2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Sharae Ratliff, University of Washington (Foster)

Sharae Ratliff

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“I am an Animal Loving, sweets enthusiast, hard-working, passion driven woman of color.”

Fun fact about yourself: Half my family emigrated from the Philippines.

Hometown: Spanaway Washington

High School: Spanaway Lake High School

Major: Marketing

Minor: Sales

Favorite Business Course: Consumer Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • President of National Association of Black Accountants & Black @ Foster
  • Young Executives of Color mentor- Mentor high school students of color in a program sponsored by EY
  • Hovind Global Leaders Program (1st cohort)
  • First-year Interest Group leader- fully taught a General Studies course
  • Sales Program

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • NBCUniversal studios – Advertising Sales Intern – LA /New York
  • Plus One Foundation – Marketing Intern – Seattle, WA
  • White Wolf Consulting- Sales Intern- Seattle, WA

Where will you be working after graduation?

Was offered a full-time position at Amazon – Retail Undergraduate Program

Was offered a full-time position at PepsiCo- Sales Associate Manager

…still deciding.

What company do you admire most? I don’t have a company that I admire just yet, I hope to find my way in the world of business after graduating and find an answer to this question.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Rose Ratliff, not only because she is my grandma but because she has taught, motivated, and guided me through my educational career.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned was that it’s not always about what you know but who you know and what you do with your network.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The advice I would give is to understand your why. What is motivating you to pursue this field? What keeps you going every day?

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprised me most is that business is a part of every field, from health care to entertainment.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?  One thing that I would have done differently is getting involved in extracurricular activities, programs, clubs, and networking events as early in my educational career as I could.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? An achievement that myself and the black students at the Foster school of Business did this year is we demanded for a change of DEI efforts at our school after the racial equity, police brutality and BLM protests. After our out-cries and demands, we were able to achieve

accommodations on finals during the unrest, the hiring of 2 incoming black women professors for the first time at Foster, a new role of Assistant Dean of Diversity and more effort and funds being invested into the POC programs.

Which classmate do you most admire? Jordan Jackson- Although he is not a business major he has opened his own business called Basilica Bio to help educate students about food sovereignty. He has balanced being a student and an activist for his community. I admire him.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank Aaron Robertson because he believed in me and invested in my success before I was even admitted into the Foster school of business. He worked hard to help expand my network, get me exposed to opportunity, and provide a person to confide in during my time as a student.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Become an Influential activist
  2. Open a business

What are your hobbies?

  1. Sports; Soccer, Lacrosse and softball.
  2. Animal enthusiast- cuddling with dogs.
  3. Exploring new places to eat.
  4. Helping my community.
  5. Creating video content.

What made Sharae such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“In spring of 2020, I recall Sharae Ratliff saying she wanted to ‘make the most of her senior year.’ This is a common refrain for rising seniors in college, but what I quickly came to realize was how seriously Sharae took this declaration, and how the Foster School, and University of Washington have been so incredibly fortunate to have such a driven and dynamic leader in our midst during such a challenging year.

Sharae is involved in programs and initiatives which impact students at seemingly every point in the college process. As a Mentor for our Young Executives of Color (YEOC) program, Sharae supports high school students of color navigate the complex process of college admissions. As President of the UW-Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), and Co-President of Black @ Foster, Sharae drives the effort to create and maintain community and safe spaces for Black students pursuing a degree or career in business. Both positions are highly visible, high-pressure roles in any circumstance, but with the events of 2020, there seemed to be a relentless flow of unprecedented new issues to resolve, and it was in these moments which Sharae’s unique leadership skills truly shone through.  Sharae’s innate charisma helped rally peer leaders around her as they strove to balance academic and personal responsibilities all under the weight of the pandemic, while her laser-focus and unflappable demeanor kept peers, staff, faculty and community partners focused and accountable as they worked to make our community more accessible and inclusive for all. For these reasons, and so many more, I express my deep gratitude to Sharae Ratliff for all she has given to our school community this year and can confidently state she did indeed ‘make the most of her senior year.”

Andy Marzano
Associate Director, Undergraduate Diversity Services


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.