Welcoming the 2023 Pollard Fellows to Seattle

In its fifth year, the Bill Pollard Faith & Business Research Fellowship continues to attract interest from business leaders, scholars, and practitioners around the globe. The fellowship provides selected scholars and business practitioners the opportunity to conduct research for scholarship, classroom usage, and leadership reflection. In February of this year, the Pollard Faith & Business Fellowship Committee extended invitations to five scholars across three different countries to join the 2023 Pollard Fellows cohort.

Following two months of virtual meetings to discuss CFB Fellow and Founding Director Al Erisman’s book, The ServiceMaster Story: Navigating Tensions Between People and Profit, the Center for Faithfull Business was honored to welcome this year’s Pollard Fellows to Seattle. This year’s fellows came from as far as Henley Business School, in the United Kingdom, and as close as Everett, Washington. This year’s fellows’ research interests include studying how organizations make “good’ people do “bad” things, preventing organizational mission drift, and more. One scholar is pulling from Bill Pollard’s writings to develop curriculum for a national professional network.

As part of their week-long research residency, fellows were introduced to the Work and Faith Collection in SPU’s Ames Library, including more than 2,000 books and resources addressing the ministry-in-daily-life movement; they were invited to explore the Pollard Papers archives, also hosted at SPU’s Library; and they took part in engaging discussions on the work of Bill Pollard over shared meals on campus and around the greater Seattle area.

The School of Government, Business, and Economics generously hosted lunch for our scholars one afternoon, offering fellows the opportunity to interact with SBGE faculty, staff, and members of the Executive Advisory Board. Following an introduction from SBGE Dean Ross Stewart, the stimulating lunchtime conversation included an opportunity to hear from two SBGE student workers on how their time at SPU has supported integrate their faith growth in ways that integrate with their studies.

Taking an afternoon break, some of our scholars partook in some delicious coffee and baked goods from local bakery, Byen Bakeri, hearing some of the local business’s history, how it has navigated pandemic restrictions and changes in ownership, and its engagement with the local community.

On our last morning together, the Pollard fellows were invited to meet virtually with Patricia Asp, who served as an executive with ServiceMaster for 25 years. Mrs. Asp kindly shared from her experience as a ServiceMaster executive and generously responded to fellows’ questions on board selection, faith integration, leadership styles across different CEOs, and the impact of their leadership styles on the wider organization.

“ServiceMaster is a group of ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” Mrs. Asp shared.

It was truly an honor hosting this year’s Pollard Scholars in Seattle, and we look forward to receiving their research papers next January. Those who are interested in applying for the 2024 Pollard Fellowship are invited to learn more at the Center for Faithfull Business website.

Each year, the Center invites the previous year’s winning paper back to campus to share their work. We are excited to share that Dr. Susan E. Brownlee’s paper, “ServiceMaster as an Exemplar of Spiritual Leadership,” was selected as the 2022 Pollard Scholars winning paper. Dr. Brownlee will visit Seattle on November 9, 2023 to present her paper.

Center for Faithful Business

Seattle Pacific University

Dr. JoAnn Flett, Executive Director



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