For Andy York ’03, this year will bring together his past and his future – his alma mater is building a house in partnership with B/CS Habitat for Humanity, where he is executive director.

Thanks to his passion for both organizations, York has the opportunity to play a part in the collaboration of Mays Business School and B/CS Habitat for Humanity. The MaysBuilds project will unify undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff throughout all departments and programs in Mays.

York has always had a passion for giving back. “While in high school, I donated land that my grandmother had given me to Habitat for Humanity in Bryan,” York said. Three houses were built on the land he donated, and York started volunteering on the property. Eventually, this land turned into a subdivision called Miracle Place. In addition, while in college, York volunteered with his church on Habitat houses, and this really pushed his passion for the organization. That church – Christ United Methodist Church in College Station – is now building its ninth house.

York began at Texas A&M as a finance major, but was convinced by a professor to do the Professional Program for Accounting with a master’s in finance. He learned early on, however, that accounting was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “I started thinking about what sort of job would really give me fulfillment, and I decided that I should put my talents to use to serve people rather than make money for investors,” York said. It was this mindset that led York to join the staff at B/CS Habitat as director of finance in 2013. He became executive director in 2016.

The partnership between Mays and B/CS Habitat for Humanity began when Marketing Professor Janet Parish joined the Habitat Board of Directors. York said that Parish, “said the right words at the right time to the right people,” which led to the creation of the partnership. Along with serving on the board, Parish also serves as the chair of the Community Outreach subcommittee. “Bringing those two roles together created an opportunity for Mays faculty, staff, and students to work together to serve the local community,” she said. “We are planning several events this spring that we hope will help us continue to spread our message and get others involved.” These events include the annual Habitat breakfast on Feb. 28, which numerous Mays faculty and staff members plan to attend, and the recent Business Student Council Mays Exchange, which donated a portion proceeds toward MaysBuilds for the first time.

Not only will this partnership positively affect York and the Habitat team, but it will also impact current Mays students as well. Working alongside Mays instructors and staff while raising funds and building homes will allow students to see their instructors outside of the classroom and share in a passion for serving others. This interaction will carry back into the classroom, creating an environment in which students are more likely to collaborate on other projects and shared interests.

“Mays provided a really well-rounded education to prepare me for leadership roles, such as the role I hold now,” York said. Now that Mays students can get involved with Habitat, many others will hopefully feel this same sense of preparation for their future.

Andy York (left) with Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat International, and Charles Coats, director of Homebuyer Services (also a Texas A&M University graduate).

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Texas A&M

World Cancer Day 2018 observed on Sunday, Feb. 4 – is a global campaign that aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease. The objective is to get as many people as possible to talk about cancer, including on social media with the hashtag #WorldCancerDay, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action in the fight against cancer.

Leonard L. Berry, a Texas A&M University healthcare expert from Mays Business School, advocates for practical improvements in cancer care services for both the patient and the family based on his ongoing study of how to improve the service journey that cancer patients and their families take from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and in some cases end-of-life care. “Cancer not only impacts the patient but also the family, and it is especially appropriate to take a holistic approach to cancer care in discussions on World Cancer Day,” Berry says. 

Drawing on Berry’s research conducted at 10 innovative cancer centers, he and his co-authors provide important guidelines for designing cancer care services that prevent avoidable suffering and improve the care experience. These guidelines focus on integrating humanity into a service that requires sensitivity and compassion.

Design cancer care services to be less stressful

Cancer care is a high-emotion service. The need for the service alone elicits intense emotions. The wonders of high-tech cancer care are best complemented by high-touch care. Guidelines for helping healthcare organizations deliver services to better anticipate and respond to patients’ and family’s emotional needs were developed based on interviews with more than 350 cancer patients, family members, oncologists, surgeons, oncology nurses, non-clinical staffers, and leaders of healthcare organizations: 1) Identify emotional triggers such as the need for cancer care services, 2) Respond early to intense emotions, including preparing patients for what’s next, 3) Enhance the patients’ control, and 4) Hire the right people and prepare them for the role. The complete guidelines are available in the Harvard Business Review.

Manage the clues in cancer care

Patients’ experiences, good and bad, accumulate as a result of clues embedded in these experiences. Clues are the signals patients perceive in using a service. When interacting with a system of care, patients filter clues, organizing them into a set of impressions. Patients may perceive clues rationally or emotionally, and clues may be defined by their presence or absence. Optimizing cancer patients’ service experiences requires sensitive management of the clues that comprise the overall service. Well-managed clues can evoke positive feelings, such as trust and hope. Poorly managed clues can exacerbate negative emotions, such as anxiety, stress, helplessness, anger, and fear.

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Categories: Departments, Faculty, Health Care, Mays Business, News, Research, Selfless service, Texas A&M

The holidays are approaching, and Amanda Vigil knows there is nothing better than the feeling that comes with putting a smile on someone’s face during the holiday season. Vigil, a University Studies major in business, embodies what it means to be a giver. She finds joy in projecting happiness onto others, and wants to extend the opportunity to everyone else.

From now until Dec. 14, Vigil will be accepting holiday cards to distribute at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) at the medical center in Houston. Her goal is to give 1,000 cards.

Vigil has been distributing cards there every holiday season for the past 11 years. “I was born with a cleft lip and palate and have had roughly 12 surgeries on my mouth and face since the day I was born, 21 years ago,” Vigil said. As a 10-year-old in the hospital, she received countless cards from strangers wishing her a happy holiday. Since then, she has made holiday cards every year in the hopes that the children in the hospital will smile the same way she did.

For the past five years, Vigil has enlisted the help of her friends, family, and fellow Aggies to help with the cause. “My goal this year is to deliver 1,000 cards,” Vigil said. “I am confident that I will not only reach that goal (of 1,000 cards), but surpass it.”

She has instituted a few rules regarding the cards:

  • No candy, since many children are on restrictive diets and can not have sweets
  • No glitter glue (it doesn’t always dry fully and is messy)
  • Small toys such as pencils, erasers, and stickers, are accepted
  • No envelope is required
  • No signature stating who the card is from is required, though many people like to write that the cards came from “Texas A&M students, professors, etc.”

To donate a card or get more information about the program, contact Vigil at amanda2778@tamu.edu.

 

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Students, Texas A&M

For this season’s #GivingTuesday, Jon and Debbie Bethancourt have generously committed to a $10,000 matching gift if current and former students from the Strategic Philanthropy course raise $10,000 in additional funding for future grant making. The gift and the match will go straight to nonprofit organizations in the form of grant funding in the 2018-2019 school year.

The Strategic Philanthropy course at Mays Business School is heavily oriented toward the sustainable, responsible, and measurable ways in which nonprofits address and solve problems in local, national, and global communities. This course provides opportunities for students to practice strategic giving as a group while also developing a personal approach to philanthropy to carry forward into their personal and professional lives.

Donations to this initiative not only fund other nonprofits, but also provide a unique learning experience for students to learn how to “give well.”

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Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School reflects the values of excellence revered by its namesake – Artie McFerrin, a long-time supporter of Texas A&M University and the name behind the $10 million gift that secured the center’s future.

An intimate group that included Artie McFerrin’s wife Dorothy, their daughter Jennifer, and a gathering of family, friends and university leaders attended a recent reception to celebrate the official naming of the center. The event at the Founders Club at Kyle Field served as a tribute to Artie McFerrin, and a thank-you to his family, who have supported Texas A&M for years.

Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65 (2016 photo)

“If you strive for success, if you dream of venturing into the unknown and emerging smarter and stronger, if you want to grow yourself so you can grow others, you not only have a place to go, but also a name forever attached to it,” Tyson Voelkel, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, said at the event.

The center, which serves more than 3,000 students and more than 1,000 former students through 27 programs, is an international leader in entrepreneurial education. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and alumni. With the support of a volunteer network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff, the McFerrin Center has been able to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.

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Categories: Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Selfless service, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M