Organizers of the first Leading Champions executive leadership program hosted by Mays Business School’s Center for Executive Development (CED) in partnership with Texas A&M Athletics Department are calling it a success. They are looking forward to next year’s program.

Chris Lyon, assistant director of business development at the CED, called the first session of the unique executive training phenomenal. “The first 16 participants were awesome and were eager to learn,” he said. “They set the bar for future classes.”

The program is designed to teach participants new ways to lead and bring different ideas to the table by combining business and athletic principles.

In the three-day program, Mays faculty and the nationally renowned coaching staff of Texas A&M Athletics facilitated focused sessions, experiential learning activities, self-assessments and simulations with the objective of strengthening business and leadership acumen. Additionally, participants had opportunities to engage with the coaching staff, exclusively tour popular Texas A&M sports facilities and participate in highly experiential activities related to Texas A&M Athletics.

The program is designed for executive-level leaders and decision makers from a wide range of organizations. “This program is a great example of our mission to develop the Mays Transformational Leader: Responsible, ethical leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets and vision, who have strong business competencies and personify selfless service,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones.

The program was announced at a Sept. 23 Corporate Connections reception at AT&T Stadium, where Mays hosted more than 100 corporate leaders representing more than 60 companies. Jones, as well as Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young and Mays Assistant Dean Ben Welch, spoke of the importance of lifelong learning and how Mays is stepping up to provide it.

Texas A&M Athletics Director Scott Woodward described the program to the Faculty Senate in October. “There are many core principles of athletics such as leadership, team building and sustaining excellence that are applicable in the business world,” he said. “We are excited to partner with Mays Business School on this innovative program that brings together our championship-caliber coaches with the excellent faculty of the Mays Business School.”

Welch, who has led executive education at Mays since 1990, said the new program follows Texas A&M’s unprecedented growth both academically and athletically. “Through this partnership between Mays and A&M Athletics, we have leveraged the wealth of experience and knowledge that made that possible,” he said. “The Leading Champions Executive Program is an opportunity to submerge yourself into Texas A&M’s winning culture while strengthening your leadership skill set.”

To watch a video about the Leading Champions program, visit