PSU Leadership program provides management training through community-based learning
Author: School of Business Administration
Posted: February 27, 2013

Innovation starts at Portland State University’s (PSU) School of Business Administration (SBA) because PSU’s professors know how to teach innovation. Part of Impact Entrepreneurs, the SBA’s Business Leadership Program (BLP) offers highly customized management trainings in business fundamentals, social innovation and leadership effectiveness, providing employees with additional skills and perspective to improve their organization's financial, social and environmental performance.

Tailored to meet the unique needs of each participating organization, the program provides customized management training to high-potential staff at corporations such as The Standard and Blount International.

Last April, The Standard partnered with the BLP program to complete a service leadership project with Portland Habilitation Center Northwest (PHCNW), a 60-year old nonprofit organization that provides education, training and job opportunities for thousands of people with developmental, physical and mental disabilities. The team was tasked to build awareness and consideration of Ready Public charter school among prospective students and their families.

“It was a great opportunity to learn about things outside of my expertise, while applying skills within my expertise,” said Stephanie Hilgendorf, manager of the Standard’s Claims Quality Assurance area. “I have expanded my network within Standard and gained a better understanding of how the other divisions in my company function."

Beyond gaining understanding within The Standard, employees gained valuable perspective about what it’s like to work in other sectors. “I also learned that nonprofits have to be very creative and resourceful to accomplish goals, as they often do not have all of the tools and resources available to best complete a job,” said Stephanie. "The dedication and drive of those involved with PHCNW is amazing and they really care about helping others in the community. I learned that you can accomplish much more than you ever thought possible, as long as you have the motivation and are willing to spend the time and effort to achieve your goals.”

Lead by Carolyn McKnight, director of the leadership curriculum for Portland State University’s MBA program, BLP topics include best practices and the latest trends in financial management, process improvement, project management, marketing, social innovation, critical thinking and leadership. Classes are taught by professors from the School of Business.

If you’re interested in partnering with the BLP, contact Impact Entrepreneurs at for more information.