SU Voice Alumni Blog

Spiritual Practice and Working on the Margins with Greg Boyle, S.J.

Posted by The Seattle Uni on April 4, 2019 at 9:04 AM PDT

We conclude this year’s Catholic Heritage Lectures with Greg Boyle, S.J., on Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. Fr. Greg is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. He comes to Seattle U to share riveting stories of what three decades of working with gang members in Los Angeles has taught him about faith, compassion and the enduring power of kinship.

In the face of unfavorable law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies that encouraged suppression and mass incarceration, Fr. Greg sought a different approach to ending gang violence. He, alongside parish and community members, adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treating gang members as human beings.

In 1988, they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, an organization that employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises to assist them in the transition back to a life without gang violence. At Homeboy Industries, thousands of young men and women seeking a better life walk through the door every year and are provided with critical services, resources and most importantly, hope.

Father Greg is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His 2017 book is the Los Angeles Times-bestseller Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.

Fr. Greg has received the California Peace Prize and has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, the White House named Father Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics.

Tickets are going quickly for Fr. Boyle’s visit. Register now to save your seat.

Catholic Heritage Lectures
Spiritual Practice and Working on the Margins

Thursday, May 9 | 7 p.m.
Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University
Registration is required.

Fr. Boyle is also speaking at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish on Wednesday, May 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available here.

Transformative Technologies

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on April 2, 2019 at 10:04 AM PDT

Introduce your high school student to Seattle U and give them a taste of life as a college student. Seattle University’s Summer Programs is inviting competitive high school juniors and seniors with an interest in computer science and technology to apply for Transformative Technologies: Using AI for Social Good. This pre-college immersion is an opportunity to learn about machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence and how technology can be used ethically to promote human well-being. Outside of the classroom, students will have the experience of applying what they learn during visits led by their faculty to local technology industry leaders. The program earns students three college credits and provides a unique chance to preview Seattle U life, including living in Seattle University’s campus dorms in the heart of Capitol Hill.

Additionally, students will participate in a Leadership Boot Camp where they will work with a certified education planner on activities designed to promote self-awareness and skills that will support them in the college application/admission process, including personal essay design for the Common App and college interviewing.

And of course, the program would not be complete without the fun, cultural experience of summertime in Seattle!  We will explore Pike Place Market, Capitol Hill, the Space Needle and Seattle Center, the Museum of Pop Culture and more!

For more information and to register, visit our website or email Eva Lasprogata Sedgwick, Director of Summer Programs.


Albers School of Business 25 Years of Study Tours Celebration

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on March 6, 2019 at 1:03 PM PST

Twenty-five years ago, the Albers School of Business and Economics began to offer international study tours. To honor this milestone, we have chosen to celebrate where one of the original and long-running study tours took place: Sansepolcro, Italy! We have created a 4-day program that includes highlights of the original Italy Study Tour where there will plenty of opportunities to dine, taste and play while connecting with fellow alumni and guests. We are delighted that Dean Joe Phillips and Professor Bill Weis will be joining us in Italy to celebrate!

A statue in Italy

Over the years, Albers Study Tours have traveled to destinations such as Asia, Central America, China, Europe, and South Asia. In 1994 Sansepolcro, Italy became the first destination for an Albers Business School Study Tour when three Seattle University professors - Chauncey Burke, Dave Tinius, and Bill Weis - created and held a symposium in Sansepolcro to honor the “father of accounting” Luca Pacioli and recognize the 500th anniversary of his publication of a treatise on double-entry bookkeeping.

Professor Burke brought 25 Seattle University business students to join the two-week symposium in Sansepolcro and from there the Albers Italy Study Tour was born. The Italy Study Tour took place every year after 1994 for seventeen years and averaged over 30-40 participants each year. In honor of our visits, the town commissioned and resurrected a statue of Luca Pacioli! 

We invite all alumni and guests to join us for four days in Tuscany to celebrate international learning and the impact study tours have on the educational experience. We will be visiting Sansepolcro during the annual Palio Festival, where the village is transformed into a magical Renaissance experience. Something not to be missed! Celebrate with us under the September Tuscan sun while dining on some of the best food and wine in the area and experience the hospitality of the wonderful walled-village of Sansepolcro. 

For more information and registration, visit the Albers Study Tour website or contact Hartley McGrath at 

Visit the study tour webpage

High Profile Speakers Headline the Crosscut Festival

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on March 5, 2019 at 2:03 PM PST

Join the Crosscut Festival at Seattle University!

Seattle University is proud to host and sponsor the Crosscut Festival May 3-4 and we hope to see plenty of Seattle U alumni in attendance—we have a special discount for you.

The Crosscut Festival is a public affairs ideas summit of thought-provoking conversation and innovative thinking, tackling the most important issues of our time with acclaimed journalists, current and former elected officials, best selling authors, and newsmakers of all types descending on Seattle U’s campus.

A slew of headliners will appear on five stages throughout campus, including Seattle rapper and icon Macklemore, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, Obama Administration Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, distinguished Seattle U alumna Hollis Hong Wear, ’09, and the best collection of writers, journalists, and academic minds around. Check out the entire lineup and program.

Karen Lynn Maher, ’00, attended Crosscut in 2018 and had this to say, “Attending last year's Crosscut Festival was amazing. I arrived being curious and left with deep gratitude for the opportunity to participate in and observe conversations about important and complicated challenges that we face every day. I believe the solutions will unfold when we take the time to come together, listen to one another and truly search for right actions. I can't wait to attend again this year.”

Register now and enjoy a 20% discount when you use the promo code: Alumni. (The code is case sensitive, so make sure you capitalize.) Student tickets are only $20, so if you have a young Redhawk in your family, encourage them to register, too! Questions? Reach out to the Seattle University Alumni Association at

We’ll see you on campus the first weekend in May.  



Red Talks: Uncommon Voices on Topics That Matter

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on January 10, 2019 at 2:01 PM PST

In December 2018, Seattle University kicked off the first installment of its inclusive excellence speaker series Red Talks which features intersectional voices on a range of topics. The Red Talks series is led by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with the Office of the Provost. The first talk was entitled “Who Makes the Rules? Often, They Are #SoWhiteMale. What Does That Mean and Why Should We Care?” showcasing School of Law professor Brooke Coleman, JD. Read more about what she had to say.

Natasha Martin, VP of Diversity and Inclusion


We sat down with Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Natasha Martin to learn more about this exciting new speaker series.

Red Talks, inspired by the popular TED Talks series, offers a signature opportunity to explore and grow together. “When I think about who we are as a university, we are a community filled with talented thought leaders and innovators and we are in the heart of one of the most vibrant, creative cities in the world.  I wanted to find a way for SU to contribute to engagement around diversity, equity and inclusion and really lean into it in a different way. As a university, producing knowledge and facilitating academic excellence is what we do here in our efforts to educate leaders for a just and humane world. We have incredible faculty, staff, students and alumni. These are folks who are having a real impact on the world – we want to elevate the conversations we are having on campus in a way that leverages all of our treasures and helps us to become better known for our robust talent and expertise.”

While you can invite TEDx conferences to a college campus, Natasha wanted this to be a series that Seattle U can own, grow, and further advance as significant partners with the broader Seattle community and beyond. The aim is that this series includes a range of individuals and perspectives, perhaps not often heard from or engaged with, a platform for impactful “uncommon voices” as the tag line references. Each installment of Red Talks is professionally produced and will be posted online. You can learn more about the series and find the video here once it is made available.  

The theme for this year’s series is Women Voices at the Intersection. Of this year’s series, Natasha noted, “It’s important to think about who is telling the stories and whose voices are missing. At a time when women’s voices are being diminished, dismissed and distorted in a way that doesn’t give full agency to women, I want to offer a forum to explore a range of women’s voices and leadership. That was really important to me.” Natasha went on to add that, “To me, this effort is very much tied to who we are as a Jesuit Catholic university. We are modeling inclusive dialogue and how using one’s authentic voice in a complex world stretches all of us to think differently about what it means to be an engaged citizen of society in service to the greater good.”

Natasha would like alumni to get engaged with Red Talks, both by attending the events and by partnering on the program and presentations. If you are interested in engaging with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on Red Talks, send your ideas to

Check here for the most recent updates on topics and upcoming Red Talk sessions, as well as access to videos of past segments of the series.

Taking Care of Employees Is Good Business

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on January 10, 2019 at 2:01 PM PST

Jatinder Jassal, MBA '18Jatinder Jassal, MBA '18


Jatinder was drawn to Seattle University’s MBA program because of its emphasis on giving back, ethics and service to the community. Before he entered the MBA program, Jatinder was already a business leader. After graduating from Washington State University with a degree in biology in 2009, Jatinder encountered a tough economy and decided to help out his dad at the family’s business. His father owned a Little Caesars franchise, but the stress was taking its toll on his health. By 2009, Jatinder took over the franchise and grew the business from one store to four.

What was Jatinder’s secret to success? Taking good care of his employees. “To be successful in business you need to keep your stakeholders happy and you need a strong team to do that.” To Jatinder, a strong team means retaining good employees. He took the time to understand their pain points and needs. Many of his employees lived paycheck to paycheck. Jatinder decided he could help them plan for their future by giving his employees a 401k plan and providing the first contribution and matching subsequent contributions at 4%.  

In 2015, Jatinder came to a crossroads—he had to decide if he would open more restaurants or do something different with his career. Jatinder decided it was time to continue his education and pursue his MBA at Seattle U, graduating with his degree last summer.  “The most important lesson I learned in the MBA program was Blue Ocean Strategy.”  Blue Ocean Strategy is the idea that you don’t compete head to head with the big competitors, you go where the competition is not.

Lessons like these inspired Jatinder to launch a new business venture called Motosel Engine Care. “Instead of being a small company trying to compete with the big players, we partnered together with the other small players in the industry so that we all get a larger piece of the pie than we would get on our own.”

Jatinder said it is because of his strong and reliable employees at his Little Caesars locations that he was able to get his MBA and launch this new venture. “With strong employees, you are able to step away and trust that they are keeping things running. If you want to get somewhere fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, you bring others. I think success is the team you bring with you.”

Jatinder recently joined the board of Seattle University’s Business Owners Alliance, a group that provides support, community and networking opportunities for alumni businesses. He is hosting the group’s first event at one of his franchise locations on January 22. He says it is an opportunity for business owners to build their network and let others know about their company. Connect with the Business Owner's Alliance.

When we asked Jatinder what the future has in store for him, he said he is looking to pass the family business on to his sister and focus on new opportunities to grow his experience. “My background is in small business. I’ve always worn many different hats while working in various capacities of B2C and B2B ventures. However, it’s important for me to be able to leverage my experiences and implement these skill sets for an even bigger challenge. Part of the reason for going back to school was to go beyond the status quo, position myself to work for a larger organization, and focus on larger projects.”

Seven Tips to Manage Your Career in the New Year

Posted by Career Coach Paula Fitzgerald Boos on January 8, 2019 at 4:01 PM PST

The new year is a great time to take stock and reflect on where you are professionally, what you have done well in the past year, and how you want to grow or change in the coming year. It is a time to assess and make some proactive plans. To do a thorough audit, I encourage you to consider how you are doing in the three domains that intersect to ensure career success and satisfaction:

  • Follow your curiosity (values and growth)
  • Do what you love and what you are good at (strengths and contributions)
  • Stay connected to the people who you like/respect and who like you (ratios and relationships)


Following are seven tips to consider as you intentionally move into 2019.

  1. Get clear on what you want to be moving "toward" and why. This may include asking for a promotion, raise, or a new role in your current organization, or pursuing a change to a new company or track. Begin with the "why" by getting clear on your values and decision drivers and then defining your options. Learn how.
  2. Identify and name your growth choices for 2019. This may be adding skills through a new project or promotion in your current company, pursuing education or certification, identifying new behaviors to adapt or influence differently, or making a choice to exit and move to a new company and role.
  3. Make the time to create and/or refresh your list of favorite accomplishments and professional outcomes or contributions. Make sure to tune in to what made them your favorites. What were the skills you were using and your strengths that shine? Knowing what you are good at and love to do is essential. It is also important to know the metrics of success and be able to include vivid stories that include both the data and the engaging narrative. Identify your strengths.
  4. Update your marketing collateral and content with your most recent accomplishments. This is the perfect time to update your resume and polish your LinkedIn profile. Thoughtful Personal Branding is even more important in our digital world. Learn how to build your personal brand online.
  5. Consider your ratios—self, personal, team—for optimal problem solving and creativity. Individuals need to experience 3 to 1 positive to negative emotions. For healthy primary relationships we need 7-10 positive to 1 negative interaction, and for healthy team functioning, we need 3-5 positive to 1 negative.
  6. Research continues to confirm the value of focusing on wellness as the most powerful way to avoid sickness--physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. Committing to incorporate regular self-care behaviors like exercise, gratitude, meditation/prayer/mindfulness, journaling, laughing, and any others that enhance well-being will make the biggest difference in your year.
  7. Update your Relationship Map to identify your key players/partners and make your plan to connect proactively with them. Ensure you are actively cultivating mentors and that you have your version of your personal and professional board of directors. Include those who inspire you and challenge you and most importantly offer you important feedback. Map your plan for consistently engaging with and nourishing your professional network.

Just do it! You know what it is that you most need to do for your professional development and growth. Change can be hard. Forming new habits takes energy—and growth is essential for all of us! Commit to yourself and find an accountability partner who will support you through your change.

Taking Care of Business: Alumni Business Owners

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, ’11, ‘18 on January 8, 2019 at 3:01 PM PST

Seattle University alumni and students are well known for their leadership skills and commitment to service. As an institution that places an emphasis on professional excellence and discernment, it should come as no surprise that many alumni feel called to start their own businesses.

With so many entrepreneurs in the Seattle U alumni community, we are excited to announce the new Alumni Business Owners Alliance. This group aims to provide community, support and networking opportunities for alumni business owners. Read until the end to learn more about how to get involved.

In this issue of the SU Voice we feature just a few of our alumni business owners. We will continue to highlight alumni business owners throughout the year. If you are a business owner that would like to be featured, contact us at


Andre Taybron, MPA ‘00
Kipara Group LLC
D.C. Metro area (Alexandria and Arlington, VA)

Two alumni of Seattle U stand for a picture

Kipara Group LLC is a premier residential real estate and design services firm in the Washington, D.C. metro area. According to co-founder and Seattle U alumnus, Andre Taybron, ’00, the company’s mission is to help clients establish an environment where they can comfortably work, live, play, and love, explaining that, “We work with each client to facilitate transactions and create spaces to help them build and live their best lives.” Andre and fellow co-founder Brian Gendron not only want to take care of their clients but also vulnerable community members who might not have the resources to afford stable housing. 

“Seattle University’s social justice-minded philosophy and teachings continue to have a positive impact on my personal and professional lives. At Kipara Group, we emphasize housing as being a right for every individual, influenced by Jesuit tradition,” Andre said, adding that he advocates for affordable, safe, and sanitary housing for all.

In the wake of the recent announcement that Amazon will open part of its second headquarters in the D.C. area, Andre was featured in the Puget Sound Business Journal, saying, “I recognize from my observations and experience in Seattle (from 1996-2015), the potential to make money from Amazon's decision, yet I am anxious about Amazon's expansion because I know it will displace longtime residents.”

We asked Andre what his secret to running a successful business was and he said it all comes down to relationships. “We build relationships with individuals who trust us with, what is usually, their most expensive purchase and investment.” To Andre, success is having repeat clients who are willing to recommend their services to others.

Learn more about Kipara Group here.

Outside of his work, Andre stays involved with Seattle U as a leader in the Washington D.C. Alumni Chapter.

David Engelstein, MBA ‘12
Dragon Bicycles, LLC
Seattle, WA

David Eingelstein profile picture

David Engelstein began his career working for a family textiles business, where he helped manage the company's product development department. This experience inspired David to follow in the footsteps of other direct to consumer companies likes Casper, an online mattress retailer, and develop Dragon Bicycles. Dragon Bicycles sends consumers affordable quality bikes that are ready to use right out of the package.

A cyclist himself, David found inspiration in the German company Canyon, which also provides bikes straight to the consumer, but at a higher price point than David and his team offer. According to David, the most affordable Dragon Bicycle design starts at around $1400 compared to the competitor’s $2000 and includes a bike designed to fit the customer’s measurements, free shipping, 30-day trial and easy returns.

Still a new company, Dragon Bicycle opened its doors about 18 months ago and began selling on Cyber Monday 2018. David said that to thrive they need to be flexible, confident and willing to adapt. He’ll consider Dragon Bicycle a success if a year from now a big competitor mentions their name in an article.

Dragon Bicycle has partnered with a local summer camp to supply them with branded bicycles and is looking to build partnerships with a variety of businesses. David wants alumni to know he is passionate about putting people on great bikes and he hopes you’ll learn more about Dragon Bicycles, LLC here.

ChrisTiana ObeySumner, ‘13, MNPL’16
Epiphany with Equity: Education and Consulting
Seattle, WA


According to ChrisTiana, it wasn’t just a desire to develop a successful business plan that led them to launch their consulting firm. It was a combination of planning, impulsivity and the desire to fulfill an unmet need that led them to start Epiphany with Equity: Education and Consulting. “I feel it is important to share that someone can start a business out of necessity and still be successful,” ChrisTiana said.

As someone with a diagnosed developmental and psychiatric disability, ChrisTiana is familiar with being a self-advocate and having to fight back against oppressive systems. In their consulting work, ChrisTiana uses their expertise in issues of intersectionality to explore the

"why” at the root of issues within organizations that are striving to be more inclusive. ChrisTiana uses a holistic approach with their clients focusing on everything from anti-racism initiatives to accessibility issues and cultural frameworks.  ChrisTiana’s clients have included the Washington Autism Advisory Council, GeekGirlCon, the Arc of King County and others.

“My myriad experiences of navigating and deciphering the messiness and convolutions of sociopolitical and sociocultural humanity underlies the philosophy and approach of my workshops, assessments, and formal consulting and strategy services—the phenomena of these explored not as intersections, but as interwoven tapestries of history, action, behavior and experience,” ChrisTiana said.

ChrisTiana’s message to others is that the pathway to entrepreneurship is less like cartography and more like spelunking. There is no right or wrong identity, ability, background or method to embarking on the journey. And it is more likely for those who do not come from privilege to have to chart their own path. They suggest leaning on your networks and community and collecting every bit of advice along the way to critically consider whether it works for you.

Those looking to connect with ChrisTiana and their services are encouraged to reach out to them through LinkedIn.

Get Involved

The stories above highlight just some of our alumni business owners. If you are a business owner who wants to build community with fellow Seattle U entrepreneurs and learn about the Seattle U Alumni Business Owners Alliance, join them at one of their upcoming events or follow them on SU Alumni Connect.  

Business Owners Alliance Site Visit
Little Caesars
January 22, 2019
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Space is limited. RSVP required.

Business Owners Alliance Happy Hour
January 24, 2019
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Peddlers Brewery
1514 NW Leary Way, Seattle
No RSVP required.


Seattle U Holiday Recipes

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, ’11, ‘18 on December 6, 2018 at 4:12 PM PST

A big thank you to everyone who submitted their favorite holiday treats. We asked the Seattle U community to share their favorite holiday recipes with us and they delivered. Click here for all you need to have a delicious holiday season! 

2018 December Holiday Recipes


A collection of pictures of pies, cakes, cookies, breads and other holidays treats.

Fr. Steve's Christmas Message 2018

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on December 5, 2018 at 4:12 PM PST

Fr. Steve Hands Crossed

Season’s greetings, alumni!

This time of the year always reminds me to reflect on what I am most grateful for and how blessed I am to serve the Seattle University community. I am reminded of the important role Seattle U plays in the lives of each of our students, alumni, staff, faculty and all the lives they touch. The gifts of the season are often referred to as joy, gratitude and hope, which are also gifts those committed to Seattle University enjoy throughout the year.

It brings me great joy when I see the active role Seattle University takes in our local and global community. Our students mentor and support central district schools as part of the Seattle University Youth Initiative and join our staff and faculty in Professionals Without Borders, traveling to Belize, Nicaragua and Zambia to help with health and infrastructure projects. Our alumni serve in leadership roles shaping local, national and global policies, leading industries and making a positive impact.

Much of what we are able to accomplish as a community and a university is due to our Jesuit roots and values. Over 125 years ago we got our start as Seattle College, led by Jesuits dedicated to educating the whole person and creating leaders for a just and humane world. I am grateful for the Jesuits who came before us to educate our students and the ones who will come after us to continue our mission and inspire a new generation of students to go forth and set the world on fire.

I am grateful for the students and alumni who use that Ignatian-inspired flame to shape their careers, inform their educations and give back to underserved populations.
I am grateful for the staff and faculty who support our students and embrace our Jesuit values to help ensure we educate the whole person and give each student a personalized learning experience.

I have hope that Seattle University will continue to inspire students and alumni for generations to come.

And finally, I hope that you and your family have a Christmas season that is filled with a peace and comfort that allows you to reflect on all the ways you are blessed and for what you are most grateful.

From our community to yours, Merry Christmas.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.
President, Seattle University