The power of people and actions: Impact at Work 2018

Brought together by a common thread of generosity and commitment to the College of Business, as well as the unique story of each and every student and alumni, we marked our fourth annual Impact at Work lunch at The Nines in Portland.

More than 200 guests came together in The Nines, including the 70 College of Business students who made the trip to Portland to express their thanks in person, and share details of their own life experiences to celebrate the power of people and actions.

Distinguished College of Business and OSU alumnus Duane McDougall, ’74, gave the keynote address, speaking spoke to students about the importance and power of positive actions. After a long career in the forestry industry, McDougall has turned to service after his retirement as CEO – with OSU being a primary benefactor.

But he also had a start with a scholarship, $300, which, “back in those days was enough for two terms,” McDougall said.

McDougall shared the story of his career and final days in the corporate world. As CEO of Willamette Industries, McDougall had spent nearly two years fending off a hostile takeover from a rival corporation. “It was the second longest defense against takeover in corporate history,” McDougall said. “I’m not bitter about it, not in the least,” McDougall jokes with the audience about his final hours at CEO of the company where he spent more than two decades of his career.

McDougall was fired, he tells us, at age 50 after he lost the takeover battle. Starting a scholarship fund for OSU students with his CEO severance settlement helped him swallow that bitter pill, as well as his involvement on numerous community and corporate boards.

“Why do I give back to the community, the school, the people?” McDougall said. “Because seeing these actions actually changing people’s lives is so rewarding. It’s a rewarding experience, and I am grateful for it.”

McDougall and his wife, of all their philanthropic activities, find that funding students makes the most direct impact. “Think about something to support scholarships,” he said.

Following McDougall’s address, MBA student Kathleen Ryan, a recipient of the JD Powers Fellowship, spoke about her career and ambitions in the nonprofit sector. After more than ten years as the Executive Director for Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center 2005, Ryan recognized the value and prestige of an MBA. However, her choice to be a leader in the nonprofit sector put costs just out of reach.

In her address, Ryan joked about presenting balance sheets to her board during her early days of leaderships, and one board member remarking that “balance sheets are supposed to be balanced.”

The JD Powers Fellowship is marked for women leaders, and with the degree Ryan will continue her pursuit of her three life passions: conservation, leadership and mentorship.

“I know that I thrive as a leader, and this fellowship allows me to take my leadership skills to the next level,” Ryan said. “I have learned so much about running a business through trial and error, which is experiential education at its finest. But now I will also be able to build my academic foundation in core business fundamentals like finance and marketing. I am thrilled to be a student of OSU’s hybrid MBA program in Bend.”

Among the many thank-you notes scattered across tables was Markus Francis’s note, recipient of the Mary E. Berger scholarship and Accounting Excellence scholarship and the first in his family to attend college.

He wrote that he’s is able to free up time for his family and professional development because of the awards. “Your donation has helped me and my daughter move into university housing, which eliminates an hour-and-a-half of travel each school day,” Francis said. “I intend to use the saved time for additional study and to engage in the International Managerial Accounting Association to build my professionalism.”