A Big Bang for small business: Faces behind the figures

The Foster School’s Consulting and Business Development Center has generated $100 million in new revenue and created or retained 100,000 jobs across the state since its founding 20 years ago. Here are some of the faces behind those figures.

Creating Futures: Jessica Oscoy

Jessica Oscoy-libraryJessica Oscoy (BA 2014) was determined to realize the American dream.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Oscoy grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in Federal Way, working fast food jobs through high school to help the family make ends meet.

But she decided early in life to find real opportunity. Graduating with honors from her high school’s International Baccalaureate program, she was accepted into the Foster School as a Freshman Direct student.

Oscoy entered with drive and determination to build a successful business career, but the UW seemed intimidatingly vast at first. Then she found the Consulting and Business Development Center and took every opportunity it presented. She worked in the Center’s office, participated in student consulting projects and served as a summer intern serving three businesses in the Yakima Valley.

After graduation, Center director Michael Verchot introduced Oscoy to an advisory board member from UPS which led to her first career job as a data analyst, a perfect fit for her organizational prowess.

Now her capacity to support her family has increased dramatically. She has a career. A future. “I wouldn’t be in this position without the Center,” Oscoy says. “The experience and the connections have changed my life—and my family’s life.”

Mission Critical: Craig Dawson

Craig DawsonCraig Dawson (BA 1985) has been involved in the Consulting and Business Development Center from the beginning. Before the beginning, really.

Dawson served on Thad Spratlan’s precursor consulting teams while studying at Foster in the early ’80s. Retail Lockbox, the payment processing firm he co-founded in 1994, was one of its earliest consulting clients. And he joined the Center’s advisory board soon after.

Over the years, three teams of Foster students have delivered two strategic plans and a new product market analysis. And Dawson has expanded his own—and his co-founder’s—acumen through the Center’s intensive Minority Business Executive Program.

These engagements have helped Retail Lockbox become an industry leader and employer of 70 in Seattle’s Central Area, where Dawson recently moved his company headquarters into the former Urban League building.

His business shares the Center’s mission of building competitiveness and reinvesting in the community. “We used to market ourselves as a minority owned business,” says Dawson, a member of the Federal Reserve Board and Seattle Downtown Rotary. “We don’t anymore. What we’re working for, ultimately, is a world where businesses in our community compete on a level playing field with the larger economy. Retail Lockbox is showing how this experiment can work.”

Undergraduate Student Consulting Program
Georgette BhathenaGeorgette Bhathena (BA 2000)
Executive Director, Western Region Executive, Global Philanthropy
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“What I really loved about the Center was that I was able to take some of the things I was learning in the classroom at the Foster School and see a direct connection of applying that with a real business.”

Business Growth Collaborative Program
Nishit Mehta
Nishit Mehta
HyGen Pharmaceuticals, Inc

“The Center gives us the opportunity to learn at a world-class institution, which is not very common. I highly recommend it to any business owner. It is an honor to part of the Business Growth Collaborative.”

National Conference
Al Osborne
Al Osborne, PhD
Senior Associate Dean and Professor
UCLA Anderson School of Management

“The Center at the Foster School has found, I believe, an important niche in bringing together individuals from all over the country—indeed the world—that share a commitment to this kind of enlightened approach and a systemic view to learning best practices from one another so they, too, in their own way can build their own community and strengthen the possibilities of those citizens.”

Board Fellows Program
Heidi Henderson Lewis
Heidi Henderson-Lewis
Executive Director
Smilow Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club of King County

“We’re able to have Board Fellows students join our board and take on projects with strategic planning, marketing, whatever it may be that we need help with to make our organization better and stronger.”

Student Intern Program
Frichette winery
Shae & Greg Frichette
Frichette Winery

“Partnering with the Consulting and Business Development Center has been one of the best decisions we’ve made for our business. In a short amount of time, recommendations were made that significantly improved the experience we provide to our guests and our sales increased. The insight and business advice provided will ensure that our business is sustainable for our family for years to come.”

Minority Business Executive Program
Isa Forenza
Isa H. Forenza
Legacy Trading LLC

“This incredible opportunity helped me to become a better leader and to expand my business to additional countries. After such a wonderful experience, Legacy Trading LLC became a sponsor of the program to share the knowledge and help others to succeed in their industries.”

Business Certificate Program – Yakima
Oscar Espinoza_Kershaw
Oscar Espinoza
Assistant Production Supervisor
Kershaw Companies

“I learned a lot from this course, on how I look at a piece of fruit to thinking of the consumer when buying our product. Before I took these classes it was just putting a fruit in a box, no thought to it, but now after learning about the process that our team goes through to put a fresh piece of fruit into retail stores for the end consumer motivates you to do the best you can to satisfy the consumers’ needs.”

Brooke Spearmon (MBA 2009)
Store Development Services Manager
Shaun Spearmon (MBA 2011)
Partner Development Manager

“I was the first recipient of the African American Heritage MBA Endowed Scholarship back in 2008. Not only did the monetary award significantly help offset the enormous financial costs of pursuing an MB A full-time, but the professional and personal relationships I built as a result of my relationship with the center have resulted in jobs awarded, increased visibility within the Seattle business community, and even deep friendships.” – Brooke

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities the Center facilitated for me and I am privileged to now be in a position to pay it forward to future African American business leaders at the Foster School.” – Shaun

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