David Williams ’79, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Noble Corporation PLC, kicked off the Mays Transformational Leaders Speaker Series with an overview of his industry and some advice for Aggies. He spoke to MBA students, undergraduate students, and faculty and staff members.

Mays Dean Eli Jones said when introducing Williams that he was a good fit for the series. “A Mays transformational leader is someone who has an ethical mindset, a global mindset, is analytical, and has the ability to embrace change and to try new things,” he said. “That’s what you are, Mays students, and that’s what Mr. Williams is. He is one of us.”

Williams obtained his bachelor’s degree in marketing at Texas A&M University. He was selected one of Mays’ Outstanding Alumni in 2009 for his career achievements, as well as his service and dedication to Texas A&M. His first job out of college was in a shipyard in 1979, and he has been in the offshore drilling service industry since 1981.

“I have traveled just about everywhere except Antarctica, and I wouldn’t trade my job for anything,” Williams said.  “It’s hard sometimes, it’s volatile sometimes and our work is complex, but our business model is really pretty simple:  We punch holes in the ground for money – that’s it. Our oil company clients hire us to drill wells below the oceans of the world for a fee.” …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Energy, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

By Dunae Crenwelge, The Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation has received commitments of $3 million from the Mays Family Foundation and $2.6 million from the Charles Koch Foundation to establish the Mays Innovation Research Center within the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

With these contributions, both foundations continue their legacy of philanthropy at Texas A&M. In 2017, the Mays Family Foundation has given a record $25 million in support of Mays Business School, bringing its lifetime contributions to more than $50 million. This contribution marks the first gift from the Koch Foundation to Mays Business School, although the organization has supported other endeavors at Texas A&M.

Drawing from academic disciplines across the Texas A&M campus, the center will examine the nature of innovation. Research at the center will focus on how innovation advances human potential; the essential conditions necessary for innovation to flourish; how innovation spreads; and the social, economic and legal frameworks necessary to support innovation. Many traditional university innovation centers focus on teaching the history, theory, and practice of innovation. By contrast, the center is a research-oriented academic center that will engage in the study of innovation to advance knowledge in this important field.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School will explore “Strategies for Navigating the Path to Executive Leadership” in its semi-annual Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) conference on Oct. 20 at Texas A&M University. In its eighth year, WLI was created as a vehicle to boost the number of women in leadership positions and demonstrate the school’s commitment to developing women as transformational leaders.

The 2017 Mays WLI Conference is a dynamic one-day leadership conference that focuses on critical issues pertaining to women’s leadership development. The conference theme will focus on the strategies for women to step up to the corner office. Attendees are invited to explore issues that women leaders face through a keynote featuring Col. Kimberly D. Olson, dialogues, networking and a luncheon panel discussion.

“WLI 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.

This year’s theme was inspired by the underrepresentation of women in executive leadership positions. National statistics show that 50 percent of all undergraduate degrees and 30 percent of MBAs granted in the U.S. in 2014 went to women. Yet fewer than 5 percent of Fortune 500 firms are headed by women.

According to Annie McGowan, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion at Mays Business School, the goal of WLI is to arrest national trends by leveraging the knowledge of the school’s world-class leadership faculty, the adult learning expertise of the Mays Center for Executive Development, and the power of the Aggie Network to offer a gateway to seats at board tables and development activities for those aspiring to expand the scope of their leadership opportunities.

The event will take place in the Memorial Student Center Bethancourt Ballroom at Texas A&M University.

The conference is open to the public. Registration before Sept.15 is $400 for a table of eight, $60 for business leaders, $30 for faculty and staff, and $12 for college-aged students. All meals and refreshments are included in the registration fee.

The event is sponsored in part by Mays Business School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

For more information and to register, visit tx.ag/MaysWLI17  

About the speakers:

Kimberly D. Olson, Colonel (Retired) – Through her trail-blazing military service as an aviation leader, commander and patriot Col. Olson has reshaped the perception of women serving their country. She was part of the first generation of female military pilots in the United States Air Force and one of the first to command an operational flying squadron. She served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Air Staff and deployed to several combat zones, including Iraq. As the retired CEO/President of Grace After Fire, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to helping women veterans help themselves, she reshaped how care was delivered to thousands of women veterans.

Annie McGowan, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Mays Business School – McGowan heads the Mays Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which aims to realize Mays’ strategic vision as a vibrant learning organization that respects differences and embraces connectedness. McGowan works with members of the school in the areas of cultural sensitivity and inclusion, diversity in student recruitment and retention and community relations. She is an associate professor of accounting and has served as the director of the Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) at Mays since 2008.

Cynthia Devers, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and a Mays Research Fellow, Mays Business School – Devers is also an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation and an outgoing Associate Editor of Academy of Management Review. In her research, she draws on behavioral decision and social psychological perspectives to examine the roles formal and informal governance mechanisms and social evaluations play in individual, group, and organizational behavior and outcomes. Her work has been published in strategy and management journals, including Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Journal of Management.

Renee Schroeder, Senior Vice President, Advisor Services Technology, Schwab Advisor Services – Schroeder is responsible for development and maintenance of the Advisor Services products and websites. This includes Schwab Advisor Center, Schwab Retirement Center, and Schwab Institutional. Before joining Schwab, Schroeder worked for USAA, where she led applications development, systems maintenance and customer support for USAA’s Brokerage & Mutual Funds; Institutional Trading; Life, Health, and Annuities; and Wealth Management systems. She earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University.

Susan Rudd Bailey, M.D., Fort Worth Allergy – Bailey is an allergist and immunologist from Fort Worth, Texas, and the Speaker of the American Medical Association House of Delegates. Dr. Bailey brings an impressive record of involvement in organized medicine and is a recent past president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA). In 2016, she was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University.

Deb Merril, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Just Energy Group Inc. – As the President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of a growing global energy company, Merril applies her passion for raising the bar to delivering forward-thinking solutions and progressive product and service options as a trusted energy advisor for customers across geographical lines. She holds an MBA and a master’s degree in economics from Mays Business School.

 

Categories: Alumni, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M, Women's Leadership Initiative

A scholarship and a Disney movie helped Mays Business School student Arden Robertson achieve her dreams of attending Texas A&M University and working for NASA. Arden will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in Business Honors and accounting as well as a master’s degree in management information systems as part of Mays’ Professional Program in Accounting.

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Student speaker Arden Robertson

She spoke at the Mays 2016 Scholarship Banquet Nov. 3 about how the Disney movie “Toy Story” influenced her life. She identified more with than Woody the cowboy, and has parlayed three summer internships at NASA into a job offer there upon graduation.

“All because of one scholarship, I was able to be just like Woody and achieve the Western dream while keeping intact core values and emulate Buzz by going to the infinity and beyond by working with NASA,” she told about 500 attendees at the Zone Club at Kyle Field. “Needless to say, just getting the opportunity to come to Texas [from Florida] and attend Texas A&M was a dream come true in itself! However, the dream kept getting better.”

…Read more

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

Bruce D. Broussard ’84, CEO of Humana, will speak at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School on Sept. 29 as part of Dean Eli Jones’ Leadership Series. Broussard will speak from 11:10 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. in Wehner 113, also known as Ray Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
preview-full-Bruce_Broussard_MEDIresNo American university has turned out more Fortune 100 company CEOs than Texas A&M, according to a recent U.S. News & World Report ranking. Broussard is CEO of Humana, a Fortune 100 company. He earned his BBA in finance and accounting from Texas A&M.
Jones said he is honored to welcome Broussard back to Mays Business School. “Bruce is a great example of our vision to develop the Mays Transformational Leader: Responsible, ethical leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets and vision, who have strong business competencies and personify selfless service.”
Broussard joined Humana as president in December 2011 and became chief executive officer on Jan. 1, 2013. Under his leadership, Humana is creating an integrated care delivery model that is expected to drive lower costs, enhanced quality, improved outcomes and a better member experience. With its holistic approach, Humana is dedicated to improving the health of the communities it serves by making it easy for people to achieve their best health.
Broussard brings to Humana a wide range of executive leadership experience in publicly traded and private organizations within a variety of healthcare sectors, including oncology, pharmaceuticals, assisted living/senior housing, home care, physician practice management, surgical centers and dental networks.
Broussard’s visit is part of an effort at Mays Business School to disseminate impactful knowledge to the Texas A&M University campus and beyond. Past speakers have included Cigna Corporation president and CEO David Cordani, Halliburton President Jeff Miller and Dean’s Distinguished Scholars VK Kumar, a marketing visionary, and Luk Van Wassenhove, a supply chain thought leader.
Paid parking is available nearby in Lot 72 of the Texas A&M University campus.

Categories: Alumni, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Finance, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

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.”

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Transformational Leader speakers, News, Students, Texas A&M

After working together for 23 years, Ben Guill and Joseph “Joe Bob” Edwards know how to use their passions and healthy relationships to build a successful private equity firm. Although neither graduated from Texas A&M University, they both feel they share a unique bond with the school that has led them to speak on behalf of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the opportunity to share their professional advice and expertise with the Mays community.

Guill holds an MBA in finance from Wharton School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton University. After receiving a bachelor’s degree with a focus in finance from the University of Texas at Austin, Edwards moved to Houston to start working for Simmons & Company International, where he met Guill. Three years later they both moved on to work for First Reserve Corporation, where they opened the firm’s Houston office and led First Reserve’s investment efforts in the oilfield services sector. The pair eventually left to start White Deer Energy, where Guill serves as managing partner.

Guill started out the session at Mays by giving one key piece of advice before jumping into discussions of White Deer Energy and opening up the floor for students to ask questions. “If you are lucky enough to get a job before business graduate school, do not think you have to go back,” he said. “Business school is not for everyone, so do not go to grad school just because you don’t know what to do.” …Read more

Categories: Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Transformational Leader speakers, News, Texas A&M

Roger Montemeyor headshot

Having grown up in Galveston, Texas, post Hurricane Alicia and during the 1980’s oil crisis, Roger Montemayor ’99 understands what it is like to live without. Montemayor, who received his bachelor’s degree in management from Texas A&M University, shared his path to success with current students and presented them with tips on how to be successful post-graduation.

Montemayor currently serves as Area President for Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) and has served on the leadership team for AJG since his merger with them in 2016. During this time, Montemayor has led his team to exponential growth by innovating property and casualty insurance programs for a number of different industries that include public entities, energy, construction, manufacturing, and real estate. Montemayor recently visited with business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker series, which recognizes leaders in today’s society and gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge with Mays students.

In the beginning of the session, Montemayor explained that his purpose, his drive, and his faith are the three main components of his success. “The most important piece of advice I can give to each and every one of you is to know your purpose,” he said. “Very few things in life will impact everything you do, but your purpose is one of them.”

Along with knowing your purpose, Montemayor used his life experiences to come up with three other pieces of advice for the students:

  • Your “go” has to be greater than your “know.” Knowledge is important, but a good education will mean nothing if you are lazy and have no sense of hustle.
  • Surround yourself with mentors and people you love. You lose your edge the moment you start thinking you have everything figured out. This is when mentors can come into play by helping you stay grounded.  Also, success means so much more when you share it with people you love, both at work and at home.
  • Paranoia is complacency’s greatest defense. “My company continues to grow because my competition stays complacent. Do not ever let yourself reach that point. Stay paranoid,” Montemayor said.

Although Montemayor is successful now, this was not always the case. When he was young, his dad was laid off, which led to some very tough times. His dad picked himself up and went all in on himself.  He went on to build one of the largest independently owned insurance agencies in his area.  He knew the risk, but he also knew what he had to do for his family.  Montemayor vowed to do the same.

“My dad is my biggest inspiration,” he said. Between the years of 2004 and 2016, Montemayor faced many challenges and tribulations, but his faith, motivation, and reminder of his father’s success kept him going.

As the session came to a close, Montemayor gave the students one last piece of advice: If you are ever doubting yourself, just remember his story. “I was rejected from Texas A&M twice before I was accepted, and I am probably not the smartest guy in this room,” he said. “I am where I am today because of my hustle, my drive, my faith, and this little piece of gold on my finger. The Aggie network is real, and I encourage each and every one of you to take advantage of it for the rest of your lives.”

Roger Montemeyor group photo

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Featured Stories, Former Students, Management, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Having learned what it means to find good culture during her time at Texas A&M University, Jana Ahlfinger Bell ’86 wanted to share with current students the insights she has gained in her career on her way to becoming the Executive Vice President and CFO of RMG Networks.

Bell, who received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M, also worked as the CFO of EF Johnson Technologies, Inc., as president and CEO of Simple Products Inc., and as the CEO, president, and director of @TRACK Communications, Inc. Bell 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 opportunity to share their expertise with the Mays Community.

“Interviewing is important for both the employer and the potential employee,” Bell said, when she explained her wish for the students in the session – that when they go to their first job, they find a place that is interesting and get to work with great people.

“But how can one decipher what a company’s culture is like just based on the first initial interview?” one of the students asked. Bell responded: “You have to interview as if you’re already there, inside the company. See yourself there, and then you will ask more in-depth questions.”

Bell continued to highlight other ways to discover a company’s culture:

  • Think about yourself actually working there and what that would be like. Delve into their daily happenings to gain that understanding.
  • Pay attention to the tone at the top of the company, what is important to the leadership of the company, because it really matters.
  • Do your homework on the company and the industry to gain insight into the culture. A defense contractor, for example, has a different culture as compared with a media company, or a technology company, or a professional firm, or an oil & gas company.

Bell closed the discussion by telling the students, “I love what I am doing, and I have found that ethical center in what I do. I love being a mentor.”

Bell advised the students to “make the most of the opportunities presented to you during your time at Texas A&M like these speaker sessions.” Bell told the students she wishes she had the opportunities that the students have now to network with speakers like herself, and she encouraged them to take advantage of all of the networking opportunities provided to them during their time here.

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

In a journey that has taken Bill Sims ’89 from studying engineering and receiving both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree to becoming president and CEO of The Accent Family of Companies, Sims says that continuous learning and having a drive to understand everything is what led to his success in the business world.

Sims spent his time with Business Honors students during the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series – a series that recognizes business leaders in industry and gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge with the communities of Mays – walking through his achievement of finding that drive and success.

Accent Family of Companies was started 30 years ago by Sims’ father, and the company continues to be family-owned. The company has experienced great success as it is the world’s largest supplier of packaging and packaging equipment for the recycling and waste industry, and is a major supplier of building materials for the residential and commercial construction industry.

During Sims’ time as president, the company has gone through great strategic and cultural change. He created a robust team and infrastructure that embraces an entrepreneurial approach and supports the change that accompanies fast-paced growth. Essentially, Sims wanted to incorporate a culture of analytics within his company, and that started with company strategy.

“Mr. Sims himself leads with an entrepreneurial attitude despite not being the founder of the company,” said Emma Gaas ’18, a business honors and marketing major. “He educated himself in business by reading books and by receiving coaching from successful business people.”

One of Sims’ strategic inspirations came from Jim Collins, author of the book “Good to Great,” which discusses why some companies make the leap and some don’t. Collins looks in detail at the strategies of the 11 breakthrough companies and how they have found the success they experience today. From this book’s findings, Sims implemented a number of strategic approaches into Accent.

One of these strategies is based off of a “first who, then what” approach. In this approach, companies seek out and add the right people for the company first, building a superior team, then determine the best path to greatness with said team. Instead, many companies today do the opposite – a “first what, then who,” approach.

Accent’s strategy has evolved through three stages over the life of the company:

  • The lean startup stage, where you have to be very entrepreneurial and take great risks
  • The growth stage, where Accent expanded to new markets, developed new products, and leveraged its supply chain to enter new businesses
  • 200 X 20, Accent’s current stage, a six-year plan concentrating of revenue growth to $200 million by 2020 and improving shareholder return

Wrapping up the session, Sims left the students with a few works of key advice to finding success and happiness. When fielding questions from the students about work/life balance and the pursuit of an MBA, Sims advised, “Make time for what you want to do.”

Klaire Hetmaniak ’21, a business honors major, summarized the session: “Bill Sims’ work and development with his company taught me the importance of continuing to learn new things even after I graduate because one never knows what his or her future holds.”

 

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