Jane Cote, 2009 Woman of Achievement
Jane was born and raised in Oswego, Ill, about 40 miles from Chicago. She enrolled at the University of Arizona after graduating from high school.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Jane married her husband, Joe, and moved to Pullman, where she enrolled at Washington State University (WSU). She earned a master’s degree and PhD in accounting. She worked as a certified public accountant and securities analyst before receiving a call asking her to teach at WSU.
In 1993, Jane moved from Pullman to Vancouver to teach at the new WSU Vancouver campus. Today she is an associate professor of accounting and the academic director of the business school – and currently the only woman in a leadership role in the College of Business. Jane has also shared her teaching skills internationally. Through a joint program between WSU and National Economics University, Jane has taught MBA-level accounting courses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Former YWCA Executive Director Joyce Kilpatrick invited Jane to join the volunteer group that managed the finances for the organization. As she learned more about YWCA, Jane become more involved, serving six years on the board including a year as president. “I just found this group of women to be the most open and caring, and they made it easy to be involved,” she noted.
Her nominator wrote: “When we determined that the YWCA’s endowment fund was not performing in the way that we would like, Jane, with a small handful of others, decided that the Endowment Committee should take over the management of those funds. She has been actively and successfully involved in that process for more than ten years.”
“Bringing the YWCA’s investment portfolio in-house – so it is being managed internally by board members – felt really positive,” explained Jane. “It felt like we were really stepping up and taking responsibility for our own business.” Jane has also used her financial skill to assist the local chapter of the National Association for Investors, serving on their board of directors and as a speaker at investment clubs.
Perhaps what is most surprising about Jane – even to herself – is her artistic side. “I never thought of myself as an artistic person,” Jane notes, “So to now have an art studio, and to have that kind of passion for art, is kind of a surprise to me.” Her works of fused glass have also come to represent her spirit of service. “Jane is an extremely talented glass artist,” her nominator wrote. “She has given hours of her time to the community working to create beautiful glass pieces that become gifts for such groups as the Women of Achievement, the YWCA auction and benefit luncheon, as well as other charitable organizations.”
When asked what she hopes others would take away from her story, Jane completes the circle that surrounds all she does. “We’re all teachers and students,” Jane said. “What I’ve accomplished has come from what I’ve learned from others – courage, creativity and community.”