The Texas A&M Foundation recognized Cydney Donnell, executive professor of finance and director of real estate programs in Mays Business School, as the 2018 Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award recipient for her continued efforts to support and fundraise for the Texas A&M University Master of Real Estate program. Donnell received the award at a reception on April 27.
Cydney Donnell ’81, executive professor of finance and director of real estate programs, was named the 2018 recipient of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award for her commitment and generosity to Mays Business School.
The Foundation established the Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award in 2016 to celebrate faculty members who demonstrate dedicated and lasting participation, commitment and creative leadership to philanthropy and Texas A&M University. This accolade acknowledges faculty efforts to build long-term productive relationships between the university, former students and other private partners in philanthropy.
To be selected, faculty must be nominated by a member of the Texas A&M Foundation development staff. Brian Bishop ’91, Texas A&M Foundation assistant vice president for development for Mays Business School, nominated Donnell for the award.
“Cydney is such a treasured asset to Mays Business School,” said Bishop. “Not only is she a tremendous leader of our Master of Real Estate program, but she is also willing to step up and contribute significant financial support to the program for the betterment of our students’ education and the future of the program.”
The Mays Business School Department of Accounting and Professional Program (PPA) recognized several former students for their outstanding achievements and continued support of the accounting program at Texas A&M University. The recipients were recognized at a dinner in College Station with faculty and peers on April 25.
Accounting Hall of Honor
The Accounting Hall of Honor recognizes annually those who have contributed to the growth and success of the accounting program over an extended period of time. The 2018 honorees are Richard Hanus ’76, Stephen Parker ’88, Robert Penshorn ’89, and Jack Suh ’97. Hanus is a retired EY partner, Parker is an assurance energy partner at PwC, Penshorn is a partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP, and Suh is a partner at Deloitte and the first PPA graduate to be inducted.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a PPA graduate whose collective body of work has resulted in a substantial incremental change in the business community, the accounting profession, and/or the lives of those that practice accounting. The 2018 recipient is Jimmy Smith ’97, COO and CFO of FCD Holdings which operates the FC Dallas soccer team, Toyota Stadium in Frisco, and the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Smith’s life reflects his passion for sports, and the opportunities sports provides to the community, and to the growth and development of the individual. He is treasurer and sits on the FC Dallas Foundation Board, which is targeted at helping underserved youth through sports. He lives out his passion of service through sports by coaching his own sons in soccer and basketball. Smith lives in Dallas with his wife and three sons.
Rising Star Award
The Rising Star Award recognizes a recent PPA graduate who is making a substantial impact on society through business acumen, exceptional leadership, or entrepreneurial success. The 2018 recipient is R.T. Dukes, research director for Wood Mackenzie, a global energy research and consultancy group.
Dukes is a visible media presence for Wood Mackenzie in places like Bloomberg and Forbes, a daily presence on Twitter, and host of Wood Mackenzie’s Soundcloud podcast, “Crude for Thought.” He contributes to profit as well through his consulting roles and his valuation and due diligence work for the firm. He is an advisor to company boards and executives and a regular speaker at international industry conferences. Dukes lives in Houston with his wife and three children.
Keith Squires, CEO of PathMaker Group, was invited as a guest lecturer in Henry Musoma’s Management 309 class. This is a reflection his daughter wrote afterward.
One of the things I took away from my father’s speech is what a blessing it is to have the father that I do. The core values he holds have greatly impacted my life and even my own core values. The core value of Balance is a great example. He made Balance a core value within his company because one of his personal core values is Family and spending time with us. This has greatly impacted my life because I had a father who supported me throughout high school; whether it was the choir concerts, musicals, or all day track meets. I could count on the fact that my father would be there. And now in my own life I know that family comes first before my own selfish plans or even, at times, my friends. I am blessed to have a supportive and wise father who wants to help me to achieve my goals.
Since Results is a core value for PathMaker Group, I think that I have seen my father constantly working for the best results for his company within their industry and specifically for their clients. The core value of Results is something that I think I have always had within me. I am a very passionate and committed person who will strive to achieve the best results possible. Right now I apply this value as a student as I am committed to learning but I know that I will strive for the core value of Results in my career as well.
PathMaker Group is also based on Creativity. This core value is one that I struggle with because I am a very logical and straightforward thinker. But without a doubt my father has always pushed me to think creatively, even within my meteorology major, which focuses heavily on math and physics. In fact, he recently sent me an email about how I could even start my own company within my field using established weather data and creating a new practically applicable tool for customers to interpret the data. Now this seems crazy to me; however, it shows how amazing my father is. He has so much faith in my abilities that he knows I can reach for what I think is impossible right now.
The number of people who stood up in class to comment on how beneficial the lecture was and the friends who have talked to me after class make me reflect on the fact the guest lecturer is an extremely wise, talented, and creative man who I am lucky to call my father. Whenever Dr. Musoma mentioned how he dressed up because my father is a CEO, I had to take a step back and think about the fact that I really just know him as my dad. He is the one who has guided and supported me in tough decisions and constantly pushed me to make wise decisions. My father is a very impressive person, demonstrated through his lecture to my Management 309 class and the students’ responses.
After the lecture, my father and I went to get frozen yogurt. While we were talking about how it went I asked him, ”Why didn’t you push me in the direction of doing business?” He said he wanted me to figure out what I was passionate about on my own, and when I was thinking about majors I was leaning more toward the science-based fields of study. This speaks volumes to his character and role as a father because he wants what is best for me and allows me to be independent and choose my own major and career. Even though I know I have my own core values to live by, my father has led by example with his core values for both his company and himself.
Janet Parish has been honored with a University Professorship for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (UPUTE) and was recognized as part of the Transformational Teaching and Learning Conference on April 18. She is a clinical professor and associate department head in the Department of Marketing in Mays. In addition, she is the director of the department’s Professional Selling Initiative.
The award is conferred only upon the university’s most distinguished teachers of undergraduates. The faculty members selected to receive past awards have exhibited uncommon excellence and devotion to the education of undergraduate students of Texas A&M University, according to university officials.
“I am very honored by this recognition,” said Parish. “The administrative and service roles in which I serve have given me a great platform to influence undergraduate education outside of my own classrooms.”
These professors are not only exceptional classroom teachers, but are also innovators in pedagogy, exploring new teaching methods and seeking engagement with other educators in pursuit of excellence.
“Texas A&M University strives to meet our unique mission for Texas by supporting and recognizing our faculty’s outstanding efforts in teaching, research, and service,” said Carol A. Fierke, provost and executive vice president of Texas A&M. “These University Professorships acknowledge the particular expertise these faculty hold in working with our undergraduate students, as they become the future productive citizens of Texas and beyond.”
Yadav Manjit, interim department head of the Department of Marketing, said he is pleased Parish was selected for the award. “Over the years, Dr. Parish has shown considerable leadership in developing initiatives that have significantly impacted undergraduate education in Mays Business School,” he said.
The professorships are made possible through endowments by George and Irma Eppright, and Arthur J. and Wilhelmina Doré Thaman.
Janet Parish is a Clinical Professor and Associate Department Head in the Department of Marketing in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. In addition, she is the director of the department’s Professional Selling Initiative, which is aimed at creating new opportunities for students in sales-related careers. Parish is a Mays Teaching Fellow and a recipient of the Association of Former Students College-Level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching and the Mays Business School Faculty Service Excellence Award.
A group of high school juniors spent the past weekend attending “A Day at Mays” to learn more about their options as not only potential Mays Business School students, but also as prospective Texas A&M University students. Of a select group of students invited, 35 visited campus.
The overriding goal of the “A Day at Mays” program was to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who pursue degrees at Mays Business School. By doing so, Mays hopes to make a major contribution to the larger objective of ensuring a workplace that is not only diversified, but also staffed by highly skilled employees who are prepared to work in a global and multicultural environment.
Photo credit: Corey D. Stone ’13
The activities began on Friday, April 20, and extended through Saturday, April 21. A dinner on Friday provided the high school students to converse with other prospective students, family members, current students, and Mays faculty at the George Hotel in College Station. After dinner, prospective students paired up with current students in Business Student Council (BSC) and Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS) and participated in a fun evening at Grand Central Station, where prospective students were able to build connections and ask questions about real “college” life at Texas A&M.
The next day, the students were able to take a walking tour of the Texas A&M campus and then moved to the Cocanougher Center to learn from Mays faculty and staff. Undergraduate recruiter Corey Stone shared with the students the application process for entrance into Texas A&M. He offered honest advice on earning college credit in high school and the requirements for the students to work for. “When in doubt, email me,” Stone said.
After Stone’s presentation, a panel of current PPA students shared their knowledge of their different track decisions and experiences on their internships. They described the opportunities given in public accounting and explained why they chose to do the PPA program, followed by a question-and-answer session for both parents and prospective students. Students were then given a brief overview of the PPA program by Casey Kyllonen, followed by brief overviews of the rest of the departments in Mays.
At the end of the day, prospective students attended an Opportunity Fair where students could ask questions about opportunities at Mays. This provided a convenient way for participants to learn one-on-one about their specific interests and options, after a packed weekend of group discussions and panels.
The program was sponsored by the PPA program at Mays in conjunction with
PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Profession Program at Mays is an integrated program that allows participants to complete a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting and a master’s of science in one of five business disciplines in just five years.
Marketing Professor Venkatesh Shankar was an invited guest of the U.S. State Department in Cairo, Egypt last week, where he delivered multiple presentations on marketing. He said online promotion can make a quantum leap in the trade between Egypt and the United States.
At the International Conference on Business Sciences on April 15-16, Shankar delivered presentations on “Innovations in Emerging Economies” and “Digital Marketing: Trends and the Future.” He spoke at the American Chamber of Commerce, Cairo University, Nile University, Ain Shams University, American University in Cairo, and American Embassy.
During a meeting with a number of journalists at the American Embassy in Cairo, he said electronic marketing helps to provide information about the products available in Egypt, and is a competitive advantage in the U.S. market. “Electronic marketing can make a difference in the movement of trade in the sectors of cars and technology among countries in the next five years,” he said.
Shankar said the advantages of electronic marketing will not stop at exports and imports between Egypt and the U.S., but could also introduce American consumers to some Egyptian products and services, enabling Egyptian entrepreneurs to market their products electronically and exchange experiences with their counterparts in the U.S.
“The challenge here is that some communication technologies are not as powerful in rural areas,” Shankar said. “They will have to focus on covering those regions.”
Shankar called on all companies to increase their investments in the development of the technology sectors infrastructure, which helps to expand the establishment of electronic stores and facilitates the transport of electronic goods. “Large companies rely on electronic marketing because they consider it a powerful tool to promote their products,” he said.
Venkatesh (Venky) Shankar is the Coleman Chair Professor of Marketing and Director of Research at the Center for Retailing Studies, Mays Business School. His areas of specialization include digital business, marketing strategy, innovation, retailing, international marketing, and pricing. He has been recognized as one among the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thomson Reuters and as a Top 10 scholar worldwide on innovation.
As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Westlake Chemical, Steve Bender ’78 has been instrumental in many of the company’s financial decisions. Bender recently visited with Mays business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the chance to share their expertise with Mays students.
Bender graduated from Texas A&M University with a finance degree, then went on to receive an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Bender was assistant treasurer at Halliburton and served as vice president and treasurer of KBR prior to joining the Westlake Chemical team as vice president and treasurer in 2005 and later made EVP and CFO. Bender wanted to share with current students the wisdom he has gained at Westlake Chemical after being involved in multiple company acquisitions during his time there.
The most significant company Westlake acquired was Axiall in 2016. “We believed this acquisition would enhance margin stability along with providing additional growth expansion opportunities,” Bender said. The acquisition gave Westlake a global presence with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia.
However, the acquisition process was not an easy one. Axiall’s CEO and board of directors were not fans of the idea, and it took months of meetings and increasing the initial offer to finalize the acquisition. Even after signing the deal, there were many long days of tirelessly working to make sure the transition ran smoothly.
Through the entire acquisition process, the main lesson Bender learned was to be open to a diversity of views. “Challenge others without being challenging,” he said. “Recognize that not everyone has the same perspective, so coming to a consensus may not always be easy.”
Bender continued to provide other pieces of advice regarding students’ futures in the working world:
A broad skill set is important. Use your skills and apply them as broadly as you can, and try to leverage those of your co-workers in the process.
Always be truthful, even if it is not always pleasant.
Be careful about burning out your own team. “Make sure your team sees the benefits and rewards that come out of working long days and nights so that they’ll continue returning every morning,” he said.
Bender closed the discussion by telling the students that what they are learning today has plenty of real-world applications. “Be opportunistic, don’t underestimate your relationships with others, and most importantly, use what you are learning today in the real world,” he said.
John Frederick ’18 said he found Bender’s “insights and experience worth paying attention to and listening to for years to come.” James Warman ’21 said these insights helped him “peer into the world of business and made me even more excited to enter the business world after graduation.”
The Aggie Advertising Club recently received a donation of $3,200 from the Association of Former Students to help its advertising competition team attend the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.
The advertising team operates each year as part of Lisa Troy’s MKTG 447 course. Functioning much like an advertising agency, students in the class spend two semesters conducting research, building a multi-million-dollar budgeted, fully integrated marketing campaign for the client brand, developing a professional 22-page campaign plan book, and presenting the campaign to industry judges.
This year’s team will present their campaign for Ocean Spray at the AAF District 10 Convention in Corpus Christi next week. Winners at the district level will advance to nationals in Chicago in June.
Rachel Welch ’17, a student assistant in Mays Business School’s Office of the Dean for nearly five years, was chosen as the Texas A&M Student Employee of the Year.
Rachel Welch, center, was named Student Employee of the Year. She attended the ceremony with fellow Mays students who were nominated, Kennedy Porter and Olivia Lesar.
Welch graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Honors along with a minor in tourism management and a certificate in not-for-profit management. She is pursuing a master’s in human resource management at Mays and has an internship lined up this summer with ConocoPhillips in Houston with their Leadership Development team.
As a student assistant in the Office of the Dean, Welch often serves as the first point of contact for visitors. She manages the phones and general office email account, as well as greets and assists walk-in visitors.
Mays Business School hosted the 2018 Mays Marketing Research Camp on April 6, hosted by the Center of Retailing Studies Research Director and Coleman Professor of Marketing Venkatesh “Venky” Shankar. The event presents faculty and Ph.D. students the opportunity to share, hear, and collaborate with some of the top scholars in marketing on the latest empirical, analytical, and behavioral research.…Read more