360 Review

Faculty, staff, alumni and advisors weigh in on Dean Jiambalvo and his enormous legacy

Neal Dempsey (BA 1964)
Managing General Partner, Bay Partners

“Jim came to the dean search committee with an incredible plan to improve the school. He has executed on every part of that plan. Bottom line is that he raised the money, built the facilities, improved the faculty dramatically, and the students came pouring in. It’s been a phenomenal 14 years. Fabulous hire.”

Dan S. Fulton (MBA 1976)
Retired President & CEO, Weyerhaeuser Company

“What Jim has accomplished during his tenure has been remarkable. He has demonstrated a clear, consistent vision of what the Foster School could be. He brings a quiet modesty but an intellectual curiosity and a lot of competitiveness. That’s been demonstrated in the growth that’s taken place within the school and in the increase in quality over time.”

Christina Fong
Senior Lecturer in Management

“What a pleasure it has been to teach leadership and management to our students with an incredibly authentic role model in such close proximity.”

Ken Denman (MBA 1986)
Former CEO, Emotient

“We all have an ego. I’m sure Jim does too. But he is one of those folks that I would describe as a ‘still-waters-run-deep’ kind of leader. He doesn’t do a lot of arm waving. He’s not aggrandizing. He’s focused on being a phenomenal administrator and hiring—and empowering—great people around him.”

Steve Buhaly (MBA 1984)
Retired CFO, Qorvo, Inc.

“Dr. Jiambalvo taught a management accounting class I took in 1983. I was impressed by the same things I have seen ever since: he is authentic, humble, friendly, has high standards and a commitment to steady improvement. It’s remarkable what 35 years of steady improvement have done for our school. The magic of compounding works in more places than just finance!”

Shelley Reynolds (BA 1987)
Chief Accounting Officer, VP & Controller, Amazon

“What I appreciate most about working with Jim is he’s an accountant at heart. It comes through frequently, which is kind of nice because most people don’t expect to see accountants out leading anything. Most often people seem to think they should be in the back room. But no, we’re out in front, too!”

Robert Christensen (BA 1979)
Retired President and CFO, PACCAR Inc

“The thing that’s always struck me about Jim is just his whole enthusiasm for the task at hand. He’s always positive, enthusiastic, energetic, thoughtful, a great communicator and collaborator, and very committed to the process of improving Foster and the University of Washington.”

Nate Miles (BA 1982)
VP of Strategic Initiatives, Eli Lilly & Co.

“What’s that character on TV, the Energizer Bunny? Jim Jiambalvo is the smoothest Energizer Bunny you will ever see. He’s got this very smooth way of going about getting you to do things, asking you to get engaged, asking you to help and getting you on the Jiambalvo team to be part of what’s going on.”

Mike Garvey (BA 1961, JD 1964)
Retired Chairman, Saltchuk

“Jim is a learning machine. From the time he became dean to today, he is constantly learning. You can see that in the growth of the sophistication of Foster programs, sophistication of our board meetings, sophistication of the way he deals with the business community.”

Kate Cullen
CFO, Husky Athletics

“Jim could always bring humility and humor to situations. He has this ability to disarm a room and relate to everybody. I’ve seen him talk to really diverse groups. He is always very approachable. It’s something I’ve really thought a lot about as I’ve been in more and more situations where I have to be that person who is the face of an organization.”

Artie Buerk (BA 1958)
Former Managing Director, Montlake Capital

“Jim is a great listener. You can sit down and discuss anything. He listens very carefully to what you have to say and, eventually, you see this stuff that you’ve talked about roll into the programs. His impact has been incredible. And he does it without any fanfare. That’s what I consider to be credibly authentic leadership. If I had to grade him, I’d give him an A+ on the job he’s done.”

Dan Turner
Associate Dean, Masters Programs

“We teach, as a business school, that enterprise is about value creation. But leadership is about people. Jim’s been a great ambassador for that idea.”

Steven Hatting
Associate Dean, Advancement

“Jim was newly appointed when I was interviewing to join Foster. When we wrapped up my interview, Jim told me, ‘We’re going to work hard and make great things happen. And we’re going to have fun doing it.’ I was hooked immediately. As a result, I’ve been able to see what authentic leadership and transformation look like up close. And it has been a lot of fun.”

Nancy Zevenbergen (BA 1981)
Founder and CIO, Zevenbergen Capital Investments

“I’ve been in business with Foster grads for 30 years and Jim was the first representative of the University of Washington to visit us at our office. What an honor that was to be recognized and celebrated by my institution. He’s been a huge supporter of women-owned business enterprises.”

Steve Sefcik
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs

“Had Jim not asked me to be the associate dean, there’s no way I would have taken the job. I was coming off five years in administration with the Technology Management MBA Program and I felt like it was time to get back into the faculty game. But he asked me. And I would never say no to Jim because I had so much confidence in his leadership and where he was going to take the school. It’s been fun to be on this ride with him for the last decade-plus.”

Gary Wipfler (BA 1981)
VP & Corporate Treasurer, Apple

“When we take on a position of leadership, stewardship is very, very important. It’s clear that Jim has embodied this and has left the Foster School much better than he found it.”

Naomi Sanchez
Assistant Dean, MBA Career Management

“Jim’s continual support has made the MBA Career Management office world-class. Having the results that we’ve had the last seven years is amazing. All that he promised me when I joined in 2011, he has fulfilled and surpassed. I could count on him during the most difficult times to help our students find their careers.”

Stein Kruse
President & CEO, Holland America Group

“It is remarkable to see the progress that the school has made under Jim’s leadership. Jim is a world-class leader. He’s passionate. He has used resources very wisely. He has grown the stature of the school. He has attracted world-class faculty and excellent staff. It takes a village, but Jim certainly has been the leader and the steward of that effort.”

Jean Choy (BA 1987, MBA 2007)
Associate Dean, Executive Education

“Jim is authentic and genuine. He can speak intelligently on almost any topic. He is worldly and culturally sensitive. He is smart and knows what he wants. He is generous with his time, talent, kind words and money. He works hard, appreciates his friends, loves his family. It says a lot about his character.”

Doug MacLachlan
Emeritus Professor of Marketing

“Having been a member of the Foster School faculty since 1970—almost 50 years—I can say without qualification that Jim Jiambalvo has been the best dean by far over that time, on any dimension one would care to mention.”

Pete Dukes
Emeritus Professor of Accounting

“Jim was reluctant at first to become a candidate for dean. The thing that impressed me about him is that once he decided he was going to apply, he was all in. He did his homework, then he developed a plan and he articulated it with confidence, energy and enthusiasm. After he was appointed, he made good on carrying out his plan. And the rest is history.”