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.

Adopt-A-Grandparent Fall Carnival!

The Adopt-A-Grandparent program is getting off to a wonderful start this semester! Over 75 Whitman students are currently volunteering for the program, bringing smiles to the faces of residents at the Odd Fellows Home every week.

We had our first large event of the year, a fall carnival on October 3rd. Over 30 volunteers attended with their grandparents.  Included in the event were carnival games and activities such as face painting, a bean bag toss, and cotton candy. In addition, we were honored to have performances from all three of Whitman’s a cappella groups. Music and games were a hit amongst grandparents and volunteers!


I would like to thank the Testostertones, Schwa, and Sirens of Swank for their outstanding performances at the fall carnival. Also, thank you to Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma for setting up and manning booths and Abby Juhasz for taking photos throughout the event! You guys are awesome!


Overall, I am overjoyed to see such wonderful enthusiasm from this year’s volunteers and am impressed by everyone’s high level of dedication. Way to go AAG volunteers! Keep it up!

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

Women in Leadership Symposium: A Yearly Tradition!

On October 22 from 4pm-5:30pm in the Cordiner Foyer Whitman will host the annual Women in Leadership Symposium to celebrate and share the leadership achievements of three accomplished women in their respective fields. Co-sponsered by Colleen Willoughby ’55 and Whitman College, this event will also allow Whitman women the opportunity to connect with and ask questions of these inspirational individuals. Grace Chien, Kristen Eddings, and Heather Tarr bring years of experience in leadership in their careers and in their respective communities. Below is a brief biography of each of these accomplished women.

Grace Chien

Grace Chien

Prior to retiring, Grace Chien was the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Western Washington (GSWW).  During her tenure, GSWW provided an array of leadership programs to 26,000 girls through the guidance of 12,000 volunteers in western Washington.  Since retiring Grace has turned her full attention to her personal volunteer commitments and currently serves on the boards of the Group Health Foundation, the Washington Women’s Foundation, and the Washington Athletic Club.  An active member of Seattle Rotary #4, she also serves on the Seattle Rotary Service Foundation.  An alumnus of Leadership Tomorrow, she is a member of the Curriculum Committee.  She has also served as an appointee of the Governor on the Washington State Commission for National and Community Service which oversees Americorps program in the state.  Grace is a graduate of WSU and received her Juris Doctorate and Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington.  She is also an alumna of the Executive Development Institute and was recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as a Woman of Distinction in 2006 and by the Northwest Asian Weekly as a Woman of Color Empowered in 2007.  Grace and her husband are the proud parents of two adult daughters, one of whom got married in August and the other who started her PHD program this fall.  When she is not volunteering, Grace is working on getting in shape to run her first 10K, learning how to play golf, and traveling.  In 2015 she will be traveling to Buenos Aires with Habitat for Humanity to participate in her first build.

Kristen Eddings

Kristen (Eddings) Tetteh

Kristen Eddings directs communications for the Washington Global Health Alliance. She manages WGHA’s community partnership with the Seattle Sounders FC and brought a team delegation to observe global health projects in Tanzania. She co-founded WGHA’s Party for the Health of It (formerly Party with a Purpose) which engaged 3100 young people in global health. Kristen was honored by Seattle Met Magazine as the 2013 “Emerging Leader” in the Light a Fire awards and was recently named Seattle Pacific University’s “2015 Young Alumnus of the Year.” She was featured in the book, “Ten Ways to Change the World in Your 20s”. She shared a speaking platform with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and has spoken at events for World Vision, Seattle CityClub, Washington Women’s Foundation and the Northwest Development Officers Association.  She received a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Seattle Pacific University. Kristen and her husband Michael live in West Seattle with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Finnley.

Heather Tarr

Heather Tarr

Heather Tarr will enter her eleventh year at the helm of the Husky Softball team in 2015. Tarr has compiled an overall record of 401-179-1 with her alma mater. In 2014, UW made their 21st consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 10th straight under the leadership of Tarr. The Huskies hosted the Regional tournament for the 5th consecutive year and for a 6th time in Tarr’s 10 seasons. Tarr earned her 400th win after defeating Northwestern, 9-0 in five innings to make their seventh consecutive Super Regionals appearance. Tarr guided the Huskies to their ninth Super Regional berth in her tenure.
In 2012, Tarr led the Huskies to a 39-19 record and the right to host the NCAA Regional. UW went 3-0 in that regional and advanced to face No. 1 and Pac-12 foe Cal in Berkeley. It was the 19th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the Huskies.

Come and meet and engage with three phenomenal women leaders!