Albers School of Business and Economics
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  • Leadership Panel

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 11/14/2014 01:00:47 PM

    On November 13th the Albers Executive Speaker Series hosted a panel discussion on, "Leadership: Building Agile and Adaptive Teams in a Complex Environment."  The panel included Melanie Dressel, President and CEO of Columbia Bank, Harvey Kanter, Chairman, CEO, and President of Blue Nile, and Lieutenant General Stephen Lanza, Commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis McCord.  These three bring an impressive amount of successful leadership experience from three very different sectors.  The panel was moderated by Dr. Marilyn Gist, our Associate Dean for Graduate Business Programs and Director of the Center for Leadership Formation.


    Our three panelists illustrated three different leadership styles, all of which have been successful in their sector or industry - General Lanza in the military, Harvey Kanter in retail, and Melanie Dressel in financial services.  At the same time, it was noteworthy how they continually mentioned common themes in building successful organizations.  Competence among employees is expected but not sufficient.  They emphasized the importance of  trust, both in them gaining trust from their colleagues but them also trusting colleagues to make the right decisions and learn from experience.  They also noted the importance of finding people of  character  who would embrace the values of the organization.  They each noted the importance of establishing a culture of  teamwork, who understand it is about the mission of the organization and what the team can accomplish.  It is not about what is in it for the individual employee.  Finally, each panelist emphasized the importance of leading by example.  All of their colleagues watch what they do, and they must always remember to be consistent and faithful to the values and culture of the organization in their own actions.


    The panel discussion was a great opportunity for our students and it was great to see how the panelists reinforced values and lessons that the Albers School conveys to students!  Thank you panelists!

    Stein Kruse

    Posted by Liz Wick on 10/22/2014 04:13:11 PM

    On October 21st, Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group (HAG), kicked off the Albers Executive Speaker Series for 2014-15. As CEO of HAG he heads up Princess, Holland America Line, Seabourn, MANCO, and P&O Cruises Australia. Altogether, Kruse oversees 41 ships and more than 36,000 employees who provide 25 million passenger cruise days annually.

    Kruse has a career in the cruise industry that stretches back to the early 1980’s. At that time the industry served one million passengers. Today, it serves 21 million passengers, so it is an industry that has seen very strong growth. Kruse believes there is now tremendous potential in the Asian market, especially in China where he predicts the number of passengers will grow over the next five years from 200,000 to five million!

    In his remarks, Kruse stressed that there are certain core values that are important to HAG and him as its leader – safety for passengers, environmental stewardship, and acting with honesty and integrity. He also passed on the eight essentials he sees as needed for effective leadership:

    1. Maintain your integrity at all times.
    2. Be well informed about what is happening in the organization.
    3. Declare the vision for the organization.
    4. Show uncommon commitment to the mission and lead by example.
    5. Expect positive results.
    6. Look after your people.
    7. Remember that the organization is bigger than any one person and do not let your ego get in the way.
    8. Stand front and center and be ready to stand on the stage to communicate with all stakeholders.

    Kruse also spoke about the difference between management and leadership. Management is task oriented; leadership is guiding.

    In the Q&A, he talked about the complexity of serving customers from different countries and cultural backgrounds. There are many changes that have to be made on a boat as you move from one group of customers to another. HAG has much experience doing that, and he was confident they would be successful with a new group of guests from new markets such as China.

    Kruse also spoke to the rise of Big Data in the industry. They collect a tremendous amount of information on passengers, and the industry is becoming better and better at using it.

    When asked if leaders are born that way or can they learn it, he thought it was mostly the latter and it is hard work. There may be a few people who are born leaders, and there may be some of us who will never be effective leaders, but most of us are capable of learning how to lead, and you have to make an effort at it if you are to be successful.

    Dean Karlan

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 10/19/2014 09:51:02 AM

    The Second Annual Howard Bosanko Lecture on October 14th featured Professor Dean Karlan, Professor of Economics at Yale University and President of Innovations for Poverty Action.  The title of his talk was, "Pragmatic Optimism in the Fight Against Poverty: Lessons from Behavioral Economics."

    The Bosanko Lecture was organized by Professor Meena Rishi, who is the holder of the Bosanko Professorship in International Economics and Finance.

    Karlan's talked about the use of controlled experiments to develop remedies to market failures in developing nations that often impede economic development.  One example he gave was a situation where farmers refused to use fertilizer in crop production.  The two impediments to fertilizer use are the expense (do farmers have the capital to buy the fertilizer?) and the risk (other factors such as weather undercut fertilizer effectiveness and earnings).  Karlan's team ran an experiment to provide the capital as well as to provide weather insurance.  As a result of the experiment, they found that weather insurance had a much more significant impact on fertilizer use.

    Karlan's point was that there are many small interventions that can be made to improve the lives of people in emerging nations.  Of course, that does not mean there are not more macro impediments to development, it simply means that small changes can have an impact.  These small changes are easier to pull off because they are less of a threat to the status quo.  Making more macro changes such as improved education, macroeconomic stability, or trade liberalization typically threaten vested interests and are resisted. 

    Years ago development economics was one of my areas for research and teaching.  The field was dominated by economists who focused on the market mechanism and who did not really want to acknowledge or deal with market imperfections.  Only people on the fringes did that and they did not get much attention from the mainstream.  Today, those focusing on market imperfections are dominating the field.  Behavioral economics and randomized trials are carrying the day.  Just this year, all SU freshmen were asked to read Poor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, which also focused on randomized trials and fighting global poverty.  It is interesting to see how the dominant view in a field can change in a relatively short period of time.

    In any event, the Bosanko Lecture was a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty to hear about cutting edge work in the global development field.  Congratulations to Professor Rishi for creating the opportunity!



    Mentor Program 25th Anniversary

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 10/6/2014 10:27:02 PM

    The 2014-15 Albers Mentor Fair took place on October 2nd.  This is the 25th year of our Mentor Program, and during that time over 4500 students have benefitted from the wisdom and guidance of over 1000 mentors.

    The event started in the PACCAR Atrium, with some 300 students, mentors, faculty, and staff in attendance.  The atrium was full of energy as students and mentors networked, in anticipation of the "speed dating" meetings between mentors and students in Pigott Building classrooms.  The high energy level illustrates the high level of engagement of our students, faculty, staff, and mentors.

    This year we expect over 150 mentors and over 300 students to participate in the program.  Our thanks go out to mentors past and present for their support of our students.  We especially thank Jesse Tam, who has been a mentor for all 25 years of the program, and Willie Aikens, who has been a mentor for 24 years.

    We also want to thank our program sponsor, PACCAR, and the staff of the Albers Placement Center, who oversee the program.  Thank you Mary Lou, Hannah, Bethany, Megan, and Paula!

    Here is to another great year for the Albers Mentor Program!


    Chauncey Burke

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 6/23/2014 11:11:50 AM

    Professor Chauncey Burke is retiring from SU after 37 years of service.  While most of us know Chauncey as a marketing professor, he actually started at SU as a staff member, serving as MBA Program Director for four years beginning in 1977.  He went on to earn his Ph.D at the University of Washington and then joined our marketing faculty.  Chauncey has taught many SU students over the years, and a number of them have told me how influential he was in their SU education and professional careers.

    Among the many highlights in Chauncey's time at SU is his involvement with the Pacioli Society and the famous study tour to Sansepolcro, Italy that took place annually for more than two decades.  Along with Bill Weis and Dave Tinius and others, Chauncey produced the much acclaimed film, Luca Pacioli: Unsung Hero of the Renaissance.  These three colleagues used the film to promote to the world the important role of Pacioli in developing modern day accounting!  Chauncey was a CPA and thus imminently qualified for this endeavor!

    In the 1990's, Chauncey was important in representing Albers to the external community, serving on the local boards of the American Marketing Association and the Seattle Advertising Federation.  Later in his career, he developed an interest in sustainability and how firms could use it for competitive advantage.

    Congratulations to Chauncey on his 37 years of service to SU and the guidance he has provided to his students over nearly four decades!

    Fiona Robertson

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 6/23/2014 10:02:16 AM

    Dr. Fiona Robertson is retiring from Seattle University this year after 27 years of service.  She has always been known as a high energy and demanding professor and has been a favorite instructor of many students over the years.  She frequently taught the courses in financial markets and institutions and risk management.  As a teacher, Fiona was one of the first in Albers to incorporate service learning into her classes since she could see how it aligned with the SU mission.

    Since 2006, Fiona has served as Chair of the Department of Finance and presided over several US News and World Report Top 25 rankings and the establishment of distinctive programs such as the Redhawk Fund, in which students manage over $450,000 of university endowment funds.  The position of department chair is not an easy one, as the chair has to represent the department to the dean and the dean to the department, and Fiona has done a fine job of striking a good balance between the two.  I really appreciate her willingness to take on this role for the past eight and half years!  Her service has not just been limited to her role as department chair, but over the years she has been very active in the Colleagues program and in representing Albers in the NAEF Scholarship process.


    Fiona is known among our faculty and staff as a very supportive colleague, one always willing to pitch in where needed.  She's also known as someone who is very unselfish and focused on what is best for the school and university, not what is best for her.  As a result, Fiona has had a lot of influence on the school -- when Fiona speaks, people listen to it very seriously, including the dean! :}


    Congratulations to Fiona on her 27 years of dedicated service to SU and Albers.  Through the many students she has taught, she has created an impressive legacy to take pride in.  She will be dearly missed by her colleagues in Albers and around the SU campus.

    Harriet Stephenson

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 6/17/2014 10:22:55 AM

    Professor Harriet Stephenson is retiring from Seattle University after 47 years of service.  Harriet joined our faculty in 1967 when their were few women holding PhDs in business.  It is a credit to former Dean Jim Robertson that he was smart enough to hire Harriet (and other former faculty members such as Professor Hildegard Hendrickson).  It started a long tradition of Albers having a higher proportion of female faculty members than the average business school.

    Harriet is best known for her founding of our Entrepreneurship Center, now the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.  She started the center in 1989 with very limited resources and laid the groundwork for its success today.  One of its important activities was the Business Plan Competition, which we have now named after her as the Harriet B. Stephenson Business Plan Competition.  I'm glad we were smart enough to do that!

    Harriet was also the first holder of the Lawrence K. Johnson Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship.  The chair was donated by Kent Johnson in honor of his father, and it was Harriet who engaged Kent in supporting entrepreneurship at SU.  Today the chair is held by Dr. Leo Simpson, and it is key reason for the success of our entrepreneurship initiatives.

    Harriet has also been very active in the Small Business Institute and United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).  She has served in many leadership roles with those groups and her students have probably accumulated more SBI awards than any other faculty member in the nation (according to Leo, at least!).

    Harriet has also taken on many leadership roles at SU, including department chair, acting dean, president of the faculty senate, and chair of the United Way campaign!

    Harriet has received many awards over the course of her career, both internal and external.  At SU she has received several teaching awards, including Albers Undergraduate Teacher of the Year in 1985 or the SU Alumni Professor of the Year Award in 2009.  Externally, she has received the Paul Sarbanes Spirit National Award for social entrepreneurship and the National Small Business Institute Directors Fellow Award, among others.

    Despite all these accomplishments, Harriet has remained very humble and just gone about doing the work that she does.  She was never one to seek the spotlight, but the spotlight found her.  She was an important mentor for many of her Albers colleagues and considered by all to be one of the most supportive individuals in our school.

    On behalf of the thousands of students at SU that you have served, and your colleagues in the Albers School, thank you for everything you have accomplished and contributed to Seattle University, Harriet!


    Professor Harriet Stephenson:


    Harriet Stephenson