Category Archives: Women In Business

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!