Wicked Smart
Q&A With Charlotte M. Guyman

What was the most valuable thing you learned while getting an MBA?
At Hewlett-Packard, I’d learned how to hire and lead a great team. What I was missing was finance, legal, marketing — even union negotiations. I didn’t know much about account receivables, transfer pricing or audits. I was a zoologist by training, so it was all new and valuable to me.

What do you think of UW Medicine’s team?
Not only are the people at UW Medicine wicked smart, but their vision and commitment to making the world a better place are humbling. Just getting to be in the same room with such brilliant, ethical and hard-working people (the status quo at the University of Washington) is the best!

Why volunteer?
I volunteer at other wonderful places, but UW Medicine has always been so responsive to the world. Leadership is willing to discuss it when something needs to change. I’m also inspired by my fellow advocates.

What inspired your most recent gift?
We met cardiologist Dr. Karen Stout when my husband, Doug, had a heart attack. Karen also cared for the son of a dear friend, and without her research into congenital heart disease, he might not be alive today. We’ve also given to UW Medical Center and Harborview, and to Drs. Stan Herring [rehabilitation medicine] and Doug Smith [orthopaedics].

What do successful people in business and medicine have in common?
Vision. They imagine a better world and make things of value to their fellow human beings. They also develop strategies and specific, measurable goals. They’re analytical, and they develop metrics and methods for ongoing feedback. And in both groups, successful players choose and develop the next leaders in their field.

Final words?
The only tough part about donating is that there are so many needs for funds and advocacy at UW Medicine — we only wish we had more to give. But we definitely like knowing our money will be well-spent.

Charlotte M. Guyman is a member of the UW Medicine Campaign Initiatives Committee and a director at Berkshire Hathaway. She is formerly of Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Social Venture Partners.