women in attendance for greater success in the business world. It truly energized me and got me excited about heading into my final year of the program!

Photo credit: Anna Nordstrom

I had three major takeaways from the conference. One was how rigorous the process was for Foster to be accepted into Forté, and what that means about Foster’s commitment to support women in business.  Another was that it is important to think about what you are excited to do for work, and to pursue that field – it shows when you are passionate about your work versus when you just show up each day and put in your hours.  Finally, I came away from the conference with a sense of responsibility – to pay things forward for future women, and to not undervalue the impact each one of us can have on others.

View highlights of the 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference:

Want to learn more about the Foster advantage? Connect with us at the Seattle Forté Forum on August 22. We will also be in San Francisco on Tuesday, August 23; Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 24; and Houston on Thursday, August 25.


Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Sheena Seibert-Nelson: Post-Graduation Advice

Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016, gave an inspiring, lighthearted speech to her fellow graduates at Commencement. Read on to learn the advice Sheena shared with classmates as they begin an exciting new chapter post-graduation.

Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Sheena Seibert-Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016

Hello everyone!  I’m Sheena Nelson, and am beyond proud to speak to you today and represent the evening Class of 2016.  Our class is filled with amazingly intelligent, fun, and caring men and women, and mothers and fathers, and not a week went by where I wasn’t genuinely impressed by what you all do.

Before I go any further, I want to take a minute and explain for those who might not be aware what the difference is between the Daytime and Evening MBA programs at the Foster School of Business.  As many of you may have guessed, we go to class AT NIGHT!  Shocking, I know! But the largest difference between our two programs are that evening students are inherently insane, or extremely efficient, depending on how you look at it.  (It’s a very thin line between the two.)  Rather than quit our jobs and take two years for our MBA studies, WE all decided to keep our full-time and professional jobs and take THREE years for the same amount of coursework! Two years with no job pressures, or three years with job pressures…makes TOTAL sense!  Ok, somehow the math seems off, but I promise, we feel like it was the better of the two options for us.

What we lacked in sleep and personal lives during those three years we made up in amazingly rich life experiences.  We pursued areas of study in fields we weren’t as well versed in, we wrote papers and sat exams, some of us traveled abroad together, and most importantly – we shared jello shots with Ed Rice (Core Faculty, Economics Professor) at Dantes.

When I think back at how we started this three-year journey, I remember our first weekends of ePrime and eLead.  I don’t know if you guys remember, but during eLead we were at a conference building at Anthony’s waterfront.  It was a beautiful Friday and Saturday, so what better time to sit inside for full-days in a conference room…in our suits. On our second day, we arrived to see a Norwegian Cruise ship was docked right outside our room.  We were even happier when about an hour into our work the ship started blaring “CELEBRATE good times…COME ON!” for the remaining 6-hours, nonstop, while passengers laughed, had cocktails, and sang along….right outside of our balcony.  It was a great indication of the types of compromise we’d experience during the program – the dilemma of “I really need to study” against the pull of “I want to not be in class right now”.

But, here we are!  We survived! And as we move forward with the next stages of our lives, I’d like to introduce my Foster School of Business, Evening MBA exit program — eLeave.  Yes, extremely creative name…that’s what an MBA will bring to the table!  Dan Poston, feel free to use this if you like, by the way.  eLeave is this – what to do with ourselves now that school is over.  Well, after becoming reacquainted with friends, spouses, maybe children who didn’t see you as much during these three years…I recommend the following three steps.

Sheena is all smiles as she celebrates this significant accomplishment.

First, remain a learner.  So many of us commented the best part of being in school again was learning outside of our jobs and companies.  So don’t let that stop!  It doesn’t mean you have to sign up for coursework in the fall, but continue to read, question, analyze in whatever way you like.  Maybe Mark Westerfield (Core Faculty, Finance Professor) will let you do his taxes!  Mark??  No??  Ok, maybe something else then.

Secondly, one of the greatest strengths of this program is its cohort model, and while you might not be helping a teammate with homework, you could help volunteer or serve on the board of a non-profit.  Being a leader doesn’t just mean having all the business answers, it also means having compassion for others around you.  We can give back in so many ways, and as we look for things to fill our newly found free time, let’s keep in mind ways we can continue to help pay it forward….outside of C4C Weekend.

And third, let’s not be strangers! An MBA is so much more important than the paper, it’s us! Facebook, GroupMe, Instagram, LinkedIn, oh yeah, and actually meeting IN PERSON, it’s on us to make that happen.  And I hope we will.

So that’s it!  We’re done!!  Thank you all again for letting me laugh and learn with you during this amazing experience, and letting me speak to you all today.  And Congratulations!! With that, there’s really only one more thing I need to remind you all – with our futures so bright, always wear your shades.

Sheena looks to the bright future that awaits her and her fellow Foster Evening MBA classmates
Sheena looks to the bright future that awaits her and fellow Foster Evening MBA classmates.

Sheena is employed at Microsoft where she works as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager for Surface, creating strategies to sell Surface products through online partners globally.  She lives in Ballard with her husband and Shih Tzu and can be found most mornings with an espresso in her hand.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 3

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017, tells us what it’s like juggling all her responsibilities as a Mom in the Evening MBA Program.

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Pre-MBA Profession?

 I’ve had a few different professions pre-MBA. I was an elementary school teacher for the first part of my professional career, and I also coached high school rowing and kids running. When I left teaching, I started working independently as an organizational consultant/coach, which I still do.  Most recently, I worked as the Operations Manager and then Business Manager for a local company, and that led to my interest in getting an MBA.

Post-MBA Aspirations?

 At this point, I think I’d like to continue consulting in the realm of Organizational Effectiveness, or perhaps Organizational Development, though I am also finding Marketing very interesting.  I want to help businesses solve their problems, and I’m still narrowing down what my exact focus might be.

Summer pic
The Evening MBA Program allows Anna the flexibility to balance a demanding schedule and still make time for family.

How do you balance it all?

I don’t know that I do!  I have a very supportive husband and extended family, and I focus on tackling the most important things on my agenda each day.  There are definitely things that I am not doing as well as I’d like, but I try to keep perspective on why I am doing this program and give myself the grace to let extraneous things go.  And, after a previously caffeine free life, I finally caved in and started drinking coffee…This year I promised my husband I would try to focus my extracurricular activities to only my highest priorities because there is so much going on at school that I want to be a part of and I have a tendency to try to do it all.  I know he’ll hold me to my promise!

Nordstrom Family
The Nordstrom Family

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?

I chose Foster because I knew that wherever I went, we would need help from extended family for me to make it through the program, and my family is here in Seattle.  I didn’t even look at other schools in Seattle, because UW is by far the best!  I chose the Evening program because, as a career changer, I wanted to be able to gain work experience while going to school so that my experience would match up with my degree by the end.  What I didn’t know was how perfect the Evening MBA Program would be for my busy home life.  The people in the program are all busy, so everyone has a good perspective on how to maintain some semblance of balance.

Mini Golf
Mini golf with members of the Class of 2017 and their significant others

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?

 My team, for sure.  Without them, I would have never survived my first year, and this year’s team has been just as fantastic!  I talked to my professors and TAs as I had questions or needed help with assignments.  The MBA Programs Office team is amazing and great to talk with about the program and what you want to get out of it, and I’ve found alumni to be very welcoming and open to talking to me.  I’ve also utilized MBA Career Management a bunch, once for a practice job interview, which I ended up having to do over the phone, while sitting in my car, with my daughter screaming in the background…Sally Templeton (Senior Associate Director, MBA Career Management) didn’t even flinch!

E and A Spring
A change of scenery for finals prep

How do you make time for family/friends and hobbies/interests outside of the Program?

 It’s hard to make time for many other things, but I definitely prioritize family time.  My team was very accommodating when scheduling our meetings so that Diane (another mom) and I usually got one full day of the weekend to spend with our families, and I tried to involve my kids and my family whenever I could so that we all feel like we’re doing it together.  I have a standing date with my running partner to ensure I get some exercise each week, and I’ve told other friends, “I’d love to see you, but you have to come to me!”  Luckily they do!

K A and E Dec 14
Anna and classmates Kathleen Hillenbrand and Ellyce Shulman get together for a play date!

 Your team won the second year case competition and you recently were recognized for your work on the Health Innovation Challenge. What do you think has contributed to your success in team settings?

Foster does such a great job of setting us up for success in teams – the thought put into our teammates for First Year and Second Year, the assignment of our Peer Mentor, eLEAD at the beginning of our first year, reLEAD that Winter, eLEAD part 3 to start our second year, and our core class on Management and Leadership.  I’ve tried to remember what I’ve been taught from all of these experiences when I’m in team settings, particularly to:

Be clear with the team about expectations from the start – With our 2nd year team, we made a goal in our first group phone call that we wanted to win the Case Competition, so we all knew we were working towards that common goal.  But we were also clear about the time boundaries we had with our busy lives outside of school, so that helped us to maximize the time we were together.  With the HIC, Ellyce ( HIC teammate and 2017 classmate) and I made it clear the ways that we could contribute to the group with our business knowledge, what the other members of the team would need to contribute, and how much time we could devote to the competition.

Recognize individual strengths and contributions – Everyone brings something different to the team, and it’s all valuable.  Acknowledging and recognizing what others do well helps elevate the sense of teamwork. I was so inspired by each of my teammates in both competitions!

Anna's team earned 1st Place in the second year Case Competition.
Anna’s team earned 1st Place in the second year Case Competition.

Don’t take things personally – This means working for the greater good even if it’s not my idea that goes forward, and knowing that feedback someone gives me is not a personal attack, but a way to make me a better manager, teammate or businessperson.  Disagreements are just opportunities to figure out what isn’t clear or what isn’t working.

Apply the concepts we’re learning in classes – We are here to learn, but it’s easy to fall back on your old habits when you are under time pressure.  In each situation, we thought back to what we were taught and thought about how that related to our task.  I can’t stress how important this is!

L Nord
Anna’s daughter has her sights set on Foster!


Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 2

Our second installment of the Moms in the Evening MBA Blog Series: Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2016, talks school, work, family, fun, and how she makes it all happen!

Libby enjoying the cherry blossoms in the Quad with her daughters.
Libby enjoying the cherry blossoms in the Quad with her daughters.

Pre-MBA Profession?

Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2016

My undergrad and early professional career was in structural engineering of buildings, which I enjoyed, but it never seemed like a complete fit, especially in the wake of the 2008 Recession. When I had twins, I kept doing engineering for the stability (no pun intended). I had worked at different engineering consulting groups around the Puget Sound and decided that what I enjoyed the most was working on teams and solving problems – just not necessarily the way I was doing it as an engineer.

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?

The Foster Evening MBA program was the first on my list since I went to UW as an undergrad and along the way of the application process I just kept getting more and more excited about the program and never looked anywhere else. I knew that I learned more in a classroom environment rather than online and the team setup was great! Even with a family I knew I could do two nights of class per week. My husband was supportive of me going back to school and that made it work. The opportunities for growing my Seattle network and going on a global study tour was really enticing as well. 

Libby with her first year team, the Lucky Tigers.
Libby with her first year team, the Lucky Tigers.

Post-MBA Aspirations?

Two years in and I’m still poking around for what will fit me best in my post-Foster life, but I have no doubt with my classmates and coursework that I will have fun doing it! I’m really interested in helping people – back to that “working on teams and solving problems” I mentioned before, but I’m working on crafting the niche that I will do it in long-term. I love being involved in the Diversity, Women, and Out in Business groups as they really build a community trying to grow in the business world. I’m also excited to be able to attend the Net Impact conference in November – I think that will be a great experience!

Libby's second year team secured a spot in the Case Competition Finals.
Libby’s second year team secured a spot in the Case Competition Finals.

How do you balance it all?

Right now, it’s not really about balance for me. It’s about ME!! Okay, that’s only mostly true; usually I give credit to my husband and family. With three kids all in school, I knew it was a good time to show them that Mom isn’t always going to be grumpy when she gets home from work – that it was time to demonstrate a mid-career change for them and to do it for myself. My oldest daughter is in high school and will graduate with me in the spring, so she’s got her own track going; my younger girls just started third grade and love going to Boys & Girls Club in the afternoons when I’m at work and school. The kids are as excited about me being in school as I am, so that helps a lot. I also make sure to have quality time with them and also bring them along to school events when I can. This summer we spent time backpacking, going to Sounders FC games, reading Harry Potter, and playing with Legos. I know it’s a relatively short-term period that I’m doing the school “thing”, so we’re making it work!

Libby with her family on UW day at the Sounders.
Libby with her family on UW day at the Sounders.

Balance for me is making sure my kids have good memories of this time (I’m not worried about me – Foster is FULL of great memories!!!) and that as few important things fall through the cracks as possible. I’m still making their Halloween costumes, attending PTA events, and watching their band concerts. Being organized brings me sanity! I’ve used Cozi for everything – calendar, shopping lists, to do lists; I can see everyone’s activities and stay synced with my husband. Marty and I have also been better about “date nights” since I started the program – whether it’s doing the Huddle tailgate before Husky football games, the C4C auction, or just hanging out, we make sure we keep communicating and stay on the same path.

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?

Two words: Tim Hossain. Seriously. He’s been through the program, he knows what’s going on, and he’s supportive when I come to my senses and take that step back, breathe, and say that I can’t add on one more thing. Tim has a full support crew in the program office and they are all amazing!

The other resource that helped me in this program is my wonderful classmates! Between my teams, Japan Study Tour cohort, and the folks sitting around me in class, the students at Foster are really great and we all know we’re in it together, so we’re all super supportive of each other.

And again, my husband has been my rock through it all!

Libby with her husband, Marty, at a Husky football game.
Libby with her husband, Marty, at a Husky football game.

How do you make time for family/friends and hobbies/interests outside of the Program?

I think one of the reasons that the Foster Evening MBA program is such a good fit for me is that many of my “outside” interests can be found within Paccar Hall or on the UW campus. The Huddles support my love of Husky football, C4C and all of the fundraising during the year feed my spirit of giving and of supporting kids, the Happy Hours force my introverted self to remember how to pretend to be an extrovert, and the classroom conversations are all about my love of learning. Being in Seattle, many classmates across the daytime and evening programs share my interest of hiking, backpacking, karaoke, good food, and this summer I even started practicing yoga! The nights I’m not on campus, I make sure to eat dinner with my family and check in with my kids often.

Time flies so fast, I’ve really been making a priority of the MBA student experience. It’s one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Japan Study Tour in March 2015.
Japan Study Tour in March 2015.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to see more student experiences.

Moms in the Evening MBA

The Foster Evening MBA Program is more than a “work-compatible” MBA- it’s a “life-compatible” MBA. Students juggle a variety of demanding responsibilities in their personal and professional life while in the program. In the first installment of “Moms in the Evening MBA” blog series, Diane Dettling, Evening MBA Class of 2017, shares how she does it all.

Diane Dettling, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Diane Dettling

Graduation Year: 2017

Pre-MBA Profession: Oil/Hazmat Spill Responder with the US. Environmental Protection Agency

Post-MBA Aspirations: Undecided

 How do you balance your academic, personal, and professional responsibilities?
I have a very strong support system. I rely heavily on my husband, family, and close friends.

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?
It’s definitely all about the people. My 1st year study team, team mentor, and classmates were an essential resource providing constant motivation and support. Also, the professors and advising staff are always available and willing to help.

Members of Diane’s first year MBA team decided to enter the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition together and won the Best Marketplace Idea Prize. The team shares her sentiment:

“Diane is amazing! Not only is she a fantastic project manager who always kept our team on track, she also hosted other Foster moms at her house to chat classes and careers amidst a flurry of kids. She was a key member of our Business Plan Competition team, designing our PowerPoint and presenting with poise and charisma.” -Anna Nordstrom

“Diane was a model teammate during this past school year. She came prepared to every group meeting and contributed her unique perspective to every discussion while even offering up her home for group meetings and making breakfast. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate!” -Jay Chang

“Diane could be busy with class and family, and still put in extra hours for the UW Business Plan Competition with a smile on her face.” -Daniel Johnson

“Diane is super smart and always calm, cool and collected. Working with Diane was great. Whatever the task, she did an incredible job setting the pace and- just by her example- challenging us to meet the standard she set. But the best thing about working with Diane is her sense of humor- it’s always fun to hang out with her at happy hours and team get-togethers.” -Justin Meith

“Diane has an inner kindness as well as a strong sense of responsibility towards her team members.” -Bo Gao

Diane's first year MBA team
Diane’s first year MBA team

What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies/interests outside of the program?
I like to cook (and eat), try new restaurants, get outdoors, run, go to Sounders games, and spend time with family and friends.

How do you make time for loved ones?
I make it a priority to always spend at least one of the days on the weekend doing something fun with family or friends.

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?
I chose Foster because I wanted the best MBA program in the area. I chose the Evening Program because it provides the flexibility for me to raise my daughter and work toward my future career.

Diane, enjoying quality time with her family.
Diane, enjoying quality time with her family

Outstanding Students from the Class of 2015 Recognized at Graduation

One of the highlights of the academic year at Foster is the opportunity to recognize students who represent all that Foster stands for and who consistently strive to make a difference.

2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Student Award

Every year, the faculty and staff have the pleasure of nominating a graduating student who has, during her or his time in the program, exhibited a broad range of qualities which are held in high esteem by the University of Washington, including contribution to the UW Foster MBA community; contribution to the community at large; business professionalism; leadership; and class representation.

The two recipients of the Outstanding Evening MBA Student Awards made major contributions to the Foster Evening MBA Program inside and outside of the classroom.  They truly embody what it means to be a Foster MBA. Foster is proud of them and has previously highlighted their experience in spotlight videos. Congratulations, Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell!

Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.
Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.

Lisa Dahlby

Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Lisa took it upon herself to forge strong relationships with all of her professors.  She worked hard with both administration and faculty on creating a strong academic experience for her classmates.  She  instituted a standardized mid-quarter feedback session for all core faculty and facilitated the discussion with strong professionalism.  Economics professor Ed Rice had this to say about her:

“She served her fellow students as a strong advocate for academic excellence.  Lisa is as an example of how to make the most of the program by having a positive attitude, caring about fellow students and challenging yourself. ”

Allison and Lisa with fellow classmates on graduation day.
Lisa and Allison with fellow classmates on graduation day.

Outside of the classroom, Lisa served as the Evening MBA representative to the Master’s Program Committee, a superstar Ambassador and  a Vice-President in the MBA Association.

Beyond her leadership, she will be remembered for her constant professionalism and dedication to the Foster School of Business.

Lisa shares why she chose Foster: “I knew this was my calling. The MBA makes you look at the world in a different way and it makes you a much better citizen of the world.”

Allison Waddell

Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Many in the Evening MBA Program call Allison “THE Face of Foster”.  When Allison started the program she knew the MBA Program was not just a set of academic courses, but an overall experience that reached beyond the classroom.  This quote from her nomination sums it up:

“She arrived at Foster and quickly became a face of the program. Her ebullient personality, willingness to roll up her sleeves and work with anyone to get the job done, and her genuine interest in learning more about people made her well-liked by her classmates. As she went through the program, she continued to shine as a leader. Whether it was finding effective ways to communicate to all Evening students or just lending a helping hand, her presence was felt by everyone during her time at Foster. She has the knack and drive to go anywhere and be extremely successful in her future endeavors – and Foster’s Evening MBA Program will be extremely lucky to count her as an alumna.”

Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.
Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.

Allison shares the most memorable aspect of her Foster experience: “I will never forget the people I met through Foster. The faculty, staff, students, and alumni are what make Foster great and it is those relationships that I will never forget.”

Rita Jabbouri: “It’s all about the team”

Meet Rita Jabbouri, the Admissions Team’s new Social Media & Blog Coordinator for the Evening MBA program. An important aspect of Rita’s position is connecting prospective students with the Foster community through social media. Rita is a “Double Dawg,” having earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Foster. She is passionate about the value of a Foster MBA and is happy to give future students an inside look at Foster through the perspective of current students, faculty, and staff. Rita will assist with most Admissions events and looks forward to meeting you!

Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Rita Jabbouri
Graduation Year: 2017
Pre-MBA Profession: Branch Manager at U.S. Bank
Post-MBA Aspirations: Finance or Marketing at an industry-leading organization

What is your favorite part of the Foster MBA experience?

My team! Foster places an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration because that is what employers expect upon graduation. To be successful, leaders must not only understand how to work effectively in teams, but actually live it. It has been a pleasure working with Daniel Webb, Edward Galloway, Logan Fouts, Nhi Le, and our peer mentor Mark Smedley. I learn just as much from them as I do from the classroom. They are some of the smartest, most down-to-earth people I have ever met and I know these friendships will last beyond the program.

My favorite thing about each of my teammates:

Daniel Webb: Daniel is our “big idea” person. When we get lost in the details, we can always count on Daniel to help us see how everything fits into the big picture.

Edward Galloway: We call Edward “the consultant in the room.” You’ll never see him without a smile on his face, but if we start to get sidetracked during a team meeting, Edward will jump in to keep us focused.

Rita and her team at the Frosters, the annual winter ball for the Evening Program
Rita and her team at the Frosters, the annual winter ball for the Evening Program

Logan Fouts: Logan is great at finding alternative methods to explain a concept. He will sometimes draw a picture on the whiteboard to illustrate a point that may have been difficult to grasp otherwise. Logan also has a great sense of humor- you might hear a roar of laughter if you walk past our team room.

Nhi Le: Nhi is our accounting and finance expert. We say she has “magical Excel powers” because she really is that good! She will also throw in a joke or two when we least expect it, which makes our team meetings even more engaging and fun.

Mark Smedley: Mark has been a fantastic peer mentor. As a second year student, he has already been through the challenging first year experience. Mark provides advice to help us get the most out of the program. He is also instrumental in encouraging us to explore ways we can get involved in extracurricular activities at Foster.

How did we create excellent team dynamics? We built a team culture based on respect and focused on learning. When one person on the team is stuck on a concept, the rest of the team is eager to provide different explanations that lead to a deeper understanding of the material. Our goal as a team is to help each other be successful by offering each other advice, bringing out the best in each other, and making the Foster MBA experience a fun and memorable one. When we come across a challenge on a marketing or finance case, someone will jump in with some humor and have the entire team laughing and energized to complete the rest of the case. We all know we can count on each other and we are committed to each other’s success. Meeting these unique individuals and learning from them inspired me to get involved in the MBA Association as Vice President of Community Outreach. Every single student at Foster has a story to share and expertise to offer. My goal is to discover others’ strengths, showcase what makes each student unique, and help make the Foster experience meaningful for everyone.

Rita, her team and their Peer Mentor Mark, get ready for the Foster Fun Run
Rita, her team and their Peer Mentor Mark, get ready for the Foster Fun Run
Rita's team meets to go over a marketing case
Rita’s team meets to go over a marketing case

Briana Rubens takes helm as President of the Evening MBAA

On April 1st, rising third-year student Briana Rubens will be assuming the role of President of the Evening MBA Association (MBAA).

Briana Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2016, is President of the Evening MBAA for 2015-16
Briana Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2016, is President of the Evening MBAA for 2015-16

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA, especially a part-time program at Foster?

There were many driving factors in my decision to pursue a Foster MBA.  My desire to learn from those around me and share my enthusiasm for what I do was one of the primary reasons I decided to pursue a MBA with Foster’s Evening program.  When I was initially contemplating applying to Foster, I had a few opportunities to meet current students in the Foster program and was extremely impressed, not only with their professionalism, but with their enthusiasm for their peers and their stories about the collaborative environment in the program.  I made the decision to pursue a part-time program instead of a full time program because I wanted to tackle the challenge of learning useful skills in a classroom environment, and then immediately apply and practice these skills in my job.  Also, I found it very appealing that the Foster Business School emphasizes a connection with the broader Seattle/Washington business community, because maintaining that connection with the community during and after my time in the program is extremely important to me.  Foster is also a leader in business and is an organization that values international input and a diverse student body.  All of these key characteristics significantly align with my career aspirations and personal values.

What motivated you to be involved in MBA student leadership?

I distinctly recall showing up at a welcome BBQ before the program had officially started, and meeting members of the student leadership team, the MBA Association (MBAA). I remember having a conversation with one of the MBAA board members, who said she joined the leadership team because while she wanted to have a valuable experience in the program, she also wanted to end the program knowing that her fellow classmates also felt the value of the MBA experience. This memory has stuck with me, and I’m motivated to keep the tradition of creating value for students alive with this year’s MBAA and carry this over to future years of the leadership team.

What goals do you have for the MBAA this next year?

My primary goal for the MBAA this year is to advocate on behalf of evening students, so that we all have the opportunity to leave this program having accomplished what we set out to do during our three years with Foster.  My goal is to continue to grow the broad mix of new experiences and leadership this past year’s MBAA team has provided.  I believe it’s important to make sure that the offered experiences and resources continue to expand, and in a way that is explicitly tailored for us evening students.

What has been your experience with being in the Evening MBA Program?

My favorite experiences in the Evening MBA Program have been meeting, and sharing academic and social moments with the women and men in the program with me. I am constantly impressed with my classmates, and while learning from the professors is exceedingly valuable, participating in discussions with my peers in the classroom has made the experience extremely worthwhile. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there have been challenging moments as well, especially with adapting to the lifestyle change that comes with pursuing an MBA while also working. Having a core student team where we’ve helped each other through the challenges and being able to share this experience with my peers has alleviated quite a bit of the stress.

What advice would you give someone looking at pursuing an MBA?

My advice would be to carve out a healthy amount of time to consider both why you want to pursue your MBA and what you hope to get out of your MBA experience.  Three years flies by quickly, and I believe it’s important to know what you plan to do during those three years, and what you want your MBA to do for you when you’ve graduated from the program.  I also would highly encourage connecting with either current or former students from Foster, scheduling a classroom visit and attending the MBA application workshops to get a better sense of what makes Foster unique and what the MBA experience will be like.



Learning to Lean In

A Post by Jana Morrelli, Evening MBA Class of 2014

Jana Morrelli, Evening MBA 2014
Jana Morrelli, Evening MBA 2014, with her copy of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

As a woman with big career ambitions, I’ve known for some time that Foster was the place for me. In the MBA program, I’m gaining the tactical skills I need to make a difference in a company. I’m learning how to think strategically and see the bigger picture. I’m meeting the people that will be business partners and mentors for life. But there was one problem in my grand plan. I wasn’t sure I could achieve it.

For my whole professional life, there has always been a niggling sense in the back of my mind that no matter how hard I worked or how much I learned, I was not qualified for the big jobs. How could I promise an employer that I could be a top performer if I’d never done it before? That lack of confidence, the lack of trust in myself to learn new things caused me to take jobs I was overqualified for, and I ended up getting incredibly bored very fast.

Enter Lean In. Lean In is the 2013 book by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. Sandberg has been a widely known advocate for women in leadership since her TED talk in 2010. Among other things, she shows (using mountains of scholarly research) that women are far more likely to doubt their own abilities and decline to take on huge career challenges- the challenges that typically lead to top leadership roles.

It was amazing to me that this could be a gender issue and not a “me” issue. Are you telling me that other women feel this way, and yet no one is talking about it? Well, it turns out that’s exactly true. is a non-profit organization Ms. Sandberg set up with the proceeds from Lean In. One of the goals of is to help women set up professional development support groups, called Lean In Circles. Think book club, but instead of a book, we focus on Lean In created content like videos and discussions around Negotiations, Managing Difficult Conversations, and Power & Influence.

I founded a Lean In Circle in July 2013. The group was about half Foster classmates and half former colleagues of mine and friends. From the first meeting, we were spellbound. This was finally a place we could talk about our career ambitions freely, in an incredibly supportive environment. For example, when someone was going to bat for a promotion, we’re there to share things that have worked for us and work through the details of a salary negotiation. But most importantly, we’re there to cheer her on, remind her she deserves this and when needed, tell her the self-doubt she’s feeling is simply not true.

Some members from Seattle's first Lean In Circle
Some members from Seattle’s first Lean In Circle at a meeting in summer of 2013

That circle grew so quickly, we split into 2 groups, then added new circles with growing demand. We now have 8 circles with almost 80 members and are working with Lean In headquarters to develop a scalable model to on-board new circles, which will be distributed world-wide soon. Our circle members are getting huge jobs, promotions, raises and taking on massive challenges. Most importantly, we are believing in our own ability- raising our hands for projects where we have little experience and rising to the occasion.

Our circle leaders had the amazing honor of meeting Sheryl Sandberg last week at Facebook Seattle. She was incredibly impressed with the progress the members have made and how we are embracing our leadership potential. She is an inspiring role model for us as leader, as a business person and as a woman.

Leaders from several Lean In Circles meet with Sheryl during May 2014 visit to Seattle
Leaders from several Lean In Circles meet with Sheryl during May 2014 visit to Seattle

With the support of our Lean In Circles, we have stopped putting limits on ourselves and are open to the possibility of opportunity bigger than we could have imagined. I can’t wait see what is around the corner!

Want to get involved in Lean In? Visit to learn more or feel free to email me at Additionally, the Foster Women in Business group is forming a Lean In group- contact Kelsey Ingram at for details!