Karli Barich's Story

“If you say I can’t do something, I’m going to do the opposite.”

Karli Barich

Executive MBA Online, Class of 2020
Executive Director, Foreign Language for Youth

Karli Barich was raised in a University of Washington home. Her Husky parents even sang UW’s fight song to her as a baby. But when it came time to earn her Executive Master of Business Administration degree, it was Washington State University that provided the information, assistance, flexibility, and credentialed faculty she was looking for in an online business program.“

WSU’s recruitment person contacted me every week by phone, just to check in and help me with the application process. I loved that personal touch and I wanted to be part of that community.”

Making the Best Decision for Her Future.

Even though choosing WSU was difficult for her diehard UW family to accept, Karli knew it was the right choice for her. But Karli had been making difficult decisions and standing up for herself for years. Earlier in her career, working for the family business, she found herself in a difficult position.

She was working as a legal secretary with a paralegal degree during a time the business was going through an intellectual property lawsuit and considering a merger. A mentor at the law firm encouraged her to use her legal knowledge to help her family navigate both issues.

“I did a ton of work, and I was so proud of it. I felt like a rockstar. And when the company was sold to the Canadian buyer, I was enlisted in general administration, basically an office manager, of the company instead of being pegged as someone who had played such a strategic role.”

“I’ve achieved exponential growth, and greater impact, in comparison to the people who doubted me. And not only for myself, but for the communities and team members I support.”

Winning in Male-dominated Industries.

Karli faced numerous challenges while working in energy and technology—two male-dominated industries. These presented a series of roadblocks that she would learn to identify and navigate.

“I wasn’t proactively invited by colleagues to participate in thought leadership or innovative discussions, even though I believe I could have made valuable contributions. I’ve never been explicitly told that I couldn’t do anything. It’s always been behind closed doors; knowing I’d been passed up for a certain project or position based on implied expectations of my gender. And I’m sure I’m not the only female who has had to repeatedly reassert her qualifications in conversation with male counterparts.”

Today, Karli serves as the executive director of a nonprofit education company. She completed her Executive MBA Online in 2020 . She looks back at all of her experiences as lessons. Each a chance to learn from great leaders and turn others poor leadership into her great leadership.

When asked what she would say to those from her past who tried to hold her back, she replied “Nothing. I’ve achieved exponential growth, and greater impact, in comparison to the people who doubted me. And not only for myself, but for the communities and team members I support. I don’t feel the need to say anything.”

Applying Her Education Since Day One.

Karli says one of the biggest benefits of her EMBA experience was learning to more effectively apply data to achieve a variety of business goals. “I was big into data before, but now even more so. As an executive director, my EMBA has really helped me analyze data and apply it across the organization.”