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Willamette | MBA | Atkinson Graduate School of Management Willamette University Willamette MBA (Atkinson School)

April 2011

Administrative News


Message from the Dean

PhotoDear Atkinson Community,

I'm delighted to share exciting news about the Willamette MBA Angel Fund, one of the full-time MBA program's experiential learning opportunities.  Inc. magazine recently profiled the class, led by Professor Rob Wiltbank, and named it among the top 10 courses for entrepreneurship in the U.S.  Willamette joins Stanford, Harvard, Northwestern and the University of Chicago in delivering unique, innovative and ambitious programs that provide students with unparalleled experiences in entrepreneurship.

Read the article online.

As we enter the height of our admissions and recruitment cycle for all of our MBA programs, our experiential courses (like the Angel Fund), our personal attention to student needs and outstanding community of alumni and friends differentiate us in the market.  Thank you in advance for your referrals and support of the Early Career MBA, MBA for Career Change and MBA for Professionals. 

Best Wishes,

PhotoDebra J. Ringold, Dean and JELD-WEN Professor of Free Enterprise




Alumni News


Family Additions

PhotoHeather (Buxton) Roberts MBA'06 and her husband are excited to announce their newest family addition, Coen Kwasi Roberts. "Our adoption was finalized on March 17th in Ghana, West Africa," writes Heather. "We are now just waiting on his passport and visa to be able to bring him home and hope to do so within the next 3 months. Coen was born January 31, 2010 making him just 13 months younger than big brother, Carter."

PhotoCarl Hillig '03, MBA'06 and his wife, Keira Morgan, are proud to announce the birth of their first child, a daughter, Finley Anne Hillig. She was born December 28th, 2010 at 1:38pm. She was 7lbs, 3oz and 19 inches, born at St. Vincent's in Portland.




PhotoJohn Powell JD/MBA'09 was recently engaged to Abby Nelson JD'08.





PhotoDenise Callahan '95, MBA'00 has accepted an offer to serve a one-year appointment as interim Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations for Willamette University. During a decade of service to Willamette University, Denise has provided leadership in several areas of Development and Alumni Relations, including annual giving and advancement services, major gifts, alumni relations and communications. Denise served as director of annual giving and advancement services as Willamette was preparing to embark on a comprehensive fund-raising campaign. She later moved to the Atkinson Graduate School of Management as its first director of development and alumni relations, a position she held for five years. She has spent the past three years as the senior director of alumni relations, where she also oversees the publication of The Scene magazine and communications for the division of Development and Alumni Relations. Prior to beginning her work at Willamette, Denise worked with local social service organizations in the private non-profit industry, where she established service, development and marketing programs. Denise serves on the boards of Liberty House Child Abuse Assessment Center and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, District VIII.

Mary Ann Harty MBA'87 is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. She arrived on June 1st, 2010, attended training for two months and was sworn in on August 5th and assigned to a village called Dsegh. "We are located in the highlands of Lori Marz (a northern province that borders Georgia)," writes Mary. "I am the first volunteer in my village and no one here speaks English. It has been, and continues to be, an adventure."

PhotoWade Larson MM'96 successfully completed his oral defense on March 13th for completion of his Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. Wade lives with his wife Lauri and four kids in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho where he works as Human Resources Director for North Idaho College. Graduation processional will take place on April 30th.

In late February, Jessica (Brown) Ordonez MBA'04 presented her Advanced Writing Workshop for the Credit Solutions staff of Scotiabank in Lima, Peru. She created the three-day workshop in 2007 for the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation in Peru. Scotiabank offices in Mexico and Chile have also expressed interest in the workshop, which Jessica hopes to offer throughout Latin America in the next few years.

Nick Jwayad MBA'01 recently took a new role as Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Portland Public Schools. In this new role, Nick will maintain his responsibilities as the district's CIO and continue to provide the strategic, long-term road map for PPS Technology. Additionally, he will also assume Executive responsibilities for three new departments: Student Transportation, Nutrition Services and Security Services. Each of these departments have strong directors and staff that provide excellent service on a daily basis. "My role as Deputy COO will be to identify long-range opportunities to bring all four functions closer together and provide a more seamless and efficient service delivery model to our schools," writes Nick.

Dan Flood MBA'09 and his organization Knowledge Universe, are organizing a conference in Portland, Oregon: The Companies that Care Symposium. The symposium, held at The Nines from May 10th - 12th, 2011, will focus on how leading companies create customer, employee and community engagement. In addition, the symposium will feature a series of panels with world-class companies like PGE, Columbia Sportswear, Umpqua Bank, EA, Clif Bar, Keen, New Seasons and OHSU, and The Portland Trail Blazers. The keynote speaker will be New York Times Bestselling Author Joseph Grenny. "It's a great networking opportunity for anyone that chooses to attend, and a great learning opportunity for students," writes Dan. You can get all the details, and register for part or all of the conference online. You can also follow the conference on Twitter at @GoldStandardPDX.

PhotoEli Waite MBA'08, a Peace Corps volunteer in Azerbaijan, is working with the Azerbaijan Boys Leadership Experience (ABLE). This is a week long camp for 50 teenage boys from all over the country who have shown leadership Photopotential. "As the name of the camp implies," writes Eli, "we teach them leadership skills along with teamwork, project planning, creativity, gender equality, environmental issues along with having a challenge course, and teaching them a variety of "American" games like capture the flag and American football." This camp will be the first time these boys have spent any amount of time away from their home and for a lot of them the first time they have ever traveled to a different part of the country. "We have already raised US$14,000 from the US Embassy for this camp, however we still need another US$1,500 to pay to transport the kids from their home to the camp area and back again. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated, from $5 to $500." You can make donations through the US Peace Corps website. You can also see photos from last year's camp or a video compiled by Eli.



Atkinson News


Inc. magazine features Willamette MBA course as one of the best in the country

PhotoPhotoThe Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management's venture investing course has been named one of the 10 best entrepreneurship courses in the country by Inc. magazine.

The MBA course, taught by Rob Wiltbank, associate professor of strategic management, places students in real-world angel investing groups to hear business pitches from entrepreneurs.

Back in the classroom, the students share the best opportunities and use specific criteria to determine which new companies are worth an investment. They invest using real money from the Willamette Angel Fund, which was created through donations from alumni and other supporters.

The unique program — the only one of its kind among the region's business graduate schools — gives students insight into entrepreneurship from both sides of the table, Wiltbank says. (Read more about it in a recent feature article on the Willamette University website.)

Inc. magazine's feature showcases "innovative classes that emphasize experience over study," courses that throw out the past assertion that "you can't teach entrepreneurship." The article says these classes are "distinguished by their excellence (most have won awards or been adopted by other schools), their innovation and their ambition."

Read the full article on the Inc. magazine website


Willamette MBA’s PACE Program Featured in GMAC News

PhotoThe Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) profiled the Willamette MBA's PACE (Practical Application for Careers and Enterprises) program in its recent newsletter.  The Willamette MBA program received GMAC's highest honor, the "Team MBA Institutional Award," in 2010.  The PACE program was one of the many examples where Willamette MBA students are exposed to community service, stewardship, ethics and corporate social responsibility.

Read the complete article online.


Willamette MBA Becomes a Member of the United Nations’ PRME Program

PhotoThe Atkinson School was pleased to become a member of PRME – Principles for Responsible Management Education. PRME is governed by a steering committee composed of representatives including the United Nations Global Compact, AACSB International, Net Impact, and the International Association for Excellence in Management Development.

By adopting the Principles of PRME, Willamette has pledged to engage in a continuous process of improvement, to share information on progress regularly and to contribute to the learning experience of the academic institutions participating in the PRME worldwide.

Read more online.




Upcoming Events

Final PACE Presentations

PhotoStudents in the Early Career MBA and MBA for Career Change will present their final projects for PACE (Practical Applications for Careers and Enterprises) at the following dates and times. Alumni are welcome to attend.

April 15, 2011 - PACE Consulting for Not-for-Profit and Government Organizations, Paulus Hall, Willamette College of Law, 12:30-5:00. Reception to follow.

April 22, 2011 - PACE Developing a New Venture Enterprise, Ford Building, 12:30-5:00. Reception to follow.

RSVP requested


Atkinson Consulting Association Sponsors Marketing Speaker

"Why Most Marketing Fails & What You Can Do About It"
Len Blackstone

Monday, April 18, 2011
11:45 - 12:45 PM
Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Room 201
Willamette University, Salem Campus

A marketing strategy consultant with experience working with Fortune 500 companies as well as start-up ventures, Len's work has been featured on 60 Minutes. Corporations spend billions on marketing, attempting to grow their businesses by introducing new products or expanding into new markets. But most money is wasted and fails to deliver expected results. Why? Len Blackstone will explain the reasons why and how you can successfully introduce new products and expand into new markets. RSVP to Travis Watson.


Brownwater 2011 Schedule

The tradition continues...

April 28 - 30

An Atkinson tradition for more than 35 years, Brownwater is a three-day event put on by the Atkinson Student Association that celebrates Spring, graduation and the end of the academic year. Continue the tradition by celebrating with fellow alumni, faculty, staff and students.


Thursday, April 28

80's Karaoke Night
Location: Jammers Tavern, 1897 12th St SE Salem, OR 97302 [Map]

Friday, April 29

Brownwater Golf Outing
Location: Santiam Golf Club, 8724 Golf Club Rd, Stayton, OR [Map]
-Green Fees: $16
- Golf Cart (Optional): $12/cart or $6/person
-4 person team, golf scramble

7:00pm-12:00am Black Tie Casino Night
Location: Reed Opera House, 189 Liberty Street NE, Salem, OR [Map]
Saturday, April 30
9:00am Choate's Fun Run
Location: Bush's Pasture Park, Salem, OR
12:00pm-4:00pm Annual Brownwater BBQ and Mill Stream Float
Location: 1st Floor AGSM Patio, Salem, OR


RSVP Online for Brownwater Events


2011 Commencement Schedule

Atkinson Graduate School of Management - Full-Time MBA
May 12 - 15, 2011

Thursday, May 12
6 pm   PhotoAtkinson Honors and Awards Reception
Rogers Rehearsal Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center
All Atkinson graduates are invited to this ceremony, which acknowledges outstanding academic and professional achievements in the MBA program.
Friday, May 13
3–4:45 pm   AGSM Commencement Rehearsal
Rogers Rehearsal Hall, Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center
All graduates who intend to participate in commencement must attend the rehearsal.
5 pm   End-of-Year Barbeque
AGSM patio and student lounge
All current students welcome to attend.
Sunday, May 15
7:45 am   Atkinson Graduates Line Up and Group Photo
Rehearsal Hall, Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center
9–10:30 am   Atkinson Graduate School Hooding & Commencement Ceremony
Hudson Hall, Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center

Tickets are required for this ceremony.

Chris Anderson

Commencement Speaker - Chris Anderson, publisher of "The Oregonian"

View the live stream

10:30 am Atkinson Graduate School Brunch
Goudy Commons
Brunch Info. & Registration


View Commencement Website for More Information



Oregon Ethics in Business Award Banquet

PhotoJoin us to celebrate the business ethics of today and build the foundation for strong business ethics in the future!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Governor Hotel at 614 SW 11th Avenue in downtown Portland

For more information, visit


Save the Date: Mid-Summer Gathering and BBQ



Join us for a midsummer night's tradition - Willamette MBA style. Share in the food, fun and good company of prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Date: Friday, July 15, 2011
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm

Willamette University Campus - Salem, Oregon

More details coming soon!



Apr 15 PACE Not-for-Profit Final Presentations (Salem)
Apr 22 PACE New Venture Final Presentations (Salem)
Apr 28-30 Annual Brownwater Events
May 8 Professor Henry Bi's Birthday
May 12 Honors and Awards Reception
May 13 EDC Program Coordinator Judy Hampe's Birthday
May 15 Commencement
May 30 Memorial Day Holiday
Jun 15 Oregon Ethics in Business Awards
Jun 16 Associate Dean and Director of Admission Judy O'Neill's Birthday
Jun 20 Admission Counselor/Recruiter Desiree Vorhees' Birthday
Jun 23 Portland Summer Gathering
Jun 27 Professor Michael Dothan's Birthday
Jul 4 Independence Day Holiday
Jul 13 Summer Lunch and Learn Series (Portland)
Jul 15 Mid-Summer Gathering (Salem)

alumni events calendar
atkinson events calendar




Career Management


Update from the Career Management Team: Beth Ursin & Shelby Gould

I recently gave a presentation to the Young Professionals of Salem with the topic being, "Climbing your Professional Ladder." CNN recently commented that 72% of Americans plan to make a job change when the market opens, so I thought my advice to them might be relevant to you as well. There are clear steps that you can take to expand your role now and build your resume without having to change companies or even roles. I shared a story from a friend of mine who's now in an executive position, let's call her Sandy. Sandy started her career during a recession in the 80's and grabbed the first job offered. Soon afterwards, she felt under-utilized. She looked around at all the projects that weren't being done because people had either been laid off or retired and weren't replaced. She convinced her boss that she was the right person to take on one or two of these projects and then she worked hard to be successful with them. Then she looked for a couple more key projects with more visibility and attacked those with the same energy and enthusiasm. Eventually, she was able to go to Human Resources and have her job reclassified (yes, think salary increase!). Following Sandy's example, here's some clear steps to pursue:

  1. Self Evaluation – Stop and think or take some inventories such as Strengths Finder 2.0. What are your strengths? What do you enjoy doing? What does your boss consistently compliment about you?
  2. Opportunity Assessment – Think about what’s happening in the marketplace that might create opportunities for you. Are there new regulations in your industry (think healthcare) that may create projects? Might you be able to use social media to leverage your product/service? Are there some ways to cut costs by looking at sustainable practices?
  3. Create Your Story – Become an expert in the area you want to grow into. Read and ask lots of questions. Start to answer the question, “So, What do you do?” to incorporate your new area of interest so that others start to see you as the ‘sustainability guy’ or whatever your area is.
  4. Action – Ask for the projects.  A recent study on the salary differentials between men and women found that men were more likely to ‘just ask’ than women.

March Events in Career Management

Our big Career Close-up Event for March was a personalized career fair in Salem. Employers tell us that they prefer personalized casual interactions with our students over the traditional career fairs where they see a new person pitch their story every 60 seconds. So, this was our second such event where employers were given 10 minutes per round-table of eight students to talk about their company and do small group question and answer questions. Employers moved from table to table talking with small groups. In addition to the employer roundtables, students who registered early were also given one-on-one meetings with the employers. In between sessions, there was open networking for students and employers to interact on a more casual basis. Several employers left with candidates in hand to push to the next level and jobs and internships were secured from the fair, always a good sign. Companies included Adidas, Boys & Girls Club, CASA of Marion County, FBI, Market Strategies international, North Star Financial, Regence, Oregon DAS, Oregon DHS, Oregon DOT, Sparkloft Media, and Vestas. Alumni representing their employers including Praveen Chalise MBA'02, Jon Lazarus MM'98, Poli Zhong MBA'09, and Janna Honegger MBA'10.

Alumni / Student Gatherings – We hosted two alumni gatherings this month, one in Salem at Travel Salem and one in Portland at Bridgeport Brewery. If you haven't attended one of these before, come join us. It's usually a small casual group of students, alumni and friends of career management that gather for appetizers and great conversations. Upcoming gatherings will be July 12th in Portland, July 13th in Salem and July 19th in Seattle.

Student Organization Events this month included the Atkinson Project Management Association trek to Hewlett Packard Company, the Atkinson Finance Association hosted GL Advisors talking about preparing for your financial future, Atkinson Society for Human Resources Management hosted a recruiter panel with Salem Hospital and Department of Human Services and the Atkinson Public Management Association hosted a panel with Oregon Department of Administrative Services and Department of Human Services including alum, Kris Gonier '98, MBA'99.

Atkinson Power Lunch Series hosted the CFO of Wieden + Kennedy, Claudia Valderama. Claudia shared her career story and talked about what it is like to work for a creative firm. She included several video spots that had us laughing and crying at the same time, a hallmark of great ads.




Executive Development Center


Career Management and Coaching Program – Join us for Upcoming Sessions

The Career Management and Coaching Certificate is designed for the professional ready to explore opportunities and challenges critical to achieving career and organizational success. Energize and reinvent yourself through a process of reflection and personal development.

Presented at Willamette University – Salem Campus (AGSM Mudd Building Room 204)
Sessions start at 8:30am (with an 8:00am continental breakfast) and conclude at 4:30pm.

May 13 - Developing Others Through Mentoring and Coaching:  Develop your awareness and skills as a capable coach and mentor to others.

Jun 3 - Creating a Career Action Plan:  Create and present your personal action plan for success and increased contribution to an organization including interim measures that will help you evaluate your success and adapt to changing circumstances.

Jun 10 - Coaching Forum:  Learn from the experts and boost your mentoring and coaching relationships. The objective of this session is to practice coaching with executives and faculty members.

Cost:  $249 per session, special alumni rate of $199 available.

Read more about upcoming sessions.




Faculty News


Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Hewlett grant recipients, which recognize and celebrate collaborative research opportunities and are awarded each year by the president of Willamette University:Photo

Developing a New MBA Elective Course - Process Improvement: Lean Systems and Six Sigma
Henry Bi, Information Systems

Financial Reporting and Analysis & Sustainable Management and Reporting
PhotoNicole Thibodeau, Accounting

Developing Blended Learning Tools for a Core MBA Course at the Atkinson School
Lisbeth Claus, Global Human Resources


Professor Lisbeth Claus published a French article entitled, "Protéger ses salariés à l’étranger. Une nouvelle responsabilité pour les DRH?" in the February 2011 issue of Personnel. She also published an article entitled, "What are your duty of care obligations to international business travelers?" in the March 2011 issue of HR Magazine in New Zealand. Both magazines are the leading HR professional journals in these countries. She received worldwide recognition for releasing an instructional vignette on the Atkinson website less than 48 hours after the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. The vignette is entitled, "Activating the Employee Emergency Response System after the Massive Japan Earthquake" and is co-written with Atkinson alum Shota Ogasawara MBA'10 of Sapporo, Japan. This is the 22nd instructional vignette of the Global HR in Action series that she started in 2007. In March, she was quoted in a number of articles regarding the employer's duty of care obligation as they relate to recent events in the Middle East & North Africa (David Tobenhin, « Unrest adds Stress, Opportunities for HR Managers in Middle East, Africa. » SHRM Global) and Japan (Aliah D. Wright, « HR Professionals, Staffs in Japan Urged to Shelter in Place. » SHRM Global).


PhotoProfessor Larry Ettner was recently appointed to Mercy Corps Northwest Board of Directors."Ettner brings executive experience in corporate leadership, investing, and management," stated the Mercy Corps announcement. "He teaches leadership and ethics in the Willamette MBA program and manages the PACE experiential learning project, a hallmark of Willamette's curriculum. The PACE program delivers over 2,000 hours of community service to its non-profit and government Partners each year." Mercy Corps Northwest assists low-income and disadvantaged populations in Oregon and Washington in developing economic self-sufficiency and success for small businesses.

PhotoMark Ahn and Larry Ettner recently had two articles accepted for publication: Values-Based Leadership: Enduring Lessons from the Aeneid, International Conference on "Leadership and Management in a Changing World: Lessons from Ancient East and West Philosophy" Athens, Greece. In addition, with contributions by JD/MBA student Amanda Loupin, Values v. Traits-Based Approaches to Leadership: A Classics Perspective, was accepted for publication in the Leadership & Organization Development Journal.

PhotoMark Ahn and Rob Wiltbank were featured speakers at the ReVisioning Value Conference inPortland Oregon, March 7 and 8 (along with current student, Katie McMillan, MBA'12). "ReVV2011 is a how-to conference experience for directors and staff from enterprise (nonprofits and for-profits), finance, foundations, and funders who will join educational institutions, community leaders, government, and people looking to make a difference."


PhotoSteve Maser and Fred Thompson published "Mitigating Spirals of Conflict in DOD PhotoSource Selections" in the Defense Acquisition Research Journal (Vol.18. Number 2. Issue 58). Link to article.








Student News



PhotoFull-time MBA Students (pictured left to right): Matthew Newberry, Alina Vaynberg and Brandon Rowe participated in Portland's Shamrock Run on Sunday, March 13th. "We had a great time at the run," said Alina, "but the rain was ridiculous!"




"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."


This email newsletter was sent to members of the Willamette/Atkinson community and subscribers from the Atkinson Graduate School. If you wish to unsubscribe to ATKINSONews, simply reply or email with your request.

ATKINSONews is a monthly newsletter from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management of Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. It is distributed to the current Atkinson community, subscribed alumni and University administrators via email each month during the academic year.

Mission: As an effort to foster one of Atkinson's significant purposes — to establish a close community — ATKINSONews's mission is to provide an accurate and timely forum for disseminating current news and events involving the school and its current and former community members.

Acknowledgements: I thank the following contributors for this month's issue: Russ Yost, Debra Ringold, Heather Roberts, Carl Hillig, John Powell, Mary Ann Harty, Wade Larson, Jessica Ordonez, Nick Jwayad, Dan Flood, Larry Ettner, Travis Watson, Beth Usin, Lisbeth Claus, Fred Thompson and Alina Vaynberg.

Subscriptions: Recipients wishing to unsubscribe — excluding current community members — must do so by submitting your request to unsubscribe. Current Atkinson community members (faculty, staff and students) cannot unsubscribe but can instruct their email software to purge or block the newsletter via Message Filters (Netscape) or Message Rules (Microsoft) applications. And last, please update your email address with us when your email address changes.

Comments/Corrections/Suggestions: I encourage and appreciate that you send your thoughts, comments, criticisms, corrections or suggestions about ATKINSONews to Corrections will be addressed in the following issue and all your comments or suggestions will be thoughtfully considered.

Submissions: You may submit any news item pertaining to your academic life or significant personal milestones including (but not limited to) promotions, awards, accolades, engagements, marriages and babies. Also, if you know of a near future event you think might be of interest to the Atkinson community, submit that item as well. I will try to include all appropriate submissions as time and space allow. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday noon, the week before publication. Please send your submissions electronically to ATKINSONews.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Atkinson Graduate School Administration or Willamette University.

Newsletter Archives: Past editions of ATKINSONews are located online.

Thanks for reading. Aimee Akimoff, Compiler/Editor