On Monday, September 27th, 2021, there was a memorial tribute to Thaddeus H. Spratlen, professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, and someone I was lucky to call a friend and mentor. Thad was a quiet but significant contributor at the Foster School, a trailblazing Black business educator, always advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
I wanted to take this moment to thank Thad for being part of my and our company’s future. We had the honor of working with Thad beginning in 1995 when he became the Founding Director of the Business and Economic Development Program at the Foster School. This program combined Thad’s interest in equity, economic development, and capacity building with inner-city businesses, many of which were minority-owned or managed. We worked with Thad and his colleagues William Braddock and Michael Verchot to design and implement an annual survey of Washington businesses, specifically ensuring the inclusion of businesses owned and operated by people of color, women, LGBTQ+ and those located in underserved communities across the state of Washington.
Working with Thad opened my and our company’s minds to the need to ensure the inclusion of those who often feel their opinions don’t matter. Much of what we learned and the values he shared are core to what we do today–fostering greater equity and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented voices within the community in each and every research and engagement effort we undertake with our clients.
Thad and his wife Lois walked the talk every day of their long and impressive lives. They are both inspirations to everyone who got to know them. If you want to get to know Thad a bit better, here is a link to his very unique story–Remembering Thaddeus Spratlen – Foster Business Magazine (uw.edu). We are very honored to have had Thad as a friend and mentor.
Chief Engagement Officer
(Feature image photo credit: UW Foster School of Business)