Stepping into business

Senior business majors connect with alumni at Starbucks headquarters and Rosario

About 20 senior business majors, along with a few business faculty and staff, participated in the senior business trip on the weekend of April 15–18. The students were bussed to the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle for a tour and presentation and then traveled to the Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory where they explored the campus and listened to talks from five different Walla Walla University alumni. 

When they arrived in Seattle on Friday afternoon, the students received a tour of the Starbucks headquarters and listened to a presentation by Rachel Ruggeri, Starbucks global chief financial officer and executive vice president, who is also a WWU alum. 

Benjamin Wexler, senior business administration major with a concentration in marketing, attended the trip and said of Ruggeri’s presentation, “She dropped a lot of gems about career help and her journey to the top. It was a really interesting talk.” 

The trip was led by Lana Van Dorn, School of Business office manager, and Bruce Toews, School of Business dean. Toews was one of Ruggeri’s professors at WWU and said, “I vividly recall her sitting in the front row of the classroom, diligently taking notes, and asking lots of questions. This is a good reminder for us all to never be bashful about searching for understanding, and to never lose our sense of inquisitiveness and wonder about how the world works around us.”

Right after the Starbucks tour and presentation, the students piled back into the bus and drove to the Rosario campus where they heard from the following five different WWU alumni over the weekend who all have successful careers in various types of businesses: Abel Cruz ’91; Jeff Weijohn ’86 and his son Spencer ’16; and Paul Rhynard ’04 and his wife Deanne Rhynard ’04.

Wexler said his favorite part of the trip was listening to the presentation by Paul and Deanne Rhynard: “It was super personal and they really came prepared with some points that were valuable for us as we graduate. They stayed to eat lunch with us so we were able to converse and get to know them personally. That was the highlight for me.”

When not soaking up knowledge from successful WWU alumni, the students explored Rosario by going on hikes, looking for crabs, and watching dolphins swim by the coast. Wexler encouraged future senior business majors to take advantage of this annual trip. 

Posted on April 26, 2022