From left, Dean Chip Hunter, NBoA member Dave Grant, Emily Ward and Katherine Brandenstine, Engage cofounders.

Power Breakfast keynote speaker Brad Jackson, Slalom CEO and co-founder.

Big Ideas Shared at the 2016 Power Breakfast

If Slalom Chief Executive Officer and cofounder Brad Jackson asks one of his employees “So what’s the big idea?” there’s no cause for alarm. That’s because all Slalom employees are encouraged, if not expected, to share their business ideas and contribute to the firm’s culture of embracing different thoughts, opinions, and people.

As a former information technology manager, Jackson (’85 Accounting) knew he wanted a career in which people were humble and accepting of others’ big ideas. He envisioned a true consulting company focused on outcomes and always doing what is right while inspiring passion and celebrating authenticity.

Based on those and other core values, he cofounded Slalom, an organically-grown business and technology firm with more than $800 million in revenues and more than 4,000 team members—each dedicated to serving others.

Personally, Jackson’s service to others includes a strong commitment to Washington State University.
In addition to serving as a WSU Foundation trustee and as a member of the Carson College National Board of Advisors, Jackson agreed to be the keynote speaker at the 2016 PowerBreakfast.

Steve Kost, Ernst & Young accounting manager, takes the mic to share his big idea.

Voicing big ideas

During his address, Jackson challenged participants to publicly voice their big ideas. “Often with a really big idea—if you just start—it will turn into something grand,” he said.

“The two things that will change your life are writing down and sharing your ideas and seeking feedback on how well you are living the principles in your life.”

He asked each guest to share a business idea in 10 words or less with table mates, who then voted to send one person to the stage to share an idea with the larger audience.

A long line stretched from one corner of the room to the other as guests became excited to share and perhaps voice their entrepreneurial ideas for the first time. The result: more than 25 business concepts with global and local impacts.

A sampling of global business ventures included underwater, self-sustaining homes; self-washing cars; and a tax revenue plan that would reduce malaria transmission; curing or treating every mentally ill person in the world; and eradicating homelessness.

Members of the audience participating in the Power Breakfast idea sharing exercise.

Inspirations at the local level included helping veterans transition from the private sector to public employment; creating the best business network for WSU alumni in the next five years; living a sustainable lifestyle and teaching others how to do it; Apps that help people manage time and guide tourists; and a consulting firm to help small farms with government regulations.

Loving work and life

After the applause died down and people returned to their seats, Jackson shared some of Slalom’s best business practices that have earned the company a consistent reputation as one of the best places to work, including being named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

“We measure how well we are living our values by asking our team members as well as our clients,” he said. “What is unique about Slalom is our focus on vision that someday everyone in the world will love their work and life.”

The WSU Carson College of Business Power Breakfast speaker series continues to inform, inspire, and engage Seattle‑area business leaders on contemporary business issues.