Joseph Lawless, MBA

Executive Director, Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility
Lawless, Joseph

Contact information

Dept: Milgard School of Business
Room: TLB 300
Phone: 253-692-5685


  • M.B.A., University of Washington Tacoma, 2007.
  • B.A., Seattle University, 1987.


Joe Lawless graduated from Seattle University in 1987 and started his career with Ackerley Communications selling outdoor advertising. After three years of advertising sales, he spent time as the Sport Manager for the Ice Hockey competition of the Goodwill Games, and marketing/public relations positions for the Tacoma Stars (soccer) and Tacoma Rockets (hockey).

In 1991 Joe began a 14-year stay with Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, the last seven as the Executive Director of the Mary Bridge Children's Foundation. During that time Joe created the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour, built a model Children's Advocacy Center, and led The Campaign for Mary Bridge, a $15.5 million effort to build a new outpatient facility and an endowment fund for patient charity care. In 2006, Joe left Mary Bridge to become the Director of Corporate Partnerships for Tacoma Goodwill Industries. At Goodwill, he instituted a new organizational model for relating with area businesses to place individuals with barriers to employment back into the workforce as productive members of our communities.

After graduating with his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Washington Tacoma in 2007, he returned to the school to lead the newly created Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility. The Center's mission is to develop socially responsible leaders who build sustainable organizations and communities. As the Executive Director, Joe leads the Center's activities geared toward education, scholarship and community engagement.

Joe holds the Certified Fundraising Executive credential and served as the founding President of the South Sound Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Joe held the CFRE credential from 2004-2011, and was the founding President of the South Sound Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He sits on the board of Washington Business Week and has served as a board member of multiple regional nonprofit agencies.


Purdy, J. M., & Lawless, J. (2012). Learning About Governance Through Nonprofit Board Service. Journal Of Management Education, 36(1), 33-65. doi:10.1177/1052562911418196.

Jill M. Purdy and Joseph Lawless (2011). Building a culture of integrity. In C. Wankel and A. Stachowicz-Stanusch (Eds.), Handbook of Research in Teaching Ethics in Business and Management Education. (pp. 427-440). New York: Information Science Reference.

Honors and Awards

Beta Gama Sigma member since 2007

Milgard Scholar - 2005-2007