This September, principal and co-founder of GSBA member business Paladino & Co. Paul Paladino attended University of Washington Foster School of Business’s Minority Business Executive Program (MBEP), after being selected by GSBA to participate in the course.
The five-day intensive course was created over ten years ago to accelerate the growth of diverse suppliers to leading corporations by combining lectures, panels, interactive simulations, team exercises and more to provide minority business leaders with skills to advance their business. Graduates of the program average more than 10% of business revenue growth compared to their competition. Nearly 20 years ago, Paul co-founded Paladino & Co., a Seattle-based sustainability consulting firm which specializes in assisting architects, developers, corporations, and those in the public sector with cutting costs and improving functionality through sustainable design.
After completing the program, we caught up with Paul to hear about how the course has benifitted Paladino & Co.
GSBA: What did you enjoy about the program?
Paul: “(The program) provided a comprehensive curriculum which covered a host of business disciplines – all relevant to any business owner. (This included) finance, marketing, negotiations, communication, organizational change, and leadership. The format varied from lectures by the professors, to in-class discussions of advance readings, panel sessions with MBEP program alums, and challenging team exercises.
In addition to feeding us well throughout the day, I especially appreciated the social events hosted by the program: a happy hour, an offsite casual dinner, and a graduation dinner. These events gave us all a chance to get to know each other.”
GSBA: Did you have a chance to get to know your professors and peers?
Paul: “The students were a highly-engaged and driven group of about 27 current and aspiring business owners from all types of industries, mostly services and some providers of goods. The faculty were all distinguished experts in their disciplines, very smart and engaging, with true passions for their respective field. (They were) well-prepared and all had a great sense of humor.”
GSBA: How will what you learned help you and Paladino & Co.?
Paul: “I took away useful information and insight from all the sections. I particularly enjoyed the leadership section. I learned valuable take-away lessons, (such as how) we are more willing to do autopsies on failures and we’re too quick to be seduced by our success. Best-in-class performers are not seduced by their success, (but) they’re always asking how they can do better. We must study the successes with the same rigor we study problems.
Also, on developing a highly-engaged workforce, I discovered that high performance leads to satisfaction, and not the other way around. We have to help our people perform better, because when we help people to succeed, you give them genuine satisfaction.”
Alongside Paul, fellow GSBA Member Nat Stratton-Clarke of Café Flora and Floret was also selected to partake in the program. GSBA Members who’d like to attend the program must be LGBTBE Certified. Program tuition is covered by corporate sponsors.
MBEP prioritizes business owners from marginalized backgrounds, including people of color, LGBTQ community members, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and other minority groups. Applications for the 2020 session are due by May 1.