How do you create change…in the world…in your community…in the marketplace?

It starts with the pitch – a transitive verb meaning to present or advertise… to attempt to persuade… to present for consideration.

It is the What, the Why and the How of the change you wish to create.  It is the essential information you will share about your creation with those you wish to draw into your change – collaborators, community partners, investors, et cetera.   It is your “elevator speech” – the introduction to your “start-up” project – and it’s vital to have a pitch that will engage your audience.

In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Whitman College is collaborating with Walla Walla University, Walla Walla Community College, area high schools and the Chamber of Commerce to host a pitch competition.  Inspired by the television show Shark Tank, the Pitch It! Competition will include a preliminary round of events at each of the local campuses followed by a community-wide competitive event in which winners from each of the campus competitions will Pitch for the Grand Prize – a $500 package to help them advance their concept.

Pitch it logo

In addition to the community prize, Whitman alumnus and Trilogy Equity Partners partner Scott Alderman ’90 has offered a prize for the winner of the Whitman campus event.  Scott will host a lunch in Seattle for the Whitman winner and the CEO from one of the companies Trilogy is currently funding.  The Student Engagement Center will provide travel funds to Seattle for the winning student(s).

All you need is a 2-minute concept pitch for a panel of 3-5 judges – no restrictions on the subject of your pitch, so you can really innovate.  Your pitch will be judged on: the viability of your concept, the content of your pitch and your preparedness for the panel questions.


Schedule of events:

Wednesday, November 13th | Whitman Pitch It! competition – preliminary event

5:00-6:30 PM | Kimball Auditorium


Tuesday, November 18th | Walla Walla Community Pitch It! competition – final event

6:00-7:30 PM | Olin 130 Auditorium

**winner from the Whitman event on the 13th will progress to the community event


For more information about the contest, contact Kim Rolfe, Director for Business Engagement in the Student Engagement Center.

Got an idea for a new service, product or business? Pitch It!

A collective group of schools from around the Walla Walla Valley have joined forces to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) November 17-23, 2014.  GEW is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators, who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

A team has assembled from Whitman, Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University, College Place High School, Walla Walla High School and the WWV Chamber of Commerce to plan the GEW events that will take place the week of November 17th in and around Walla Walla.

This year, themed “Pitch It!” and inspired by the TV show, Shark Tank, the competition will provide a vehicle for students to design and develop innovative business concepts.  The Pitch It! Competition will challenge students to create a realistic business model for their entrepreneurial idea.  Each institution will host a judged preliminary competition prior to the community event.

The winning idea/student(s) from each institution will progress to the community-wide Pitch It! Competition and Reception on Tuesday, November 18th at Olin Auditorium in Olin Hall on the Whitman College campus.  The event will be held at 6:30PM.

Students will work in 1-2 person teams to create a 7 minute concept pitch to present following the guidelines below to a panel of judges hand chosen from the Walla Walla Valley business community:

  • The first 2 minutes are for the elevator speech portion of the pitch.  Therefore, judges are not to ask questions or otherwise interrupt.
  • The remaining 5 minutes are for the judges to ask questions and for the team to address any concerns
  • At the seven-minute mark, the official timekeeper will notify the participants and the judges that time is up

Judges may address several areas of the business idea/concept in their questioning including topics such as description of service, how the business will generate revenue, ownership model, customer targets, resources, capital needs and more.

The schedule is as follows and all events are open to the public.

Walla Walla University
Pitch It – Wednesday, November 12th @ 2:00 PM

Walla Walla Community College
Pitch It -Thursday, November 13th – 2:00 PM Room 185 A&B

College Place High School
Pitch It – Thursday, November 6th @5:00 PM in the Davis Elementary Gym

Walla Walla High School
Pitch It – Tuesday, November 4th @ 5:00PM in the Wa-Hi Commons

Whitman College
Pitch It – Thursday, November 13th @ 5:00 PM in Kimball Auditorium

To learn more visit:

For More information please contact:
Contact: Kimberly Rolfe, Director for Business Engagement, Whitman College

Social Entrepreneurship Clinic – Tuesday Session

Date: April 1, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Maxey 306

How-to Use Ambiguity to Power Change

Despite crushing student loans and a miserable job market, this Millennial Generation is the most socially conscious, most globally aware and most actively committed to careers of conscience to come along in decades. College students and young professionals are eager to confront some of the world’s most intractable problems – a deteriorating environment, implacable poverty, persistent gender discrimination, institutional racism and more.

What are the non-negotiable social change skill sets that a newly-minted young professional – and I’m specifically thinking of you – needs to learn on his or her first job?

Whitman Social Entrepreneurship Clinic

Whitman Social Entrepreneurship Clinic

Jonathan Lewis

Whitman College
Saturday and Sunday March 29th and 30th
Monday and Tuesday evening March 31st and April 1st

Do you dream of a more sustainable and just world?

This series of interactive workshops will teach you how to take those ideas and turn them into real organizations to make that change possible! We’re calling on Whitman change-makers to join a small group of engaged visionaries taught by national expert, innovator and thought leader Jonathan C. Lewis.

Thanks to a very generous gift by an anonymous donor, this Clinic will be **FREE** to Whitman students who participate!

Program Details and Schedule

View the Whitman Social Entrepreneurship Clinic Syllabus Here
Find out more about the Social Entrepreneurship Clinic

Saturday: Customizing Your Social Impact Education

11:00 am – 12:30 pm – Part I
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Part II
4:00pm – 5:30 pm – Part III

Sunday: The Art of Raising Social Impact Money

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm – Part I
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Part II

Monday March 31, 7:00pm – Session VI: How to Convert Your Convictions Into A Career

Tuesday April 1, 7:00pm – Session VII: How-to Use Ambiguity To Pioneer Change

Pre-registration required. Please contact Assistant Dean Noah Leavitt ( to reserve your spot or with any questions about this Clinic.

Background and Resources

Read more about Jonathan Lewis – his thoughts, and his projects:


cafe impact

Oppty Collab
What is social entrepreneurship? If the following pieces speak to you, you want to be at this Clinic!



Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship Symposium

Entrepreneurship and a Whitman Education

Inaugural Symposium held on Friday, February 15th

The first of its kind, Whitman brings you “Entrepreneurship and a Whitman Education”, a symposium designed to bring together successful alumni from around the country to discuss how their Whitman education served as an important foundation for building their organizations.


Ashifi Gogo

Noon – Keynote: Ashifi Gogo ’05

Ashifi Gogo holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and a BA in Mathematics and Physics from Whitman College. He is Dartmouth’s first-ever PhD Innovation Fellow. Ashifi serves as CEO of Sproxil and is an expert in end-consumer authentication technologies. He is Six Sigma Black Belt certified in Good Manufacturing Practice and Continuous Process Improvement. Ashifi previously co-founded VSOL, a VoIP company that provides telephone services to the administration of a 24,000-student university in Ghana. The Clinton Foundation, USAID, GSVC Berkeley, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network, NCIIA Venture Well and Nokia have all acknowledged his work through a variety of prizes and fellowships.

1:00 – 1:15 Break

Students are cordially invited to attend both of the afternoon sessions if they do not conflict with any Friday afternoon class obligations.

1:15 – 2:30 Panel 1: Liberal arts and Innovation

Lisa TaylorLisa Taylor ’08

Lisa Taylor graduated from Whitman with a major in musical performance (piano). She now works as the Marketing Manager at Redfin, “a company of real estate agents and software engineers working together to reinvent real estate in your favor.” Learn more about Redfin on their website.

Scott Alderman

Scott Alderman ’90

Scott Alderman is the President of Trilogy Equity Partners. Previously, Mr. Alderman spent eleven years at Western Wireless, where he was instrumental in securing spectrum assets that enabled the growth of Voicestream Wireless, which was spun out of Western in 1999 and later became T-Mobile. He has a BA degree from Whitman and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Moira Gresham

Professor Moira Gresham, Physics, Whitman College

Professor Gresham is a theoretical particle physicist and cosmologist. Her research centers on the fundamental – in the sense of irreducible – constituents of matter and their interactions, and on the primordial universe. Read more on her homepage.

Katrina RobertsProfessor Katrina Roberts, English, Whitman College

Professor Roberts, a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is the Mina Schwabacher Professor of English and the Humanities at Whitman, where she directs the Visiting Writers Reading Series. She and her husband, Jeremy Barker, an artist and distiller native to Walla Walla, are the proprietors of and winemakers for Tytonidae Cellars, which they started in 2003, as well as founders of the Walla Walla Distilling Company.


Moderator: David McGaughey ’13

David McGaughey is a senior at Whitman, majoring in Gender Studies. He is in the process of developing his own business, “Amaku Cultures”, selling kombucha (read more in this Pio article). He is also working with the Washington Small Business Development Center in Walla Walla as a Whitman Community Fellow this year.

2:30 – 2:45 Break

2:45 – 4:00 Panel 2: For-profit? Non-profit? Does it matter?

Geoff ArcherProfessor Geoff Archer, Royal Roads University, Victoria BC

Dr. Geoff Archer is an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Management, the Director of the Eric C. Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, and the Faculty Advisor for Royal Roads’ Chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). Geoff has about fifteen years of entrepreneurial work experience as both a principal and an adviser. Immediately prior to entering academia, he worked as an intrapreneur, starting businesses inside of ExxonMobil, Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo!, Inc.

Katie MasferrerKatie Masferrer ’03

Katie Masferrer majored in Psychology and minored in Art and Geology at Whitman. Following a Peace Corps deployment to Cajamarca, Peru she founded MEJOR Communities in 2007. MEJORC is a nonprofit organization aimed at inspiring leadership among youth in rural Peruvian communities. She has since served as the Executive Director, a project manager, and treasurer of the organization.

Justin Hayashi ’09

Justin Hayashi is the Marketing Business Manager at zulily, which is regarded as one of Seattle’s fastest growing startups. Prior to joining zulily, he spent two years in Boeing’s business leadership development program, where his experiences included re-designing the 787′s supply chain, developing the sales strategy for the Asia Pacific region, and presenting fleet recommendations to various airlines.

Sarah CronkModerator: Sarah Cronk ’15

Sarah Cronk is a sophomore at Whitman, where she is a Senior Resident in Anderson Hall. While in high school, Sarah founded “The Sparkle Effect”, a student-run program that empowers teens nationwide to include students with disabilities in school-based cheerleading and dance programs. In August 2011, Sarah garnered the $100,000 grand prize at the 2011 Do Something Awards.

4:00 – 4:10 Closing Comments and Wrap-up with Professor Lee Sanning

Professor Lee Sanning (Economics) has degrees from Hanover College (BA Chemistry); University of Wyoming (M.S.); and Indiana University (M.B., Ph.D. Finance). His research interests include Executive Compensation, Corporate Malfeasance, Trading Strategies, and Wine Investments. His research has been featured in Money Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, among others. Before coming to Whitman he worked as a consultant in several industries and was a small-business owner.

4:15 – 5:00 Reception and Networking Event. Open to all participants, attendees and community.

Sponsored by the Student Engagement Center and the Provost & Dean of Faculty’s Office