Jennifer Olsen (MBA ’05) has been named to the 2012 “40 under 40” list by the Puget Sound Business Journal. The award recognizes young business leaders for their leadership and civic contributions. Olsen is the founder of ResourcefulHR, a company she began in 2007 that focuses on human resources services in areas such as recruitment, leadership development, succession planning, policy development, employment law compliance, training, and employee relations.
Olsen also serves a board member for AHOPE for Children, a nonprofit in Ethiopia that provides human services and treatment to orphaned and vulnerable children who are HIV-positive. As the AIDS epidemic continues to decimate the population in Ethiopia, thousands of children become orphaned. AHOPE began as an orphanage and now provides holistic services to children who are HIV-positive.
After working 50-hour weeks for a large HR firm, Olsen returned to school to complete her MBA at the UW Bothell School of Business. Two years later, she founded her own firm. “It was about creating your own vision as oppose to having one handed to you,” Olsen says, “the vision was not just of what the company should be, but also the vision of creating a work-lifestyle balance and starting a family.” Olsen didn’t want to miss the soccer games and experience of raising her children.
Olsen credits her MBA education with helping her make the critical decisions that business owner faces. “There are a lot of similarities in for-profit business and nonprofit leadership,” she says. “You are trying to capture donor or customer attention and find ways to engage them with fewer resources than you had before. My experience as a student has given me that lens to appreciate all the details that go into making decisions. My perspective was crisper after I obtained my MBA.”
Faculty at the UW Bothell School of Business continue to support Olsen today, she says. “Even though I graduated seven years ago they continue to help me understand new issues and make connections for me. I don’t know if I would have received that level of attention and support at another campus. The professors care about your success long after you are a student. It is a lifelong relationship you form with your peers, professors, and the school itself.”