college of business

OSU’s Becker-Blease honored as “Rising Star” from Aspen Institute

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University faculty member John Becker-Blease, an expert on gender equality and social justice in the workplace, has been named the 2011 Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer in the Rising Star category.

Becker-Blease, an assistant professor of finance in the College of Business at OSU, will be honored at an event in New York City on Oct. 21. He is the first professor in Oregon to be honored with this award.

Named “the Oscars of the business school world” by the Financial Times, the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Pioneer Awards celebrate educators who have demonstrated leadership and risk-taking in integrating social and environmental issues into academic research, educational programs and business practice.

“I am fortunate to be a part of OSU’s College of Business, where pioneering research into sustainable business practices and the economic importance of corporate social behavior are so highly valued and thoroughly integrated into our MBA curriculum,” Becker-Blease said.

Nominations are open to all faculty members at any institution worldwide offering a graduate management degree. Becker-Blease was picked out of a field of 84 nominees from around the world.

Becker-Blease’s research has examined gender differences in executive dismissals at large public corporations and the media coverage surrounding these dismissals. He has also co-authored award-winning research into women entrepreneurs’ access to early-stage capital and the role gender diversity plays in investment decisions of venture capital groups.

Becker-Blease has also developed an influential curriculum that infuses social responsibility into a traditional MBA corporate finance course.

“The research is pretty clear that being a good corporate citizen is not just good for stakeholders, but is typically good for the company’s bottom line as well,” Becker-Blease said. “We take this a step further and show students where and how to find these valuable opportunities.”

Becker-Blease holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Oregon and degrees in history from the University of New Hampshire and in finance and insurance from the University of Florida.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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John Becker-Blease

Founding president of Starbucks to speak at OSU Oct. 5

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Howard Behar, the founding president of Starbucks International, will give a free public lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Oregon State University, where he will speak about putting people first in a consumer-oriented business.

Part of the College of Business’ Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, the event begins at 7 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.

Behar’s talk, “It’s Not about the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks,” will address how he helped created the Starbucks brand and culture, which he says stresses the importance of people over profits. He will share his 10 principles that guided his leadership and success.

Behar recently retired from Starbucks after 21 years where he led both the domestic business, as president of North America operations, and was the founding president of Starbucks International. During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from only 28 stores to more than 15,000 stores spanning five continents.

Author of a book on leadership titled, “It's Not About the Coffee,” Behar serves on several boards of for-profit and non-profit organizations.

A resident of Mercer Island, Wash., Behar enjoys spending time with his wife Lynn, his children and his five grandchildren.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Howard Behar
Howard Behar

OSU business professors’ paper honored by CASE

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A journal article by Oregon State University researchers Jim McAlexander and Hal Koenig on brand communities in higher education has been selected for the Alice L. Beeman Award for Outstanding Published Scholarship by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

The award was for their 2010 paper published in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education.

In the paper, more than 2,000 alumni of colleges and universities from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were surveyed by OSU’s Close to the Customer Project, which is directed by McAlexander and Koenig. The Close to the Customer Project provides professional market research and consulting services delivered by faculty and student teams.

In this paper, the researchers found that alumni of smaller schools have more positive feelings about their education than those at large schools. These small-school alumni also tend to maintain closer connections with their faculty, advisers, and institutional leadership than the graduates of larger schools.  However, they found no evidence that alumni had stronger or weaker connections to the school’s brand based on institution size, nor did alumni from smaller schools report having more satisfying interactions with their alumni peers.

“We are pleased and honored that our research efforts to help advancement professionals build better and stronger relationships with alumni are gaining respect and are having positive impacts,” said McAlexander, a professor of marketing at OSU.

“As academics we understand the tremendous importance and value of maintaining supportive and vital relationships with our alumni,” he added. “As our research demonstrates, the university and its alumni are both well served when we can foster mutually valued and supportive relationships with our alumni.”

For more information on the Building Community Initiative, go to: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/c2cbci/

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Jim McAlexander, 541-737-3182

Stereotypes can affect how women “angels” invest, according to new study

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Stereotypes about gender affect investment decision-making, even among successful women, researchers concluded in a new study on how gender affects investing strategies.

Examining angel funds, or groups of wealthy investors who pool resources to make investments into a diverse array of start-up businesses, researchers found that the proportion of women angel investors in a group is related to the number of investments made by the group. When women comprised more than 10 percent of the investment group, their presence became associated with increased investments.

John Becker-Blease, of Oregon State University, and Jeff Sohl, of the University of New Hampshire , co-authored the study, which is out in the July issue of the journal Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice.

“It is well-documented that women are, on average, more cautious investors than men and so we expected to find that the higher the proportion of women in the angel groups, the less likely the angel group was to make an investment,” said Becker-Blease, an assistant professor of finance in OSU’s College of Business.

However, the study results surprised them.

“Contrary to our expectations, we found that only when women were in a very small minority was their presence associated with a decrease in investments,” Becker-Blease said.

The researchers said this phenomenon could be related to something psychologists call “stereotype threat.” According to this theory, when a stereotype exists about a person, that person will behave in a manner consistent with that stereotype when they are in a situation that highlights, or accentuates, this aspect of their status, whether that is gender, race or ethnicity.

Becker-Blease cited a past study that showed Asian female students performed relatively well on a math exam when their ethnic status was highlighted, and relatively poorly when their gender status was highlighted. Becker-Blease and Sohl believe something similar might be happening in angel groups.

“When there is only a handful of women participating in these groups, their status as women, who are less aggressive investors, induces greater reluctance to invest,” Becker-Blease said, “but as the proportion of women increases, women investors are made less aware of their status, and invest with greater confidence.”

According to Becker-Blease, these results are provocative and speak to the potential benefits of having more women investors participate in these important sources of funding for new businesses.

Media Contact: 

John Becker-Blease, 541-737-6061

OSU’s College of Business hires executive director for industry relations

PORTLAND, Ore. – Pam Knowles, an Oregon State University alumna and Portland business leader with more than 25 years of professional experience, has been named the executive director for industry relations for the College of Business at Oregon State University.

Based out of both Portland and Corvallis, Knowles is responsible for establishing and sustaining relationships with potential employers and corporate partners to strengthen opportunities for students and alumni and also building effective partnerships to support the college’s research and programs.

“Pam understands where business and education intersect and the value of the partnerships between the college and industry, business, and government,” said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “With the investment in this position, the connections and experience that Pam brings, and the existing relationships we have, the College of Business is positioned to have a greater impact in Oregon businesses, communities, and the economy.”

Knowles was most recently the managing director for the Oregon Zoo Foundation. Previously, Knowles was a partner in the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine where she focused on employment issues for business. She was the chief operating officer and general counsel for the Portland Business Alliance for more than five years. Knowles also has served as the development and marketing director at Portland Center Stage and as the executive director for the Judicial Fitness Commission.

“I am looking forward to strengthening current relationships and building new ones to match opportunities in business and industry with our students, alumni and the college programs,” Knowles said. “These relationships are valuable and important to all of the stakeholders involved.”

In 2009, Knowles was elected to the Portland Public Schools Board of Directors, a group she now co-chairs. Other volunteer activities have included the board of directors of the Portland Business Alliance Charitable Institute, Nike School Innovation Fund, Oregon State Alumni Association, and the State of Oregon Commission on Childcare.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Pam Knowles
Pam Knowles

Smaller companies hit hardest during emerging market crises

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of the reaction by the United States stock market to international financial crises shows that small companies are often hit hardest, and the impact is above and beyond what would be expected given their exposure to global market factors.

This unexpected result suggests the significant impact that investors’ actions can have during emerging market crises. During these crises, investors flee to the perceived safety of big companies and shed stocks of smaller companies, despite comparable levels of international exposure during normal periods.

“The take-away is, just because you invest locally doesn’t mean you are protected from the global market,” said David Berger, an assistant professor of finance at Oregon State University.

Looking at almost 20 years of data that covered about eight large emerging market crashes, Berger and H.J. Turtle of Washington State University uncovered this flight-from-risk trend on the part of investors that flee from small stocks. The results are published in the current issue of the Global Finance Journal.

“We would expect that stock markets in two different, but related economies would crash at the same time,” Berger said. “But we found that during big market crashes, investors adjust their holdings towards bigger corporate stocks that they perceive as being safer, even after controlling for economic exposures.”

Berger said the results of his study are unexpected because past research has focused on the aggregate U.S. market as a whole and found little impact during emerging market crises.

“Investors see these big blue chip stocks as the safer ones, and small, R&D intensive stocks for example, as riskier,” Berger said. “So the stock of a smaller domestic company could take a hit because of an international shock.”

Berger studies U.S. equity markets and international stocks, and said the findings from this study have important implications for investors, even those who tend to invest mainly in the domestic market.

“Interestingly, larger stocks often benefited from emerging market crises and exhibited positive returns,” Berger added. “Because investors started dumping smaller stocks in favor of safer, larger ones, the irony is that larger multinational corporations potentially see positive benefits during international crises.”

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OSU’s College of Business announces director for Austin Family Business Program

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Julianna Sowash, an Oregon State University alumna and former executive director of the Oregon Executive Masters in Business Administration program, has been named director of the Austin Family Business Program in OSU’s College of Business.

Sowash brings more than 15 years of experience at OEMBA, the financially self-supporting joint graduate business program of Oregon’s three largest state universities.

“Julianna’s experience in providing leadership, development and growth in higher education programs will be an asset to the Austin Family Business Program,” said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “I worked closely with her when she was the OEMBA executive director and was continually impressed with her professionalism and ability to navigate complex relationships to benefit a variety of audiences and the bottom line.”

Under Sowash’s leadership, the executive MBA program grew to annually serve 90 students, 900 alumni and 35 contracted faculty members. In addition to her role as the executive director at the OEMBA, she has also has experience working in higher education at the University of San Diego, where she also earned her master’s in business administration.

For the past year, Sowash was the vice president of operations at DePaolo Equine Concepts, a family owned nutraceutical company specializing in equine health. While there, she responsible for the strategic planning, product development, marketing planning and compliance with industry and federal regulations.

“I am excited to again be back in higher education and a part of the OSU community,” Sowash said. “I am a third-generation Oregon Stater and my experience as a student at the university helped shape my career and deep commitment to community.”

“This role is an ideal fit for my professional background and aspirations,” she added. “I understand and recognize the role that family businesses play in our economy, specifically in the Northwest region, and it is essential that they not only succeed, but thrive.”

As the Austin Family Business Program director, Sowash is also the A.E. Coleman Chair in Family Business. The endowed chair honors the founder of A.E. Coleman Jewelers, a Corvallis family business since 1927, and assures sustained entrepreneurial leadership for the program.

The OSU College of Business also will soon begin a search for a director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. The position, to be vacated at the end of the academic year, will direct the program in promoting and leading entrepreneurship and innovation research, education and new venture development and commercialization across the OSU campus and throughout Oregon. Kleinsorge will serve as the interim director and will also lead the search for a new director.

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program is a university-based family business program providing inspiration, education, outreach, and research to support the success and survival of family businesses. The program prepares family businesses to balance the well-being of the business, the family and individuals, as they address the challenges and opportunities which inevitably arise, day-to-day and during succession.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Julianna Sowash

Entrepreneur to discuss water, energy conservation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Entrepreneur Fred Ziari will explore water and energy conservation in a presentation on Thursday, May 19, at Oregon State University.

The free public talk is titled “Do What is in Front of You,” and will be at noon at the Construction & Engineering Hall of the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus. It is part of the Entrepreneurs in Residence Lecture Series.

Ziari, founder of four separate companies, has helped save billions of gallons of water and hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours of electricity. His innovations focus on water and energy conservation, broadband wireless, “smart home” technologies and other areas. He also founded Farmers Ending Hunger, a nonprofit organization that last year provided more than two million pounds of food products to various Oregon food banks.

In addition to the public event, Ziari will be available at a faculty luncheon on May 19 at 1:30 p.m. and a fireside chat with students at 3 p.m. To participate in either event, contact Mary McKillop at mary.mckillop@bus.oregonstate.edu or call 541-713-8044.       

The lecture series is presented by the Austin Entrepreneurship Program and the College of Agricultural Sciences, and supported by the Roger and Sharon Detering Agricultural Entrepreneurship Fund.

Media Contact: 

Mary McKillop, 541-713-8044

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Fred Ziari
Fred Ziari

Alumni and Business Partner Awards honor business achievements

PORTLAND, Ore. – Prominent business leaders from around the country were honored on Tuesday during the Oregon State University College of Business’ Alumni and Business Partner Awards, which was held at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

The annual event recognizes outstanding professional achievements and service by the OSU College of Business alumni and business partners.

The 2011 award winners were:

• Hall of Fame: Patricia Bedient (’75), executive vice president and chief financial officer, Weyerhaeuser

• Distinguished Business Professional: Steve Gomo (’74), executive vice president and chief financial officer, NetApp Inc.

• Distinguished Early Career Business Professional: Ryan Smith (’95), chief financial officer, Nike Golf

• Distinguished Young Business Professional: Rachel Todd (MBA ’08), vice president, Clinical Services & Specialty Practices, Samaritan Health Services

• Distinguished Business Partner: Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, Mark Kralj, principal

• Distinguished Service Award: Brigadier General Al Guidotti (’56), Boeing (retired)

The event was sponsored by the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

Five high school teachers awarded Outstanding High School Educator Award

PORTLAND, Ore. – Five exceptional high school teachers from Portland, Rockaway Beach, Lake Oswego, Gold Beach and Vancouver, Wash. are this year’s recipients of the Outstanding High School Educator Award.

The awards are sponsored by Oregon State University’s College of Business and the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers.

Honorees will be recognized at Oregon State University’s 2011 College of Business Alumni & Business Partner Awards dinner on Tuesday, May 3, in Portland. Each will receive a $500 award to use in advancing educational programs at their school.

The annual awards recognize high school educators whose efforts have improved student achievement, used innovative and exemplary instructional strategies and enhanced student learning. Winners were selected based on their philosophy in teaching and how their efforts improved education in innovative ways.

Nominations were submitted from throughout Oregon and southwest Washington and were made by students, fellow teachers and administrators.

“We believe that education, especially at the high school level, provides the building blocks of leadership and evaluation, as well as the inspiration for future achievement,” said Steve Clark, president of the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers.

The following teachers will receive this year’s Outstanding High School Educator Awards:

  • Gretchen Anthony has taught at Gold Beach High School on the Oregon coast for more than 21 years. She is known for instilling complex mathematics subjects through creative techniques, including guest speakers to illustrate career opportunities and the role of mathematics in the business world.
  • Diana Bledsoe is a teacher at Legacy High School in Vancouver, Wash., where she helps at-risk students retain essential life skills and meet graduation requirements. Her varied courses incorporate student interest in writing, culture and history that create a learning atmosphere of motivation, curiosity and engagement.
  • Elena Garcia-Velasco has developed and implemented a rigorous college-bound philosophy among students at Roosevelt High School in Portland. She teaches advanced placement classes for native Spanish- and English-speaking students.
  • Beth Gienger of Neah-Kah-Nie High School in Rockaway Beach has been a science teacher for 27 years and continually inspires students with her expertise in marine biology. She has taken students to numerous science competitions and has won championships.
  • Terry Moore, a teacher at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, is known for using innovative instructional methods at to help students understand difficult mathematics concepts. He has inspired students to become doctors, lawyers, business leaders, teachers, mathematicians and even a Rhodes Scholar.
Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695