How the Purple and Gold Auction Allowed Six Alumni to Come “Full Circle”

The pandemic, more so than any other recent event, has highlighted our need for community. In an effort to bring together and support our own community, the UW Sales Program will be hosting, for the very first time, the Purple and Gold Auction on May 17-21st. The Purple and Gold Auction will establish a student scholarship fund to award financial assistance to students who display academic excellence in the classroom, professional commitment to the Sales Program, and are funding their education themselves.

The Purple and Gold Auction was born from a team of alumni and their desire to support a community that gave them so much, personally and professionally. This devoted group of six added three students to round out the team, and since then, the alumni group has spent their time planning the event, as well as mentoring students throughout the auction process. We connected with members of the team to talk about what drove their desire to come full circle with the Sales Program and give back with their time and expertise to get the Purple and Gold Auction off the ground.

For alumni Haley Olson (’18), Jean Blatchford (’13), Brittany Mulvihill (’10), and Megan Burkland (’15), a common theme that inspired their desire to launch this project was to give back and ensure the same opportunities they were afforded in the Sales Program were provided to current students.

As alumni, Haley and Jean now reflect on mentoring current students working on the auction team. Jean recognizes that “mentors have been more important than managers for me. Looking back, the mentors I worked with in the Sales Program and my career have been crucial in guiding my key decision making and critical thinking about my professional and personal growth.”

Now acting as the mentor, Haley is enjoying the opportunity to “build connections with students, watch them grow and learn best practices, as well as being able to coach them in my own best practices.”

This “small but mighty team” as Megan calls it is now in the home stretch and almost ready to launch this unique virtual auction. Whereas there have been plenty of obstacles to overcome, Megan highlights the collective “grit, perseverance and persistence from these students.”

Furthermore, Meagan notes just how rewarding it is “To see them blaze a trail that will help them develop their sales skills and will also give back to the program and future students through scholarships.”

The collective efforts of this team come to fruition on May 17th, and the auction is live until the 21st. The team has connected with local businesses, Sales Program sponsors, and individuals within the community to procure unique items like a Lake Union hot tub boat cruise, all the way to fan favorites like Husky Football tickets and a Ken Griffey Jr. signed bat.

We encourage anyone interested in bidding on these incredible items, all while giving back to the Sales Program, to register for the Purple and Gold Auction at

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