Campus Conversations: Professor Ruth Huwe

UW’s Sheryl Sandberg

Professor Ruth Huwe is one of the most popular faculty members at UW's Foster School of Business. In addition to sheer intelligence, her great insights and friendliness attract large number of students to her courses and office hours. Dr. Huwe is not only an outstanding professor, but also a supportive mentor, advisor, role model and even great friend to many students in University of Washington.

Courtesy of Professor Ruth Huwe


Name: Dr. Ruth Huwe

Occupation: Faculty at University of Washington (1990-present), Consultant and trainer at the Boeing Company (1996-2015)

Courses Taught: Business, Government and Society, Leadership, Negotiations, Motivation, and Organizational Behavior (Undergraduate)

Involved RSOs (Advisor) : ReThink, Net Impact, and Business Leaders in Health Care

Publication:“Metrics 2.0: Creating Scorecards for High-Performance Work Teams and Organizations“  Book: Huwe, R., (2010). Praeger


What kind of person were you when you were a college student?

 “Workaholic…I was working full-time at the radio station, Westinghouse at the same time being a full-time student. I still had 8 hours of sleep though: woke up at 3 am and went to bed at 7 pm every day. Also, I had 1 day off for social and mainly lived in a way Stephen Covey promotes…covered 4 important phases: drew house plans and created commercials through the radio job (Creativity), regularly worked out (Physical), social activities (Relaxation) and school work (Intellectual).”


"I started to work at the radio station when I was 14 years old."


How did you become a radio personality?

 “I was a big radio fan and had a low voice. I also wanted to get three degrees and needed a job to get through all the high education financially. That is why I started to work at the radio station when I was 14 years old. I enjoyed working in radio, especially for the first 5 years!”


What is your passion?

 “Communication. I was in a speech and debate team in high school. All of my 3 degrees are in Communication as well.”

Courtesy of Professor Huwe: her high school speech team 


"We dressed up with the clothes from a thrift shop, and we all had much fun at the concert!"


What is the best memory of your college life?

 “This is funny, but the first thing came up in mind is......that I went to the concert of Myron Floren with my friends! He was a famous accordionist but the radio station had extra 104 tickets needed to be given away, so I got 12 of them. We dressed up with the clothes from a thrift shop, and we all had much fun at the concert!”


Did you do any internships while you were in school?

 “No. I actually regret that. It was the time when internships were becoming popular among students. I had a wonderful job but didn’t do any of the cool intern programs.”


What would you do if you were not a professor or radio personality?

 “I actually do it sometimes: I love planning vocation vacations! The Morocco project that I organize through the Foster School is one of them. But if I choose one, it would be an epidemiologist. Statistics is one of my favorite subjects, and I also like helping people, working on system theory, and learning human culture.”

via University of Washington Business Morocco program 


"Listening. That is how people can make decisions."


What is the most important skill for a leader?

 “Listening. That is how people can make decisions. Recognition and empathy would be up there as well, but truly listening. For leadership development, it is also very important to get feedback or find role models: ask them their stories and how they have come to be good leaders.”


Who do you think is the best female leader today?

 “Sheryl Sandberg. She cares a lot about her company as the COO, and has both brain and interpersonal skills or charm. Having the mix is very important.”


What is the important life lesson you have learned?

 “Choosing priorities. For many years, I had been too busy with my second role as a consultant and never got to network: but I felt guilty about ignoring the business as well. Recently, I finally realized that my priorities are #1 UW teaching, #2 Africa (the Morocco project), #3 land investments for the future of my family, and my consulting business is #4. Knowing my priorities gave me an incredible amount of peace because I realized that sometimes it’s simply too hard to keep up everything at the same time."

Courtesy of Professor Huwe: at her leadership class


"I know the person with passion beats the one with brains anytime.​"


Any advice to current college students?

 “Have passion. I know the person with passion beats the one with brains anytime. It’s also very important to see two sides of every story. No matter what career you get, if you can have an open mind to evaluate an issue from different perspectives and think critically, you will be successful.”


One last story about your college life?

 “I ate pizza a lot! There was one time I ordered a pizza but forgot to tell them which kind I wanted. But when the delivery guy came to my door, he had the exactly my type of pizza: and I was like, “oh, you got the right kind!” and he said, “well, you have ordered the same thing for 70 times since the new year has started...... and you know what, it was still March!”