March 2012

Sarah Mensah balances life, work, play

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

0312_LiveWorkPlay_SarahMensah_01Sarah Mensah went to her first Trail Blazers game in 1976 with her father, an original season ticketholder. Now she’s the team’s COO, and one of the highest-ranking women in pro sports.

 

The sales solution

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

0312_Launch_4TellAmazon.com makes about $19,000 a minute on product recommendations: personalized suggestions that direct customers to products they might covet in addition to what they intended to buy. Now a Portland company is democratizing product recommendation services by developing faster, cheaper solutions accessible to midsize retailers.

 

The Con-way deal

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

0312_ByTheNumbers_Conway_02Since late 2010, Con-way, a trucking and logistics company, has been working on a master plan for a new mixed-use community in Northwest Portland.

 

Natural selection

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

0312_Tactics_04Betty Lou Carrier started making healthy snacks for her sons. Now Betty Lou's Inc. is a multi-million-dollar company.

 

Gearing up for hiring

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012
0312_InputGraph_05Oregon’s business leadership is feeling more upbeat than it has in the past four years.
 

The Best for 19 years

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

0312_EditorLetterOur venerable 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project turned 19 this year. Over the six years that I’ve been the editor of Oregon Business, I have been constantly heartened and amazed at the dedication to the project by Oregon companies, large and small.

 

100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon 2012 video

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

See interviews from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners to see what makes their company a great place to work.

 
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Editor's Letter: Power Play

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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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