Atkinson Alumni Inspired Conversations

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"Dealing Practically with Uncertainty" - April 27, 2012 - Presented Online and In-Person (WU Portland Center) - Learn More

New lines of business.  Competition from new players.  Technological innovation.  These actions create uncertainty, and many organizations are not prepared to deal with it.  In fact, organizations often have procedures and requirements that, in the name of stability, render it impossible to make intelligent decisions about what to do next.  In this session we'll discuss how to be effective in the face of uncertainty, mixing entrepreneurial expertise and strategies on how to work around barriers in a way that your organization might actually support.


Rob Wiltbank Willamette Entrepreneurship Workshop Dr. Rob Wiltbank is Associate Professor of Strategic Management for the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. Professor Wiltbank is a former Partner with Buerk Dale Victor LLC, a Seattle based venture capital fund, teaches Non Profit Governance, an executive course with National Arts Strategies designed for NFP leaders and board members around effective board governance, Business Policy and a capstone course in comprehensive business strategy as well as other courses.

Webinar Library

Click on the links below to view past webinars and alumni conversations.  For current Alumni Conversation events and activities, please click here.

"Guerilla Finance for Business" - February 17, 2012

Expert trainer and Executive Development Center regular, John Hynes, makes clear what leaders need to understand about their organization’s financial model to succeed in today’s business environment.


John Hynes Willamette Financial Workshop John Hynes (MSEE, MBA), co-founder, has used his financial skills to design production optimization models for heavy manufacturing clients, analyze the profitability of business and marketing plans, perform due diligence on targeted acquisitions, and determine the valuation of businesses. He developed and facilitates Excidian's Business Finance programs for a broad range of clients, including Willamette University's Executive Development Center.

"Building Sustainable Enterprises and Communities inToday's Increasingly Complex World" - November 11, 2011

Willamette experts discuss what they are learning about the ever more important realm of ‘sustainability’ as it affects businesses, governments, and communities. Listen in as they discuss important takeaways for addressing the challenges of creating sustainable outcomes in an increasingly complex world.


Darcy Winslow Darcy Winslow (Program Director, Sustainable Enterprise Certificate) has been a pioneer and active practitioner of sustainability frameworks and principles, exploring and experimenting with the application of these to all aspects of business. Darcy worked at Nike, Inc. for over 20 years and held several senior management positions within the business. She most recently served as General Manager for Nike's Global Women's Fitness Business and as Senior Advisor to the Nike Foundation, which seeks to empower disadvantaged girls ages 10 to 19 years, through poverty alleviation and creating economic livelihood opportunities
Elliot Maltz Elliot Maltz received his MBA from the University of California at Davis and his Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to coming to the Atkinson School he taught for 6 years at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. His teaching and research interests include marketing strategy, new product planning, supply chain planning, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. He has recently developed curriculum for sustainability management at the Atkinson school. Elliot has won numerous awards for outstanding scholarship and exemplary teaching and service over the last decade.
Robin Morris Collin Robin Morris Collin is a professor of law at Willamette University College of Law in Oregon. She was awarded the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in 2001 and the Judith Ramaley Award from the Oregon Campus Compact for civic engagement in sustainability in 2009. Her latest publications include "Restoration and Redemption" in Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril (a collection including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Barack Obama, and others, 2010), and the Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Environment and Ecology, Business and Economics, Equity and Fairness (coauthored with Robert William Collin, 2010).
Anne Murray Allen Willamette University Anne Murray Allen (Host) has spent her career as an industry executive and as an educator pursuing the questions like "How do we create and sustain healthy performance-based organizations?" Currently Director of the Executive Development Center and a Contributing Faculty member within the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, she has helped develop the Sustainable Enterprise Certificate program over the last three years and lectures extensively on creating and supporting conditions that sustain collaborative social networks in organizations and communities. Anne will be moderating this conversation.

Sustainable Enterprise Certificate Program - February, March and April 2011

Drew Jones

February 2010 - "Systemic Implications of Climate Change," presented by Andrew P. Jones (Drew) of the Sustainability Institute. His primary commitment is contributing to breakthroughs in climate change strategy internationally and within the U.S.

LINK to a recording of the webinar

Norman Miller

March 2010 - "Climate Change and the Water Cycle," by Norman Miller, a Staff Scientist in the Climate Science Department at Berkeley National Laboratory, and an Adjunct Professor in the Geography Department at the University of California, Berkeley and in the Hydrology and Water Resources Department at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

LINK to a recording of the webinar

Robert Swan

April 2010 - "What the Antarctic Treaty Can Teach Us," by Robert Swan, polar explorer, environmental leader and the first man ever to walk to both the North and South poles.

LINK to a recording of the webinar

Drew Jones

February 2011 - "Systemic Implications of Climate Change," presented by Andrew P. Jones (Drew) of the Sustainability Institute.

LINK to a recording of the webinar

Otto Scharmer

March 2011 - Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT, the founding chair of the Presencing Institute, and a founding member of the MIT Green Hub. Scharmer has consulted with global companies, international institutions, and governments in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has co-designed and delivered award-winning business leadership programs for client firms including Daimler, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fujitsu, and Google. He also facilitates cross-sector programs for leaders in business, government, and civil society that focus on building people’s collective capacity to achieve profound innovation and change.

LINK to a recording of the webinar

Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is best known for directing four feature documentary films: DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (2002), BLINDSIGHT (2006), WASTE LAND (2010) and COUNTDOWN TO ZERO (2010). Her two most recent movies both premiered at Sundance 2010 – the first time a documentary director has had two feature films in one year at this festival. COUNTDOWN TO ZERO, a terrifying exposé of the present-day threat of nuclear terrorism and proliferation, premiered at Sundance 2010 and played in Official Selection at Cannes before being released in the US by Magnolia Pictures to tremendous acclaim.

Link to a recording of the webinar

Alumni Finance Workshops - January, February 2011 

Inflation, Business Cycles and the Economy
Saturday January 29, 2011

Segment One: To understand the role of aggregate supply and demand in generating both inflation and business cycles.

Why does the economy grow at an uneven pace? Supply and demand are the primary tools of economic analysis, and an understanding of aggregate supply and demand within the entire economy can help to explain these fluctuating growth rates. Changes in both supply and demand that can lead to inflation will be explored, as well as the role that each plays in economic growth. Inflation will be defined and examined on a technical level, as will business cycle activity. Different macroeconomic schools of thought, and how they have interpreted these cycles and the variables that cause these cycles, will be examined.

Segment Two: Understand the role the Federal Reserve plays in the economy, with specific reference to inflation and business cycles.

How do banks create money? Credit expansion under a fractional reserve banking system is a central part of our economy, and requires the creation of the Federal Reserve to oversee this system. The Federal Reserve fulfills a unique role, attempting to promote sustainable growth while keeping inflation and unemployment at acceptable levels. The manner in which the Federal Reserve attempts to minimize the volatility of the business cycle, by controlling the money supply, has been the source of much criticism. An understanding of the Federal Reserve’s interaction with the economy at large can help in evaluating these arguments.

Link to a recording of the webinar:  "Inflation, Business Cycles and the Economy"

The Credit Crisis: Origins and Aftermath
Saturday, February 5, 2011 

Segment One: Understand the numerous actors and divergent trends that culminated in the severe downturn in 2007-2008.

A bubble and subsequent decline in home prices in the United States ultimately led to the near failure of the entire global financial system. This tightly coupled web will be unwound piece by piece. The role of banking institutions, securitization, derivatives and an excess of global savings will be explored. The changing activities undertaken by banking institutions and the rise of the shadow banking system will also be covered. Focus will also be placed upon the relationships between banking and shadow banking systems, both as counterparties on transactions and as sources of overnight funding, and how this system created a run on the shadow banking system and the possibility of a run on the banking system for the first time since the Depression.

Segment Two: Understand the role that the federal government played in the crisis, in the form of regulation, the Federal Reserve, and government sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae.

Did congressional law set the stage for the boom in subprime lending by expanding the mandate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Did the Federal Reserve ignite the cheap credit boom by leaving interest rates too low for too long in the aftermath of the tech bubble? In response to the financial crisis of 2007, the United States Government has now passed the most far reaching financial regulatory bill since the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act in the wake of the Great Depression. Given the vast array of financial activities that the Dodd-Frank bill is intended to cover, its impact is uncertain, and its potential effectiveness is still unknown. Have we learned to regulate more intelligently in the last 70 years, or is history destined to repeat itself?

Link to a recording of the webinar:  "The Credit Crisis:  Origins and Aftermath"

Globalization and its Discontents
Saturday, February 12, 2011

Segment One: Define globalization and understand its impact on both developing and developed countries.

Has globalization been a benefit to the developing world, or is it merely a modern version of imperialism designed to promote Western ideals? Has globalization cost the developed world jobs, or has it helped it to move into higher value added activities? Propaganda, and often riots, seems to accompany globalization talks wherever they are held. With the global economy becoming increasingly integrated, is it too late to undo any of the effects of globalization, and should we want to?

Segment Two: Understand the cycle of international capital flows, export led growth, and currency crises.

Much has been made of the current pattern of deficit and surplus nations. These conflicts have grown sharper as Greece slid close to default, and rumors of tariff wars and competitive devaluations circulate. How did this pattern of savings and consumption develop? What can we learn from the 1997 Asian and other currency crises about the result when the pattern reverses? The conflict between China and the United States provides a good example for analysis, and understanding these issues can help promote sensible debate on this contentious topic.

Link to a recording of the webinar:  "Globalization and its Discontents"

About the Presenter - Alex Russell, Contributing Assistant Professor

Alex Russell

Since 2004, Alex Russell has worked along a broad spectrum of the world of finance. In the Oregon Department of Revenue, he gained an intimate knowledge of compliance rules and their application. For Merrill Lynch, he supported a team of financial advisors while working in a class-action lawsuit. At Bates Private Capital, Alex managed a team of analysts to create investment strategies and product solutions for institutional and individual clients.  

When LECG, LLC acquired Bates, Alex shifted his focus to structured products and securities issues. Alex now advises Fortune 500 companies, state and national government agencies, and various international institutions on asset management, product design, and accurate measurement of performance. Alex is a Certified Fraud Examiner recognized by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Visit Alex Russell's Faculty Website