The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, housed in Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, will honor Genesys Works Founder and CEO Rafael Alvarez ’90, on Thursday for the success and vision it took to launch Genesys Works, a non-profit corporation that changes the life trajectory of underprivileged high school students. Alvarez is the winner of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, which he will collect this week in a visit to the Texas A&M campus.
The award honors a business leader that has been instrumental in the establishment and growth of a successful new venture. A “new venture” may be a start-up or an entrepreneurial effort within an existing company.
“For a proud Aggie like myself, there are few things more gratifying than being honored by your alma mater,” said Alvarez. “But what is especially gratifying, is the fact that Texas A&M recognizes and values companies like Genesys Works, that are making a real difference in our education system and fundamentally changing communities in this country for the better.”
Thursday’s program will begin with a presentation and lecture by Alvarez at 9:30 a.m. in the Ray Auditorium of the Wehner Building at Texas A&M.
While the primary purpose of the award is to honor a successful entrepreneur, the secondary purpose is to give students and faculty an opportunity to interact with and learn from the honoree. In addition to being honored at an awards ceremony, recipients speak to classes and host smaller roundtable discussion sessions while on campus. Local business community leaders often join in, adding to the real-world flavor of the event.
Genesys Works enables high school students to work in meaningful internships, during their senior year in high school, at major corporations where they discover that they can indeed succeed as professionals in the corporate world.
Genesys Works’ innovative model has received wide recognition across the globe. Earlier this year, Forbes Magazine named Alvarez to the publication’s inaugural “Impact 30” list of the world’s top social entrepreneurs. When President Obama launched the White House Office of Social Innovation, Genesys Works was profiled as an example of social innovation that should be replicated across America. Alvarez has spoken about the Genesys Works model across the U.S. at universities, including Harvard and Rice, and has been the guest of government and educational leaders in Ireland to discuss solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.
The Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, established in 2000, is named after the former president and chair of Conn Appliances, Inc. Carroll, Jr. and Dorothy Conn have made lasting contributions in the business and civic worlds, including support for the Conn Award through an endowment. The award honors those entrepreneurs who have the courage and the vision to launch companies that make a lasting impact on their communities and among their employees.
Past winners include L. Lowry Mays ’57 of Clear Channel Communications, Erle Nye ’89 of TXU, Pizza Hut co-founder Frank L. Carney, Administaff co-founder Paul J. Sarvadi and Jason’s Deli founder Joe Tortorice ’70.
About Genesys Works
Genesys Works, established in Houston in 2002, and now with locations in the Bay Area, Chicago and the Minneapolis/St. Paul, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that engages inner-city high school students to break through barriers and discover through meaningful internship experiences that they can succeed as professionals in the corporate world.
About the Entrepreneurial Leadership Award
The award is presented each year by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, whose mission is to provide education and assistance to entrepreneurs and Texas A&M students and faculty. To learn more about the center’s efforts and programs, visit cnve.tamu.edu.