Washington Business Week (WBW) is an immersive week-long residential program that gives high school students the opportunity to explore potential career paths and develop business skills in a unique hands-on learning environment. Facilitated by business leaders and educators from around the state, the program features an interactive business simulation where students compete as industry professionals, launch their own company, and get practice facing real-world challenges.
Students have the option of three pathways: general business, healthcare, and manufacturing. Over its 41-year history, more than 60,000 students and over 6,000 business professionals have gone through a WBW program. This year’s WBW’s summer programs were held at Seattle University, Pacific Lutheran University, and Gonzaga University.
Salal has been supporting Washington Business Week for over a decade. This year we awarded $2,500 college scholarships to six students participating in the Healthcare pathway, for a total of $15,000! We also provided WBW with a crew of eight generous Salal employee volunteers, with at least one volunteer at each of the three session sites.
An Enriching Experience for Both Students & Volunteers
“It was one of the best weeks ever for me,” said Holly Holmquist, Senior Personal Financial Representative, Northgate Branch, of her WBW experience at Gonzaga. “Working with the kids and watching them grow so quickly and succeed was awesome. Also, getting to know and work closely with other professionals was wonderful.” Holly felt the experience enhanced her leadership skills.
Thania Lomeli, Personal Financial Representative, Northgate Branch, who volunteered at the Pacific Lutheran location, also had a highly positive experience. “Overall, I feel extremely grateful to be able to have met and helped guide very smart and funny high school students throughout the week,” Thania said. “I feel like [Washington Business Week] also helped with my communication skills when speaking to a large group of people. The students, without them realizing it, were able to teach me not to be afraid of trying something different in life.”
Sarah Pyle, PFR also from Northgate Branch, who volunteered at the Pacific Lutheran location, also came away from the week feeling her leadership skills had improved. “My biggest takeaway from this week was learning how to let go as a leader instead of being involved in every single step of a project,” Sarah said. “It was also fun to see the student CEOs learn the same lesson as the week went on!”
Like many of our volunteers, working with the kids was a highlight for Sarah. “My favorite thing about the week was getting to know my team of students. Even though I had a quiet team, I really loved watching them all get to know each other, accept each other, and learn how to work best together. It was truly inspiring!”