Creating Leaders for Life at the CEO Mentality Workshop

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


BOTHELL, Wash. – Saturday morning the UW Bothell Eastside Leadership Center was abuzz with the energetic vibe of success. Students arrived early, eager to learn from some of the brightest minds in business.

Participants were there to take part in the CEO Mentality ™ workshop, offered through the UW Bothell School of Business. The workshop featured three prominent CEOs, each sharing their insights into what it takes to be successful in business, and in life.

Director of the UW Bothell School of Business Sandeep Krishnamurthy described the vision for the program

“Business schools have become great training ground for analysts,” Krishnamurthy said. “What we are trying to do is create leaders. What is exciting about this program is that CEOs are the teachers of important life lessons. We want to motivate students to change their behavior and in doing so, change their life trajectory.”

This program is in collaboration with CEO and founder of Solavei Ryan Wuerch, who coined and trademarked the term CEO Mentality ™. Wuerch is well known for his proven leadership as CEO, chairman, and key visionary for both Solavei and Motricity, as well as numerous roles within other innovative and future-orientated businesses.

Wuerch said the CEO Mentality ™ workshop was designed to impart valuable nuggets of wisdom students can hold onto, and then use during the course of their careers.

“There is a goldmine of information,” he said. “I just want them to take with them a few nuggets that they find meaningful.”

Through a variety of stories, analogies and candid details about personal highs and lows, speakers generously shared their experiences. Though they each had their own take on success, the similarities were striking. All agreed the CEO Mentality ™ is not a get-rich-quick formula, but a consistent, long-term commitment to excellence.

Wuerch told the group the CEO Mentality ™ applies to every job imaginable. He stressed the importance of taking pride in ones work, whether people seem to notice or not. The results, he promised, would be promotion and prosperity.

UW Bothell sophomore Elizabeth Smith said she felt fortunate to be in the presence of greatness, and would be taking home more than a few treasures.

“Attending the CEO Mentality ™ today was really inspiring to me, and will motivate me,” Smith said.

Smith snapped up several pearls of wisdom, but said she appreciated one gem in particular.

“We heard that if we don’t fail occasionally it means we aren’t being aggressive enough,” Smith said. “We learned failure is just part of the process. If these successful people have made mistakes, then that gives me the courage to try new things and take risks, too.”

Wuerch said he tries to use specific examples from his own life that students can adapt and apply to their own goals.

One personal story he shared was about the importance of being open to the perspective of others. He explained to the group that he grew up without a lot of money. Even so, his parents still made the weekends special. On Friday nights his mother would make chocolate milkshakes and popcorn. Then they would sit down as a family and do 1,500-piece jigsaw puzzles.

“I took it very seriously,” Wuerch admitted to the group. “I would have a single piece in my hand for what seemed like hours, trying to find its place. Then my little sister would come and stand over my shoulder, and say, ‘it goes right there.’”

While Weurch found it aggravating, the lesson he learned was worth its weight in gold.

“Was she smarter than me? No, but she had a different perspective,” Wuerch said. “Take yourself out of the picture, and try to see things from a different perspective.”

Wuerch explained that the CEO Mentality is all about being willing to hang in there even when goals seem unattainable.

“I want to encourage students and remind them that challenges are part of the process,” he said. “I want to remind them to keep going. The solution is there. Just go find it.”

Mark Mader, CEO of, also spoke to the group, and shared his own perspective on success.

Mader is known for his dedication and passion for productivity and collaboration. Mader co-authored “The Power of Done” and has spoken at conferences throughout the United States. Prior to Smartsheet, he served as senior vice president of global services at Onyx Software.

Mader imparted the value of open communication, saying genuine conversations are priceless.

“Don’t assume you know what is important to someone,” Mader said. “Stop the chatter -- you learn when other people talk.”

Gerald McMorrow, CEO and founder, Verathon Inc. (formerly Diagnostic Ultrasound Corporation) advised students to, “be the CEO of your own life.”

McMorrow began his career as an engineer at Tektronix, Inc. McMorrow is dedicated to the advancement of medical care standards. He is known for developing underutilized, noninvasive ultrasound technology to its fullest potential. As CEO of Verathon, his leadership has guided the development of The Verathon ® flagship brand, BladderScan ® bladder volume instruments, which have become a standard of care in portable ultrasound.

“Stop and ask yourself whether life will happen to you or for you,” McMorrow said. “The way you act becomes you. Learn to act with enthusiasm and people will follow you.”

Reilly O’Sullivan, sophomore studying business at UW Bothell says she enjoyed the workshop very much, and can’t wait to put what she’s learned into practice.

“Being a CEO isn’t about having a title,” O’Sullivan said. “Being a successful CEO is about a mindset.”

Wuerch said he was thrilled to see students embracing his message.


“Sharing what I have learned with students is one of the most rewarding areas in my life,” Wuerch said. “I have had great mentors, and my mother and my father were the first. I want to do the same, and give back a few of those precious nuggets they gave to me.”

About UW Bothell: The University of Washington Bothell combines the benefits of a small campus with the resources and prestige of a world-renowned university. Offering over 30 degrees, options, certificates and concentrations, its curriculum emphasizes close student-faculty interaction, collaboration among students, and hands-on learning. For more information, visit