Welcome to Fridays in Austin

fridays in austin

Fridays in Austin is an initiative created by the College of Business to provide business students with professional and leadership development opportunities.  

The Fridays workshops and seminars are open to all College of Business students, and they are a required component of the First Year Experience for all new business students.

“Fridays in Austin offers many engagement opportunities,” said Carol Leder, the college’s head advisor. “Students will be able to network and engage with OSU alumni, business leaders, student leaders, faculty and advisors. Our goal is for business students to have access to a wide-range of activities and learning opportunities across many industries. These new professional and leadership development opportunities are exciting complements to all of our academic programs.”

Added Career Success Center Executive Director Brandi Fuhrman, “Fridays in Austin will give business students a major advantage as they discover their personal path to future career success. It’s a chance to interact with industry professionals and it adds tremendous value to the educational experience. We are really excited about this new initiative to help students engage in their own development as future business leaders outside the classroom.”

Fridays in Austin kicks off Sept. 30 with the theme of ethics and features a 10 a.m. “Ethics in the Work Environment” discussion in Austin Hall 126 with a panel of alumni. Also on the docket for Sept. 30 are welcome events for community college transfer students, resume workshops for accounting students, and a “Creating a Job Search Strategy” session.

Subsequent Fridays in Austin themes are health care (Oct. 7), food/beverage (Oct. 14), sales (Oct. 21), design thinking (Oct. 28), performance (Nov. 4) and well-being (Nov. 18).

Students are asked to register for Friday in Austin events because space is limited. Registration links will be available on the Fridays in Austin webpage.

Students get up-close view of Brexit vote

Experian Chairman Don Robert, second from right, with Prof. Anthony Klotz, left, and the students who accompanied him to London this summer.
Experian Chairman Don Robert, second from right, with Prof. Anthony Klotz, left, and the students who accompanied him to London this summer.

Prof. Anthony Klotz’s second summer of leading College of Business students through a course in cross-cultural management in London carried an additional benefit: This year’s group had a front-row seat to history as the United Kingdom opted for Brexit and voted to leave the European Union.

“We arrived in London about a week before the polls closed for the Brexit vote,” said Troy McCool, one of 18 students who accompanied Klotz on the three-week trip, a partnership between the College of Business and INTO; INTO is an OSU partner that helps facilitate international education.

“We saw a lot of groups on the street trying to sway voters,” McCool said. “All over the news was stuff about the vote too. For the week leading up to the vote, it all felt like the final vote would be against leaving the EU and that it would all go back to normal. When we woke up on the first Thursday of our trip, we learned that the final tally was to leave. The ramifications were immediate. Overnight their markets lost about 115 million pounds and their currency fell in buying power.”

As they did in 2015, Klotz and his students met with College of Business alumnus Don Robert, chairman of global information services giant Experian. Robert is also on the board of the Bank of England, the British equivalent of the Federal Reserve.

“Don said the BoE had been meeting around the clock in the days leading up to Brexit to plan for how they would stabilize the pound and the economy if the country voted to exit,” Klotz said. “He did not go into many specifics, but he felt positive that the plans that they put in place would be effective. Indeed, although the pound is down from its pre-Brexit level, it has recovered a bit and leveled off since its precipitous fall following the vote.”

London voters, the ones most often encountered by Klotz and the students, were 59.9 percent in favor staying in the EU, and Scotland and Northern Ireland were also heavily in favor of remaining. But nine other regions voted 70 percent or greater to exit, and England as a whole was 53 percent in favor of Brexit, resulting in the overall 52-48 breakdown.

In addition to Robert, Klotz’s students heard from Simon Sproule, chief marketing officer of British car maker Aston Martin.

“Simon is British born and raised,” Klotz said. “He expressed concern over Brexit – but didn’t say whether it was good or bad — since Aston Martin builds all of its cars, by hand, in England and ships them all over the world. We also met with several folks at Unilever, including HR directors and marketing directors in charge of the Hellman’s mayo brand and the Knorr flavoring brand. Again, they expressed sincere surprise at the Brexit outcome, but like everyone else, tried not to inject their personal opinion. All of the students rated these business visits as the best part of the trip. They also talked about how they’ll be able to tell their grandkids they were in London for one of the most historic events in European history.”

Joining McCool on the student roster were Alexandra Martino, Jennifer Duffy, Sara Black, Sophie Clarke, Ryan Lonsway, Joshua Whittle, Danielle Lacombe, Lauren Becker, Chengrun (Daniel) Deng, Meaghan Connelly, Zack Hermann, Megan Wheeler, Dehuai (Sean) Xiao, Heidi Peterson, Dominic Carrier, Isai Garcia and Duncan Miller.

Dream internship for interior design student

Kenna Hanson
Kenna Hanson

Kenna Hanson, senior to be in interior design, has an internship this summer that she’s been preparing for almost half her life.

Hanson is working for Tiffany Home Design, a key vendor on the 6,275-square-foot “Quintessence” home in this year’s NW Natural Street of Dreams.

“Brittainy Tiffany of Tiffany Home Design is responsible for the design and staging” of the five-bedroom, five-bath house, Hanson said, “as well as for coordinating on a neighboring wine tasting location called ‘The Barrel House.’ I have been involved in furniture, accessory, and casegoods sourcing, selection, design and installation of the Street of Dreams house and have also been involved with other personal clients with our head interior designer, Brooke Johnson. I also have contributed some sourcing to local community projects and participated in their staging department and showroom.”

Hanson, who grew up in southwest Portland, traces her roots as designer to age 12.

“My grandparents were building a house on Puget Sound, and my uncle was the architect,” she said. “Every time we went up, the house grew and grew, and I said, I want to do that; I want to take my own design and build my Barbie dream house, which sounds so lame, but I was 12. I started drawing and still have the drawings: a three-story mansion with a pool. My dad flipped houses on his own time, so I just grew up around house construction and architecture and design and all of that. I was used to it and decided I wanted to be in business for myself.”

The interior design program within the College of Business has helped put her on the cusp of launching a career in her aspirational field of residential design.

“I truly love Oregon State,” she said. “I love the campus, I love the interior design staff, and all the design and human environment teachers are really nice. Residential design kind of died out when the (housing) market crashed, but now it’s coming back up.”

This year’s Street of Dreams, the 47th edition of the event produced annually by the Home Builders Association of Metro Portland, features five homes in a vineyard development on Pete’s Mountain in West Linn. It opens July 30 and runs through Aug. 28.

Tickets to view the work of all of the builders and design professionals are on sale now.

“The houses are all built and it’s up to us to place the pieces and stage them to bring most attention to the home as well as show everyone what we can do to the best of our abilities,” Hanson said.

Women in leadership conversation continues

Gayle Fitzpatrick.
Gayle Fitzpatrick.

The Center for American Progress estimates that, at the current rate of change, it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in our country.

In May, members of the Portland business community came together to share ideas about how to address the challenge of advancing women in business leadership and to press the discussion forward. For our next conversation, second in the series, we’ll welcome Gayle Fitzpatrick, vice president at New Relic, from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at the WeWork Custom House, 220 N.W. Eighth Ave., Portland, as we again bring together business professionals to drive action for advancing women in leadership.

Research shows that diverse business teams promote creativity, foster critical thinking, and tend to make better, more thoughtful decisions because they consider a wider range of perspectives. Join us for short discussions around ideas and strategies to advance women in business.

Mitzi Montoya, Sara Hart Kimball Dean of the College of Business, will provide opening remarks. Audrey Iffert-Saleem, the college’s executive director of strategic initiatives, will give a summary of the college’s efforts so far.

We’ll close out the evening with networking and semi-structured opportunities to exchange thoughts and explore collaboration on this topic.

Light hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served. RSVP requested, but not required. Please RSVP by Friday, Aug. 8.

For more information, please call 541-737-2551.




College of Business dominates Civil War Shark Tank

DiscJam founder Alex Dassise fires away with his throwable speaker.
DiscJam founder Alex Dassise fires away with his throwable speaker.

Teams of student entrepreneurs from the College of Business’ Austin Lab program closed their 2015-16 competition season by taking the top two spots at the fourth annual Civil War Shark Tank held recently at the University of Oregon.

Austin Lab is part of the college’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program, which aims to train startup-minded students in design thinking and innovation management and provide them with resources and mentorship.

Placing first in the Shark Tank were Alex Dassise and Spencer Kleweno, whose company, DiscJam, is a designer and manufacturer of flying speakers that incorporate an MP3 player and Bluetooth speaker into a throwable disc. DiscJam has begun selling a beta version of the product and is part of the summer 2016 cohort at the Advantage Accelerator, OSU’s business incubator.

Dassise, who just finished his freshman year, developed the product as a means of connecting and communicating with his younger brother, who’s autistic. Sales are under way on a beta version of the flying speakers, which are proving popular with college students. Dassise also hopes DiscJam will catch on in the autistic community, enabling autistic people and their loved ones to better engage with each other.

“Throw your favorite music” and “connect through music and motion” are two of the company’s slogans.

Coming in second were Steven Miller and Moriah Shay of Enterprising Education, which has already raised more than $30,000 to build a mobile makerspace and develop K-12 curriculum in science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and math. Miller and Shay intend to train undergraduates to run their own socially focused microenterprises that will provide experiential learning opportunities, mentorship and college preparatory resources to students in rural and/or lower-income school districts.

DiscJam took home $1,000 for finishing first, and Enterprising Education pocketed $650.

OSU students from the Entrepreneurship Club took the top three spots in the elevator-pitch competition held in conjunction with the shark tank.

“I am very proud of all of our students and I think this has been a great way to cap off our entrepreneurship competitions for 2016,” said Dale McCauley, program manager for the College of Business’ Austin Entrepreneurship Program.

The importance of design thinking

Ken Black fields questions from Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya during his May 19 Dean's Distinguished Lecture.
Ken Black fields questions from Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya during his May 19 Dean’s Distinguished Lecture.

Ken Black, vice president of Digital Design Future at Nike, told an audience of Oregon State students and others that the best way to be protective of your work is to be protective of your work relationships.

That was among the messages Black delivered May 19 during a Dean’s Distinguished Lecture at Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium.

Black believes strongly that design thinking is a critical part of a business education, and that students in all majors benefit from using a design-thinking, process-oriented technique for solving problems; taking a human/consumer-centered approach to innovation, one that puts observation and the discovery of human needs at the core of the process, is ultimately much more effective than jumping straight to a solution. It’s crucial, Black says, to always being asking “why”: Why would this idea benefit people, why does it matter, why would they be excited to pay hard-earned money for it, etc.?

Black’s lecture featured a Q-and-A format, with first Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya and then the audience asking questions of Black; the dean’s guest has held a variety of creative-director roles at Nike and also helped found SPARQ, a business (subsequently acquired by Nike) that created a standardized test for athleticism and sold training apparel, shoes and other gear.

Black, who grew up in Salem, talked of his love of basketball and how he’d hoped as a high school student to have a future in the sport, but when that didn’t pan out he fell back on another love and talent – drawing – to pursue a career as a designer. He now describes himself as an artist in a corporate world.

His points during his visit to Austin Hall included:

  • Everyone is a designer on some level.
  • Creativity is awareness.
  • With passion and resilience you can get through almost any challenge.
  • Business-oriented people, wherever you end up working, find a designer to be your best friend; and vice versa.
  • Have a strong vision of where you want to go and a flexible path for getting there.

Black also noted that his career highlights include working both with legendary Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield and with Michael Jordan himself.

Black earned a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design with Honors of Distinction from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

After the lecture, Black met with students individually.
After the lecture, Black met with students individually.

Panel looks at workplace diversity

Panelist Tim Hall addresses the audience while moderator Audrey Iffert-Saleem, left, and panelists Monica Baez, Lawrence Houston III and Angela Batista listen.
Panelist Tim Hall addresses the audience while moderator Audrey Iffert-Saleem, left, and panelists Monica Baez, Lawrence Houston III and Angela Batista listen.

Workplace diversity can bring inner conflict to an organization, but that’s a good thing as long as it’s managed in such a way that the diverse individuals, their team and the entire organization can use it as a tool for growth.

That was just one of many points made by Lawrence Houston III, assistant professor of management at the College of Business, during a May 20 panel discussion at Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium: “Diversity in the Workplace: What leaders need to know.”

Joining Houston on the panel were Angela Batista, Oregon State’s interim chief diversity officer, and two Oregon State alumni: Tim Hall, class of 1978, chairman of the President’s Board of Visitors for Community and Diversity at OSU, and Monica Baez, class of 1987, a State Farm agent and the owner of the Monica Baez Insurance Agency, Inc., in Corvallis.

Audrey Iffert-Saleem, executive director of strategic initiatives at the College of Business, moderated the 75-minute discussion, during which each panelist shared a range of personal and professional perspectives.

Hall, who’s had a long career in public relations/public affairs, noted that when he was enrolled at Oregon State, he was one of just a couple dozen black students on campus. Batista described a background that included arriving in New York as a child-immigrant from the Caribbean who spoke no English, and Baez recounted being told how she was likely to get certain jobs solely on the basis of being a female minority.

“How do you think that makes you feel?” she asked, referring to having her abilities deemed not as important as her gender or ethnicity.

Houston, who studies workplace diversity, said organizations need to make a point to explain the purpose of minority-focused programs, both to minorities and non-minorities. Understanding why programs are in place helps everyone accept them, and use them. Houston recalled how as a graduate student at Penn State, he purposely avoided minority-focused programs – he is black – because he was offended by what he perceived as the implication he couldn’t succeed without them.

Had the programs’ purpose been stated clearly, he said, Houston realized later that he likely would’ve taken advantage of some of them.

In the workplace, simply having people of different nationalities, ethnic groups, religions, etc. doesn’t by itself complete the diversity puzzle, he said.

“Inclusivity means people feel that they’re valued as well feeling like they belong,” Houston said.

Both Houston and Hall touched on effective hiring.

“Human resources departments do need to discriminate – that’s what they do,” he said. “It doesn’t do anyone any good for someone to be hired who can’t succeed. Organizations need to hire people who can do the job and then put them in positions where they can succeed and be promoted.”

Hall said experience has taught him that pretty much all people, regardless of their status or non-status as a minority, can handle not getting hired as long as they’ve gotten a real chance to compete for the job.

“The hiring process must be fair, equitable and honest,” he said. “Productivity suffers when workers see leaders embrace cronyism.”

What leaders need to do, Houston said, after following the type of hiring process Hall says is critical, is “create an environment where it’s OK to disagree” and then manage that disagreement in ways that foster growth.

Impact at Work highlights student success

Oregon State University President Ed Ray and Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya both noted the challenges and importance of accessing higher education May 2 during the College of Business’ Impact at Work event at the Portland Hilton and Executive Tower.

The reception and dinner, attended by 150, were aimed at honoring scholarship recipients and the donors who help fund their education.

Student success is a top initiative of both the college and the university. Ray pointed out that young people who grow up in families in the lowest quartile of income distribution have just a 9 percent chance of accessing higher education — that’s a better chance than 40 years ago, but only 3 percent better, and he and Montoya are determined to speed up the rate of improvement.

Montoya, who was a second-generation college student in her family, noted that when someone can break through and become the first person in his or her family to graduate from college, it changes the family for the better for generations.

Other speakers included Presidential Scholar Annemarie Lewandowski, a senior in management who will go to work for Boeing as a project manager following graduation, and Dean’s Council of Excellence member Ken Thrasher, former chief executive officer of Fred Meyer.

Lewandowski expressed gratitude for being able to graduate debt free, and Thrasher noted how he hadn’t planned on going to college until his mentor, legendary Portland businessman Bill Naito, helped make it possible — with the proviso that he work hard, do well and then similarly help others someday.

The evening also included recognition for six high school juniors selected for the College of Business’ Future Business Leader Scholarship.

Two honored by Greek life group

Two College of Business faculty members have been honored this term by the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life after having been a Greek organization’s nominee for faculty/professor of the term.

Alpha Chi Omega nominated Kathy Mullet, an associate professor of apparel design, and Chi Theta Phi nominated Sarah Mazur, a College of Business advisor.

Every quarter, each Greek organization on campus can nominate one faculty member for recognition, and also one student as scholar of the term.

Mullet and Mazur each received a framed certificate.

“Each chapter has their own way of deciding which professor they choose, but it is always a professor who they feel like is outstanding, leaves a positive impact on their members, and helps them succeed academically,” said Chloe Villagomez, the Panhellenic Executive Council’s vice president of scholarship.


Austin Hall hosts Career Expo

Nineteen companies, many of them hiring, and more than 200 College of Business students took part April 26 in the Business Career Expo held on three floors of Austin Hall.

The two-hour expo included a pair of workshops: “How to Get the Internship of Your Dreams,” by Jim Kuhlman of State Farm, and “Getting the Job You Want: Strategies for Successful Interviewing,” by Doug Rice of Enterprise Holdings.

The expo also featured networking as participating companies set up tables adjacent to the Bernard A. Newcomb Digital Commons on the second floor and to the Masterson Family Marketplace on the first floor.

Finance instructor Robert Longo was one of several faculty watching the goings-on. Longo said he had urged all of his students, especially graduating seniors who had not yet accepted a job offer, to attend the expo.

“Never miss an opportunity to network,” he said.

The companies that sent representatives to Austin Hall for the Business Career Expo were Daimler, Fisher Investments, Maxim Integrated, Moss-Adams, Northwestern Mutual, StateFarm, Tec Labs, TZ Medical, Zones, Ameriprise Financial, Apple, Brown & Brown Insurance, Country Financial, Foresters, Pacific Capital Resource Group, Pacific Seafood, Foodguys, and the Portland Trail Blazers.