MISSOULA – The University of Montana School of Business Administration will honor three alumni for outstanding career achievements at the 68th Annual Donor Recognition and Scholarship Awards Banquet on May 8.
The three honorees are Margaret Woo ’75, Outstanding Distinguished Alumna; Mark Matsko ’80, Outstanding Alumnus; and Jena Gardner ’92, Outstanding Early Career Alumna.
Woo was born and raised in Havre. After graduating from high school, she spent a year in Germany as a foreign exchange student and enrolled at UM in 1971. Woo graduated from UM with high honors, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. She went on to earn a Master of Business Administration at Boston’s Northeastern University in 1977.
Woo began her career in 1977 at Galusha, Higgins & Galusha CPAs in Helena. During her time at GHG, she advanced to shareholder status in 1993 and later retired after 32 years with the firm. Woo was only the fifth woman to achieve shareholder status at the firm since its inception in 1919 and chaired the firm’s tax committee before retirement. Her professional affiliations included membership in the American Institute of CPAs and the Montana Society of CPAs.
Throughout her career, Woo served on many local nonprofit organization boards, including those for Region IV Family Outreach, Helena Presents/the Myrna Loy Center, Helena Family YMCA, the Grandstreet Theatre, the Montana Club, the Friendship Center and the Archie Bray Foundation. In addition, Woo was a member of the Small Business Advisory Council and served on the UM Student Affairs Advisory Board from 2004 to 2009.
Woo resides in Helena and enjoys many outdoor activities. She continues to volunteer for local organizations and supports UM as a member of the President’s Club and the UM Alumni Association. She also is a trustee for the Haynes Foundation.
Matsko grew up in Great Falls and began college at Montana State University in Bozeman but transferred to UM after his first quarter. While at UM, Matsko was elected Associated Students of UM business manager, married, passed the CPA exam and graduated with high honors in both accounting and economics/political science.
Matsko worked at Great Falls Coca-Cola for one year before moving to Boise, Idaho, to take a job with Arthur Andersen in their tax department. The lure of private business quickly brought him back to Great Falls Coca-Cola two years later, where he was actively involved in the acquisition of additional bottling plants in Kalispell and Missoula.
Matsko held several positions, including president, from 1983 until he negotiated the sale of that firm in 1986. Using his accounting and management experience, Matsko found his passion and transitioned to the investment industry. He worked as a security analyst in Washington, D.C., and became a chartered financial analyst. After moving back to Boise, he started his own investment firm, worked as a broker at D.A. Davidson and in 1996 became a partner in Burroughs & Hutchinson, the first Registered Investment Advisor in Idaho. Since he became president in 2001, the firm has grown to $300 million under his supervision and recently changed its name to Selway Asset Management.
Matsko is active in civic and social groups throughout Boise. As coach of eight softball teams, fourteen basketball teams and a soccer team, he spent many evenings and weekends with his three daughters and their teammates. A former board member of the United Way Treasure Valley, Crane Creek Country Club and UM Alumni Association, he also served three terms with the UM Foundation Board of Trustees.
Matsko attributes any success he has had to the support, love and encouragement of his wife, Carrie.
Gardner grew up in Hamilton and graduated with honors from UM’s School of Business Administration. An entrepreneur, marketing expert, best-selling author and travel industry icon, Gardner turned a lifelong passion for travel into a thriving enterprise. She founded Global Group by JG in New York City in 2002 and has since built it into a highly successful consulting firm. The company offers an integrated portfolio of sales, marketing, public relations and branding services to help companies gain exposure, build brands, establish networks and increase sales within the travel, luxury and experiential lifestyle sectors. The firm has been named by Inc. magazine as one of the country’s fastest-growing privately held companies for four consecutive years.
Gardner’s innovative approach to business has made her a sought-after industry consultant. Named one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing by HSMAI, she is an international keynote speaker, having been invited to present at the Global Women’s Forum, the Global Eco Conference, the Fortune Luxury Summit, the Luxury Marketing Council, the BVI Business Outlook Conference and the Luxury Portfolio SUMMIT.
She is also a contributing writer for Enterprising Women, Luxury Portfolio and Business BVI magazines and co-author of the best-selling book “Women Who Mean Business.” Gardner serves on the judging committee for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognizes and promotes best practices in sustainable tourism, and the Tourism Cares’ Lifetime Achievement in Travel Philanthropy Award.
Gardner credits her own life-changing journeys as the inspiration for her company, as well as her altruistic efforts. She sponsors eight children globally and co-founded the Bodhi Tree Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting environmental and humanitarian efforts related to travel and tourism sustainability. The foundation recently launched the S.A.F.E. campaign dedicated to galvanizing and uniting the tourism industry to help end the dramatic rise in poaching of Africa’s elephants.
A licensed CPA with an extensive background in luxury hotel management, Gardner spearheaded sales and marketing efforts for Ritz-Carlton and Montana’s Triple Creek Ranch before founding Global Group. She credits her professional success and core values of hard work, dedication and loyalty to her deep Montana roots. Gardner is the proud mom of triplet 2-year-old boys Dylan, Aidan and William.
For more information visit http://www.business.umt.edu.
Note: Photos of the alumni receiving the awards are available by calling Tammy Yedinak at 406-243-6195 or by emailing email@example.com.