Marketing Coordinator, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
Lecturer, Management Department
Startup Aggieland Accelerator Manager
Startup Living Learning Program Manager
McFerrin Mentor Network Manager
Shelly Brenckman has been employed by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship since 2012 as Marketing Coordinator. (The McFerrin Center was known as the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship from 1999 until August 2017.) Together with Professor Don Lewis, she co-founded the Startup Living Learning Program at Hullabaloo Hall in 2013. As part of a 2012 launch team that included 11 students, she co-founded Startup Aggieland with Professor Lewis, Dr. Richard Lester, Blake Petty, Dean Jorge Vanegas and Rodney Hill.
Shelly co-managed the Startup Living Learning Program from 2013 – 2015 and has served as manager of the Startup LLP since 2015. The program was born out of a concept that she introduced in 2012 as “House of Geekdom” at Raymond Ideas Challenge. Also known as The Dormcubator, the Startup Living Learning Program is a competitive experiential-learning opportunity that attracted 170 applicants for 44 beds in 2017. The Startup LLP offers exclusive travel and networking activities for freshmen primarily, however the program accepts sophomores and juniors as Startup Fellows who serve as peer leaders.
In 2017, Shelly led 20 students from Startup LLP and Startup Aggieland to the Startup Grind Global Conference in Redwood City. The cadre included Student Venture Coaches from Blackstone LaunchPad at Texas A&M University and also some officers from the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. The students stayed at Draper University in San Mateo, CA, where four of them pitched Venture Capitalist Tim Draper. Students also visited Palo Alto; and toured Uber in San Francisco. Afterward, they put their business etiquette training to good use when treated to a swanky dinner at John’s Grill by Shariq Yosufzai, SVP of Global Diversity with Chevron.
As marketing coordinator for the McFerrin Center, Shelly earned the International Brand Master Award in 2015 for developing Startup Aggieland’s branding and for working with Professor Lewis to create signature events for Startup Aggieland and the Startup LLP, including Startup Roundup, Startup Smackdown, Silicon Valley Bank Shark Frenzy and the Silicon Valley Bank Elevator Pitch Competition, First Look and Startup Showcase. In its’ inaugural summer, Startup Smackdown raised $2500 for Brazos Valley Cares. Shelly leads various workshops throughout the year for Startup Aggieland students, clients and often the general public, including popular pitch coaching workshops by Chris Westfall, trainer for contestants on Shark Tank.
In her earlier career, Shelly earned five ADDY Awards from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and five awards from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for graphics and editorial excellence in print. She also earned the Downbeat Magazine Album Cover Design of the Year as a student at Texas A&M University and twice won Grand Prize in ArtFest as a student. Much of her design work is still seen today in The Woodlands and Galveston, where she created branding and communications of real estate developments and commercial properties for the late George Mitchell.
Shelly develops and implements media and event marketing strategies to raise awareness of Startup Aggieland and client companies. She makes frequent public appearances, talking to large groups about McFerrin Center programs, including the Startup Aggieland Accelerator and Startup LLP Dormcubator. Startup Aggieland is now ranked #5 in North America and #14 globally among the most active accelerators in 2016, according to GUST rankings released in August 2017. UBI-Global also has given Startup Aggieland a very high ranking in September 2017 for university-linked business accelerators worldwide, exact rank TBA in 2018.
Shelly first became associated with the accelerator project as the only student invited to attend a 2011 meeting of the Mentoring Network for Entrepreneurship. Three MNE university partners came together in November 2011 as a joint venture behind a campus-based “Maroon Accelerator”: the Office of the Vice President of Research; College of Architecture and Mays Business School. Startup Aggieland’s space was secured in 2011 by McFerrin Director Blake Petty. The original idea for Texas A&M’s all-university student business accelerator was based on the “Maroon Accelerator” concept paper, coauthored by McFerrin Center Executive Director Richard Lester and Architecture Professor Rodney Hill — launched in January 2012 as a cross-college directed studies course taught by Executive Professor Don Lewis. Shelly was invited by Professor Lewis to join his directed studies class in January 2012 to launch the accelerator.
In 2013, the College of Engineering provided a one year sponsorship of Startup Aggieland, but teamed up again with Startup Aggieland to launch Startup Academy in summer 2016, led by Professor Lewis. In 2015, the College of Liberal Arts became an official partner of Startup Aggieland and received a seat on the McFerrin Center Advisory Council. The Research Valley Partnership also joined as a sponsor in 2015. Startup Aggieland was initially underwritten by a Tier One TOP Grant, co-authored by four Co-PIs: Architecture Dean Jorge Vanegas, Professor Rodney Hill, Dick Lester and Don Lewis. Shelly drafted and coordinated the grant proposal, one of four awarded in 2013.
Shelly was given $1000 in May 2012 to furnish Startup Aggieland — with $400 set aside to purchase a ping-pong table. After a lot of dumpster diving and surplus shopping with Rodney and Don, the 4,704 sq. ft. facility was piloted with nine students in summer 2012. Startup Aggieland officially opened with a Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce Ribbon-Cutting on January 24, 2013. Shelly served as the only full-time employee at Startup Aggieland from 2012 – 2017
Under the leadership of Startup Aggieland Assistant Director Don Lewis, Shelly built the McFerrin Mentor Network of 120 subject matter experts, business coaches and mentors. In 2015, Shelly recruited 12 entrepreneurs-in-residence with four of the EIRs collectively having $7 Billion in successful exits. She co-launched the national headline-making “University/Post Oak Mall Collaboratory”, also known as the UPC Summer Accelerator. with the Mays Center for Retailing Studies in 2015. She also co-launched the 2015 Founders Camp in Galveston with Rice University in Houston and Capital Factory in Austin; and served on the founding collaboration that led to SXSW Food+City Challenge Prize in Austin.
Shelly earned her BS in Business from Mays Business School in 2013 as a non-traditional student, graduating on stage with her daughter, after majoring in Engineering Technology with an Engineering Design focus as a traditional-aged student at Texas A&M. She participated in graduate research on “Cuba Business Acceleration & Incubation” through the Department of Marketing with then-Department Head Stephen McDaniel. As part of her field research, Shelly completed a study abroad to Cuba in 2017 through the Mays Center for International Business Studies, led by Mays Professors David Flint and Don Lewis. Her minors include Creative Studies within the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M’s College of Education and Human Development; and Graphic Arts with a focus on New Media within the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture. She earned a certificate in non-profit management from the Association Management Institute.
Shelly taught Management 289: Intro to Entrepreneurship as an Adjunct Lecturer for the Department of Management from 2015 – 2016 and later taught a weekly seminar series on Entrepreneurship in 2015 – 2016. Freshmen from her 2016 course for the Startup LLP set a record for the Raymond Ideas Challenge by sweeping 60 percent of the awards. With Dormcubator sophomores also factored in, the MGMT 289 and Startup LLP students took 70 percent of the awards that year. In 2017, Shelly served as the Director and Instructor for Mays Business School’s first High School Entrepreneurship Summer Camp in conjunction with the College of Education’s Youth Adventures Program — and has also been asked to serve as director of the summer 2018 camp. Prior to joining the Department of Management, she was Vice President of Development & Communications for the Aggie Angel Network from 2010 – 2013.
In 2015, Shelly was hired by the International Business Innovation Association to develop curriculum and training workshops for accelerator managers globally. She has been an iNBIA-certified Accelerator Manager since 2014. In addition to participating in iNBIA conferences and workshops around the U.S., Shelly is an Inner Circle member of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) and also a member of the Texas University Network for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (TUNIE). In 2017, Shelly accepted the McFerrin Center’s first global award on behalf of the center’s team for “Outstanding Student Engagement & Leadership” at the GCEC Global Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Shelly’s service in academia roles include participation on Mays Business School’s Alumni Relations committee and Mays’ Diversity & Inclusion committee for the 2017 Women’s Leadership Initiative Conference. She also serves on Mays’ Marketing & Communications committee. As Dormcubator Manager, Shelly also serves on two Residence Life committees.
In 2015, she became one of 28 Women’s Legacy Award recipients, among the highest honors awarded to former students of Texas A&M University by the Association of Former Students. Shelly became a 2015 Fish Camp Namesake, Session B Lime, after nominations by freshmen from the Startup LLP and colleagues. She was invited to be a 2017 Fish Camp Presenter for all seven sessions. Shelly also was nominated by student leaders to be a 2017 Fall Leadership Conference group namesake at Camp Allen. Shelly previously served as faculty adviser for the Texas A&M University Entrepreneurship Society, founded in 2010. In 2013, she became adviser to the Texas A&M University Chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. In her work with CEO, Shelly raises private funding for CEO Officers and members to receive free trips to the CEO Global Conference in Orlando, FL. The Texas A&M Chapter of CEO was three-times named among the Top 3 Chapters globally. She also chartered the local Startup Grind Chapter and is the curator of Startup Digest, two global networks found at metro startup hubs.
Shelly is married to a Mays Business School graduate, Mark Brenckman ’80. Their adult daughter, Andrea Brenckman Burks ’13, is also a Mays graduate and works for Nuclear Engineering. Her husband Travis Burks ’14 works for the College of Geosciences and was in the Corps of Cadets. Ande and Travis are members of the Young Alumni Council for 12th Man Foundation. Shelly and Mark are members of the Brazos County A&M Club, 12th Man Foundation and the Association of Former Students. Shelly is a 2016 Leadership Brazos graduate and a member of the Brazos Valley Care’s Steak Your Support Committee. She also serves on the Corporate Relations Committee chaired by Spencer Clements, CEO Atlas, for the Research Valley Partnership.
As the manager of Startup Aggieland’s Accelerator and Startup LLP, Shelly is able to draw on more than 30 years of professional experience as a serial entrepreneur who has launched three corporations, including two non-profits; and who has helped others to launch several corporations as a founding officer and director. Shelly owned and operated an award-winning national corporation in College Station for 20 years which supported many programs at Texas A&M University, including the entrepreneurship club, multicultural services, Aggie Bonfire and the Corps of Cadets.
Another of the corporations that she co-founded raised funding to rebuild a working, landmark lighthouse on Lake Conroe after it was demaged by a tornado in 1999. She also served on a $39.9 million bond committee to renovate and expand a rural school district facilities, including a regional tennis facility that was later named by the UTSA as best-in-the-nation. As president of another non-profit corporation, she led the building of a large commercial playground and recreational facilities for a low-income community to improve quality of life and property values.
Shelly enjoys collaborating with the McFerrin Center team and serving on action-oriented committees. She enjoys all outdoor sports, in particular boating, golf, tennis and hiking — as well as traveling with friends and family.
Research InterestsEconomic Development, Venture Acceleration, Student Living Learning Programs, Business Acceleration in Latin America, MagLev and Clean Energy