The Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University announces a new partnership with the Texas Retailers Association as a 2017-2018 TREF grantee.

The Texas Retailers Education Foundation (TREF) is the charitable educational foundation of the Texas Retailers Association (TRA). TREF was founded to promote a better-trained workforce in retail, through investment in high school and college education programs that focus on teaching retailing career competencies. Approximately $1.4 million has been awarded from TREF to the Texas Grant Program since 2001.

“Texas A&M University is proud to partner with the Texas Retailers Association. Since opening our doors in 1983, the Center for Retailing Studies’ purpose has been to promote and prepare young people for careers in retailing,” said Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M. “This fully aligns with the Texas Retailers Education Foundation’s mission to provide scholarships and learning opportunities that encourage the next generation of retail professionals in Texas.”

For more than 90 years, TRA has represented retail professionals in Texas, and provided them with a voice in Austin and Washington D.C. TRA has worked to support and protect the concerns of its members through government advocacy, industry information, education programs, and scholarship funds.

Members of TRA include major Texas-based retailers such as H-E-B, JCPenney, and Academy Sports + Outdoors, as well as hundreds of independent jewelry shops, hardware stores, specialty apparel boutiques, booksellers, and more.

As a TREF grantee, Texas A&M becomes the first Tier 1 Research university to partner with TRA.

“Developing transformational leaders to work at companies that drive a robust state economy is central to the public service that a flagship university like Texas A&M provides,” Hollinger added. “The distinction as a Texas Retailer’s Education Foundation recipient university is an honor.”

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

By Jeffrey Quinn ’20

Business Honors and finance

On May 10th, I embarked on my journey to Mbale, Uganda, where I volunteered with an organization called HELP International. HELP International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that has volunteer programs in multiple locations across the world, but has had volunteers on the ground in Uganda for the last seven years. My volunteer experience lasted for six weeks from May 12th to June 23rd. I had a lot of individuals try to discourage me from traveling to Uganda because of the danger they associated with living in Africa, but I was determined to empower Ugandans in their fight against poverty.

I will never forget the six weeks I spent working in Mbale and the lessons that the truly amazing local men and women taught me.

A problem to solve

One of HELP’s most important partnerships was with an orphanage in the Sibwala Village that is home to 300 orphans. The most immediate problem that faced the orphanage was its failure to be sustainable if HELP International no longer provided funding. One of the most vital lessons I learned during this internship is the importance of sustainability when doing developmental work. The most effective form of developmental work is providing individuals with knowledge and the ability to be sustainable without any outside intervention. This is why I felt it was important to immediately tackle the failure of the Sibwala Orphanage to be sustainable.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Center for Business International Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The Texas A&M University Center for Retailing Studies will host its annual Retailing Summit on Oct. 12-13 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

Since its launch in 1985, the Retailing Summit has provided inspiring, original, content for retail executives. Hundreds of business leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico attend the event.

“Most retailers can no longer differentiate on product or price alone. Experiences play a central role in brand perception,” says Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School. “The Retailing Summit’s speakers will address how their companies deliver engaging experiences successfully across both the physical and digital worlds to excite customers and drive sales.”

The 2017 Retailing Summit will include appearances from two CEO’s, two of America’s top five retail firms by sales volume, several top 100 retailers, and other beloved brands.

A new and exciting addition to this year’s conference features a session with founders from four start-up companies launched by current and former Texas A&M students. The presentations showcase Texas A&M and its students as sources of technical innovation and new consumer brands in the retailing industry. The start-ups include AI technology, a grocery app, a nutrition snack, and an apparel line.

This year’s conference speakers include:

Crayola – Victoria Lozano, SVP & GM, Attractions & Retail
Zoës Kitchen – Kevin Miles, CEO
Dollar General – Steve Sunderland, SVP – Store Operations
Indochino – Drew Green, CEO
Walgreens – Kenya Jackson, Corporate Vice President
The Home Depot – William Bonnell, Senior Director of Site Reliability Engineering

“The disruption in retail justifies investing time away from the office to learn. The conference agenda is packed with insights valuable to traditional retailers and suppliers alike,” Hollinger adds.

Proceeds from the Retailing Summit support leadership programs and curriculum for students pursuing retail studies at Mays Business School.

Conference sponsors include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Alliance Data, BDO, brierley + partners, NectarOM, Protivix, REVTECH, ROOT, Shell, and Texas Retailers Association.

For further information on how to register for the 2017 Retailing Summit, visit retailingsummit.org.

 

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Most people rely on gauging facial expressions to build rapport with a new acquaintance. However, Steven Maldonado ’18 knows firsthand that looks can be deceiving. He cannot make one of the most common friendly gestures – a smile – because of facial paralysis caused by Moebius syndrome.

Maldonado, who attends Mays Business School’s Professional MBA program in Houston’s CityCentre, is an emerging leader in the national Moebius community. As a featured speaker at Baylor College of Medicine’s 2017 Compassion and the Art of Medicine series in September, he will share the lessons he’s learned from living with this neurological disorder.

Learning to connect with others

The Houston native was born with Moebius syndrome, but doctors did not diagnosis the rarely-seen condition until he was a child. Researchers estimate the non-progressive condition affects fewer than 20 in every 1 million people. Besides facial paralysis, this condition in some cases can result in respiratory problems, speech and swallowing disorders, visual impairment, sensory integration dysfunction, sleep disorders, weak upper body strength and autism spectrum disorders.

Maldonado said the condition contributed to his being socially awkward during his early years. The shy and reserved child had to learn to use different skills, such as humor, to build rapport. However, with practice, he was able to forge strong friendships.

Over the years, the condition has led to many life lessons. “Everyone is different in their own way,” Maldonado said. “Having compassion for others is a great thing. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t judge people on their looks, how they talk or where they come from.”

A drive to excel personally and professionally

After earning a business degree from the University of Houston, Maldonado worked for a company that did consulting on environmental issues. Eventually he switched industries and joined Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology. The administrative coordinator works with the department’s research grants, financial budgeting, and special projects.

Maldonado’s decision to pursue a master’s degree was based on his desire to advance professionally and grow as an individual. Mays’ Professional MBA program stood out for a variety of reasons. “The faculty and the staff made me feel like I was the only person applying for the program,” he said. “They were really personable and always ready to address my concerns. They really made me feel that I was going to be adding value to the program by coming to Mays.”

He credits the graduate program with helping him increase his confidence, become a better speaker and have the knowledge to tackle complex problems. He will use these skills as he prepares to give his first formal speech at the Baylor College of Medicine event.

Raising awareness and helping others

Maldonado also is planning to increase his involvement with the Moebius Syndrome Foundation. After attending his first conference in 2014, Maldonado now serves as the first point of contact for young adults who have Moebius syndrome. In that volunteer role, he helps them connect with other people with the condition.

Eventually, Maldonado hopes to serve on the organization’s board of directors. “Moebius has its challenges and obstacles,” he said. “However, I believe people with Moebius can lead pretty normal lives.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Odin Clack ’02 was just looking for a hobby that would spur his creativity, but his entrepreneurial spirit turned what began as a pastime into Odin Leather Goods, a thriving regional brand.

The seeds of the small business were planted in 2012 when Clack, a corporate director of online marketing, went into a leather shop on a whim and picked up the tools and materials he needed to make a laptop sleeve. 

Soon, his experiment bloomed into a hobby that began to consume a good portion of his evenings and weekends. “Hobbies are expensive,” he said. “I started wondering, ‘How can I get a return?’”

The Dallas-area resident quickly figured out how to turn his passion for leatherworking into a business and now makes a significant side income from his creations. He also has leveraged a small budget, his contacts, and social media to double his business and gain loyal customers around the world.

Clack – who handles all of the production, marketing and shipping – primarily focused on improving his processes in order to increase production. When he started working with leather, he made two to three wallets a week. Now he produces more than 50 wallets along with other types of leather goods in that time span. “I ship 20-30 orders per week. Half are outside the state of Texas,” he said. “It is also normal for me to have bulk orders each week that consist of 50-100 pieces. I would have thought this was impossible four years ago given that I’m a one man shop. By focusing on efficiently managing resources and my processes I’ve been able to dramatically improve production speed.”

Clack currently is focusing on making Odin Leather Goods into a significant regional brand. He also is starting to do co-branded work with a variety of well-established companies, including Southwest Airlines, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion, Jack Mason watches, Renaissance Hotels, and Rolls Royce.

Adding fuel to the entrepreneurial spirit

Clack, who earned a degree in marketing, credits Mays and Texas A&M University for instilling a strong work ethic and fueling his entrepreneurial spirit. He especially appreciates Mays internships, which gave him the opportunity to get real-world experience.  

As a student, he held a staff position in Texas A&M’s Department of Multicultural Services Department and served as co-chair for the Southwestern Black Leadership Conference. During his time in school, Clack also started a few businesses, including a small company in which he created web designs. “I came out of Texas A&M with a resume that showed a history of production, a history of work, and a history of success,” he said. “And I had numbers to back it up instead of just having a resume full of activities.”

New horizons opening up

Unlike many entrepreneurs who have a side business, Clack doesn’t want to eliminate his day job. “I enjoy what I do, and I’ve put the last 10-15 years into building my professional career,” he said. “My side business is a way to keep my creativity going, generate some additional income, and network.”

In an unexpected turn, Clack is beginning to share what he has learned from Mays, his day job and his small business with other entrepreneurs who are part of the maker’s movement.  “I have met a whole lot of great people and worked with a ton of great businesses in the area (through Odin Leather Goods),” he said. “Some of those contacts now are turning into consulting gigs. They’re looking at how I have grown my business and they’re asking, ‘How can I grow my business too?’”

Clack believes the combination of entrepreneurship and creativity offers a very viable way to earn a living. “In this day and age, with very little money in your pocket and a little bit of determination, you can generate significant income just off of good ideas, focus and a lot of hustle.”

 

Categories: Alumni, Entrepreneurship, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

For Roger Montemayor ’99, entrepreneurship is synonymous with confidence.

His guiding question is simple: “Do you believe enough in yourself to take on great risk for great gain?”

Believing in himself to take risks has been integral to his success in taking the helm of his father’s company, Victory Insurance, and growing it to the point of attracting the attention of the one of the largest brokerage firms in the world, Arthur J. Gallagher, where he is now area president.

Since he was a college student majoring in business management, he has had all the makings of an entrepreneurial spirit — drive, passion, and a love of leading others to accomplish great things.

“I knew early on that I wanted my performance to control my destiny and took a job offer from my dad to work in sales,” he said. He worked for his father’s company Victory Insurance selling commercial property and casualty to businesses in around the Houston area.

In 2009, Montemayor decided to purchase the agency from his dad and his partner.

“Immediately after he closed, I formulated a plan to diversify our business and focus heavily on growth. I created a personal lines division, that focused on high net worth, complex personal insurance needs. I also opened up a group benefits division, Victory Benefits Advisors.”

Montemayor said that both of these divisions created instant organic growth for the company. By 2016, he had doubled the top line growth of his agency.

Montemayor said he has always had a passion to build business and to lead. “I think it’s because I love the pressure, I love the hustle, I love competition and I’ve never been complacent.”

Montemayor easily recalls a highlight of his career: In 2016, when Fortune 500 company Arthur J. Gallagher sought out with interest in a merger.

The rewards of his endeavors with Victory Insurance have been vast for Montemayor, especially when it comes to the people with whom he works. “I love the responsibility of taking care of my employees,” he said. “It’s extremely fulfilling to know that if I do my job the way that I should, many others will also share in the success.”

Montemayor also underscored that his background at Mays has been invaluable in helping him succeed. “The environment at Mays promoted competition and cultivated a drive that prepared me for the real world.” He credited the community of professors and mentors who were attentive to his preparation and growth.

He added that that the strength of the Aggie network has been crucial. “As Aggies, we take care of each other and we do business with each other. I’ve created so many professional relationships with Aggies, it’s unbelievable.”

 

 

 

Categories: Alumni, Center for Executive Development, Entrepreneurship, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Several research projects by University Distinguished Professor of Marketing Leonard Berry at Mays Business School have come to fruition.

Berry, whose research focuses on improving service in cancer care, has been involved with multiple studies on improving the quality of end-of-life care for patients with advanced illness.

Unlocking intrinsic hope in patients with advanced illness

Can cancer patients tap into a certain kind of hope that is often overlooked but incredibly therapeutic and healing?

In an article published in The BMJ Opinion (British Medical Journal) titled “The Dual Nature of Hope at the End of Life,” Berry and his co-authors suggest clinicians can help patients tap into a certain kind of hope that is often overlooked but incredibly therapeutic and healing. They differentiate between two types of hope: focused (focused on a cure and recovery) and intrinsic (peace with circumstances and ability to live in the moment).

…Read more

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M


Marketing Ph.D. student Brady Hodges was awarded second place and $750 at the International Business Pedagogy Workshops Poster Presentation at Georgia State University. 

The competition was part of a workshop held by the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).

According to the CIBER website, the poster sessions were designed to showcase and share cutting-edge practices in teaching international business. Poster proposals were evaluated by a peer review committee following a double-blind process. Criteria included importance of the topic to the audience, novelty, creativity, and adaptability for use by other faculty members. …Read more

Categories: Center for Business International Studies, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Willie Dennis, a Class of 2018 Full-Time MBA candidate at Mays Business School, was named among the 2017 scholarship recipients of the Texas Business Hall of Fame (TBHF). He was awarded $15,000.

According to TBHF guidelines, eligible candidates for the scholarship exhibit entrepreneurial aspirations, demonstrate a propensity for leadership in academic and campus activities and entrepreneurial achievements, and have good academic credentials.

Recipients were chosen after a round of nominations and then an interview process. A final recipient for each scholarship was selected to represent each of the participating universities.

Amber Acosta, associate director of the Full-Time MBA program, described Dennis as an active and contributing member of the MBA program. “His valuable insight in the classroom is matched only by his commitment to getting a well-rounded education,” she said. “Everything Willie does, he strives to do his absolute best. I have no doubt that Willie will be in the Texas Business Hall of Fame someday. We are so proud of him for receiving this prestigious scholarship.”

Previous Mays students to win TBHF scholarships include Full-Time MBA graduate Lloyd McGuire and Business Honors and Finance major Christopher Bybee ’17.

Categories: Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

In support of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Foundation has received a commitment of $25 million from the Mays Family Foundation, the largest single commitment in the school’s history. The gift is part of an overall lifetime giving of $47 million, including a $15 million commitment in 1996 that resulted in the school’s renaming to Mays Business School.


The $25 million contribution will develop students’ entrepreneurial capabilities through a new Lowry Mays Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy program with the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, and will support several areas of innovation in Mays Business School, including the proposed expansion of the school’s headquarters, the Wehner Building, and the school’s study abroad programs.

…Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M