MBA Research
Not-for-profit, research-based support for all Business Administration educators: entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, management/administration, and marketing.

Concurrent Sessions (Business Sessions)

Intrapreneurship: Applying Entrepreneurial Skills to Succeed Within Organizational Structures

We live in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), where highly repetitive and predictable tasks are automated and entire professions eradicated. Machines will soon write their own programs and talk among themselves. Job growth is predicted in areas where human capabilities are augmented by automation and machine intelligence. However, our education system was designed in the 19th century to produce a literate, obedient and replaceable workforce. Human resources were another ingredient to the assembly line. Today, employers seek creative, resilient, and risk-tolerant innovators. How do we future-proof the next generation to ensure it takes full advantage of this new reality? Participants in this workshop will leave with:

  • Practical lessons from bouncing between startup and corporate life
  • An understanding that the skills and traits that make up successful entrepreneurs are essential in any walk of life: taking ownership, building alliances, seeking help and applying feedback, motivating a team without direct authority and above all, working through challenging situations with grace and grit
  • An understanding of how an entrepreneurial mindset and ingenuity are desirable in any organizations, large and small, public, private, and non-profit. 


Vera Sell has worked in technology marketing for over 10 years. Vera worked at Tektronix for 5+ years as New Product Development Manager and Product Marketing Manager. In early 2016 Vera left Tektronix to join a promising cyber security software startup. There she led the company launch and early customer engagement to drive towards product-market fit for a cloud-based software product that uses machine learning to detect outlier behavior in Internet of Things (IoT) networks. Recently, Vera rejoined Tektronix as Software Solutions Manager to drive innovation, and bring emerging technologies to market. Earlier in her career, she held product management and marketing roles at Biamp Systems and Avnera. Vera actively participates in the Portland startup community; she served on the TiE Oregon Board of Directors, invested in local startups through TiE and Oregon Angel Fund, and is an avid champion of entrepreneurs. In addition to advising founders on venture financing, go-to-market strategy and digital marketing, Vera mentors high school students as part of the Catlin Gabel Startup Camp and TiE Young Entrepreneurs program. In an effort to pay it forward, Vera serves on the Portland State Graduate Alumni Ambassador Council, a hands-on board that connects the School of Business with local companies. Vera received her master's degree from Portland State University and her bachelor in International Business (double degree) from the University of Applied Sciences in Dresden, Germany and Plekhanov Academy of Economics, Moscow, Russia​.

Powerful PR Tactics to Promote a Student Business

Danny Rubin is a seasoned public relations professional who has worked with local, state, and national clients. He will share expert PR strategies to help students promote their startups and other entrepreneurial projects. In the practical, fast-moving session, Danny will teach how to:

  • ​Use key pieces of detail to make your business attractive to the media, potential partners, and donors/investors
  • Reach out to reporters and bloggers to encourage news coverage of a startup
  • Capture a reader's interest on a crowdfunding page
  • Write a memorable networking email on LinkedIn to a possible partner or influencer

The Ultimate Session on Employability Skills for Your Students

People with strong employability skills move ahead in their careers faster than the competition. In a hands-on workshop, communications expert Danny Rubin will give educators simple ways to teach in-demand “soft" skills so their students can write stellar emails, LinkedIn messages, and job applications.

After the session, educators will be able to show their students how to:

  • Apply for a job even if the company has no openings
  • Send effective LinkedIn connection requests
  • Ask someone to meet for advice or mentorship
  • Tell an unforgettable story of success as the intro to any cover letter

Danny Rubin is an award-winning author and speaker trusted by students and working professionals for his practical advice on writing, networking and interpersonal skills.

Danny’s two books, Wait, How Do I Write This Email? (ACTE supported) and Wait, How Do I Promote My Business?, cover more than 200 templates for networking/job search and spreading the word about your business.

Danny also leads hands-on workshops for schools, organizations and companies (ex: Public Relations Society of America, Southwest Airlines). For Danny, there’s no greater feeling than to see others succeed using his communication methods. As he always says, “Write well, open doors!”

Learn more at and follow him on Twitter at @DannyHRubin. 

Behind the Scenes of Vancouver's Waterfront Makeover

The Port of Vancouver USA is actively redeveloping 10 acres of waterfront property it owns just west of the Interstate Bridge in Vancouver, Washington. Known as Terminal 1, the site is the port's birthplace on the Columbia River and is one of several projects underway that will transform Vancouver's waterfront. When fully developed, the port's project will provide office, retail, and commercial space; a public marketplace; a hotel; residential apartments; low- and high-dock access; restaurants; and a connection to the city's popular Renaissance Trail. At full build-out, Terminal 1 is expected to provide nearly 950,000 square feet of new mixed-use development, create 800 new jobs to support commercial activity, drive construction investment of more than $200 million, and generate nearly $93 million in state and local taxes over a 25-year period. The port's project manager, Jonathan Eder, will discuss the project and show conceptual drawings of what is envisioned for the site.  Jonathan will also talk about staffing a project of this magnitude and the economic impact projected for the greater Vancouver area based on the redevelopment.

Jonathan Eder was hired as the Director of Human Resources for the Port of Vancouver USA in May 2007 and serves on the port's Executive Leadership Team. His responsibilities include managing all human resources functions including compensation, benefits, recruitment, employee and labor relations, organizational development, training, compliance, and retirement plans. He was named Project Manager for the port's waterfront project in 2015. 

Will Four Be a Crowd? The Expanding Hotel Scene on the Vancouver, Washington Waterfront

Join Mike McLeod, General Manager of our host hotel, the Hilton Vancouver Washington, and a winner of Hilton's prestigious "Genius of the And" award, as he shares his vision for an expanded hotel market on the Vancouver waterfront, even when that means direct competition for him and his team at the Hilton Vancouver. Find out how Mike and his staff maintain the "and" attitude in marketing and managing this hotel, and how they are preparing to welcome the competition (potentially three more hotels) and maintain their reputation as the premier place to stay in Downtown Vancouver near the waterfront. Participants in this session will acquire knowledge pertaining to:

  • Branding
  • Market segmentation
  • Leadership by example
  • Capitalizing on the competition
  • Recruiting for success

As the General Manager of Hilton Vancouver Washington, Mike McLeod oversees the day-to-day operations of the 226-room hotel and Convention Center with nearly 200 full- and part-time team members. The hotel is managed by Hilton but municipally owned by the Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA), which is a public authority created by the City of Vancouver when the hotel was built in 2005.

Evolving Strategies for Teaching and Learning in an Era of Innovation

Meredith will share her journey from high school teacher to entrepreneur. This interactive session offers participants extensive curriculum materials on economics and innovation. In addition, participants will engage in a brainstorm and discussion on a few of the questions that prompted Meredith to leave the classroom and start her own company. These questions include:

  • How do we bridge the divide between school and the world?
  • How do we prepare students for jobs that have not yet been invented?
  • How do we move beyond weekend-long competition models for teaching entrepreneurship?
  • How can we make work-based learning experiences a win-win for students and host organizations?
  • How might we make learning more public and community-oriented?
  • How can we help students translate success in the classroom to success in the working world?

Meredith Goddard has a decade of high school teaching experience in public and private schools. Most recently, Meredith spent five years at Catlin Gabel School where she started the school's economics program, created a new 9th grade social studies curriculum, directed Senior Projects, and co-founded Startup Camp, a weekend-long entrepreneurship challenge open to all Portland area high school students. Meredith is passionate about breaking down the barriers between school and the world. She left the classroom to launch  Five Years In to provide young people with the skills, experiences, and online presence needed to thrive in the innovation economy.

Pitch Perfect!

Dave Barcos knows what it takes to get the attention of investors. The founder of The Bridge Incubator and The Startup Brand works closely with startup companies and angel investment groups, which puts him in a unique position to understand what investors are looking for in startups and how to prepare entrepreneurs for that all important pitch. Dave will touch on key parts of the pitch process such as:

  • Making the investor connection
  • The value proposition
  • The business model
  • Competitive analysis
  • Brand communication
  • Communicating the strength of your team

Dave Barcos is a major influencer in shaping the startup community in Vancouver. Besides founding The Bridge Incubator, The Startup Brand, and Startup VanCo, he is the lead organizer for Portland's 1 Million Cups event which is designed to empower local startup communities. Before coming to Vancouver, Dave had roots in the San Francisco Bay Area where he was also active in the startup scene.

It Takes a Village: The Value of Community in Entrepreneurship

Join Rick Turoczy, known as Portland's startup guru, as he talks about the unique entrepreneurial community in Portland. In his own words, "Portland is driven by a culture of curiosity, craft, and collaboration. People here are intrigued by problems and seek solutions regardless of whether there is a viable business model or a promise of funding. Members of the community are also always willing to help one another. Portland is very much a "rising water floats all boats" rather than a "winner takes all" sort of community." Don't miss this session as Rick shares insights gathered over a span of two decades and countless ventures which have helped shape Portland's distinctive startup culture. 

Rick Turoczy has been working with startups in the Portland area for more than 20 years. He has blogged about the Portland startup community on Silicon Florist for a decade--even though numerous people have begged him to stop. That blog has randomly led to Rick speaking all over; writing for one of the top tech blogs in the world; judging startups for SXSW for more than five years; being named to the Portland Business Journal's "Forty under 40" and "2014 Small Business Advocate of the Year"; being elected to the boards of the Technology Association of Oregon and Oregon Entrepreneurs Network; advising the City of Portland on startups; cofounding a startup accelerator with the help of Wieden+Kennedy; cofounding another accelerator with Oregon Film; cofounding an event which Fortune called "the next SXSW"; and cofounding a digital magazine called Built Oregon. All of these accomplishments led to him writing an open-source book on startup accelerators that enables anyone, anywhere, to start an accelerator of their own--among other things.

Understanding and Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace: Helping Students Prepare for What Is in Store for Them

Generational differences in the workplace are some of the top challenges affecting working environments today. Join Dr. Alan Cabelly as he helps us understand the opportunities of workplaces filled with multiple generations. Through this presentation, audience members will learn about key factors influencing members of different generations, what different generations want out of work, and how members of different age groups can fully value and appreciate one another. Managing generational differences effectively can help improve productivity, job satisfaction, and corporate culture. Don't miss this opportunity to better understand dynamics taking place in businesses across the U.S. and the globe. 

Alan Cabelly (Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, University of Washington) has been a Human Resource Management faculty member at Portland State University since 1980. He teaches Leadership and Human Resource Management at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels, as well as to many groups nationally and internationally. He teaches actively around the world, most recently in Vietnam, France, China, and Germany. These and other diverse travel experiences allow him to bring unique approaches to his work.

Riding the Wave of Success - Starting and Managing a Business That Went Viral

In 2016, Lainey Morse and a friend collaborated on an idea that went viral across the globe. The idea had to do with goats. And yoga. On a farm called No Regrets. Her concept has garnered international attention, media interviews, and book offers. Join us as Lainey shares her story of success. She'll talk about how she is managing this wave of growth, including how she scaled up her operations, what challenges and obstacles she encountered, types of lessons she learned, and her strategy for long-term success. Attendees will come away with an understanding of how to manage and navigate rapid growth in business. 

Lainey Morse is originally from Michigan, but has lived in Oregon for the past 10 years where she has worked in marketing and freelance photography. She now works full-time on developing her new-found businesses Goat Yoga and Your Daily Goat to make dreams come true for everyone.

What People Want from Work - Top Trends Influencing Employer Strategies

Retaining and attracting top talent will be two of the biggest challenges facing companies over the next decade. Thoughtful leaders and organizations build strategy around holding on to their greatest asset - their people. They succeed by cultivating organizational effectiveness, providing fulfilling work and offering effective reward systems. This session will describe the key leadership activities in defining a workplace culture and creating and fostering a work environment that retains high performers. 

Presented by Suzi Alligood, SPHR, SCP. Suzi's background consists of 20 years of experience with expertise in: management of human resource departments, compliance with multiple state employment requirements, coordination of mergers & acquisitions, resolution of complex employee relations issues, third party investigation of workplace complaints, and development of employee and management training programs.

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