Fifty-five years after Texas A&M University first began admitting female students, Mays Business School is encouraging women to step into top leadership roles in their organizations and communities. Mays’ Women’s Leadership Initiative Conference, held Oct. 19, offered tips on becoming a transformational leader, overcoming issues that women face in the work world, and negotiations. The conference was attended by approximately 400 current students, former students, Mays faculty and staff, and key stakeholders.
The conference opened with a welcome by Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82, who pointed out that the first strategic initiative in Mays strategic plan calls for increasing diversity and inclusion. This conference encourages women – who are often missing from corporate executive offices — to start stepping into leadership roles. …Read more
The percentage of women enrolling in Mays Business School’s Professional MBA Program continues to grow in a sustained effort to increase the number of women leaders in the business world. Over the first five years of the program, female students made up on average 22 percent of each cohort, with a high of 31 percent and a low of 14 percent. The enrollments of the two most recent cohorts (Classes of 2019 and 2020) average 40 percent women, exceeding the national average of 36.8 percent.
This increase is part of the Professional MBA Program’s effort to fulfill Mays Business School’s mission to advance the world’s prosperity. A Morgan Stanley analysis points out that having more gender diversity in businesses results in increased productivity and innovation, better products and decision-making, and higher employee retention and satisfaction. However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women – who make up almost half of the U.S. workforce – comprise only 27 percent of chief executives and 27 percent of computer and information systems managers. Furthermore, 24/7 Wall Street found that only 14 of the top 234 companies that own many of the world’s top brands had a female CEO; nine of these companies did not have a woman serving in an executive position or on the board. …Read more
The ventures at this year’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans (EBV), hosted by Mays Business School’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, ranged from network solutions for small businesses to artisan products to novel applications of artificial intelligence. The 21 veterans in this year’s class came from across the United States and represented nearly every branch of the military.
Since 2008, the McFerrin Center has hosted the intensive training program developed to help disabled veterans develop the competencies and skills necessary to create and sustain an entrepreneurial or small business venture. …Read more
The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship welcomed 22 veterans to Aggieland for the 11th annual Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) on the evening of Saturday, July 14.
EBV at Texas A&M University is an exceptional initiative that leverages the resources and infrastructure of higher education to provide entrepreneurial skills and small business management training to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities. Part of a nationwide consortia of nine universities offering EBV to disabled veteran entrepreneurs, the overall goal of Texas A&M’s program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining a commercial venture.
The opening ceremonies were held at the Association of Former Students with a welcome address made by Kathryn Greenwade ’88 of the Association of Former Students and opening remarks made by David Shimek ’86 of the program’s underwriter, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company.
Honoring the past, encouraging the future
Ron Poynter, retired Army helicopter pilot and EBV Class of 2012 graduate, was recognized with the Robin ’76 & Robert Starnes ’72 EBV Outstanding Alumni Award and delivered an encouraging and thoughtful speech to this year’s participants. Poynter encouraged the 2018 class to stay focused and engaged in their industry’s trends and to be prepared for a lot of hard work.
The program consists of a 21-day online course followed by a nine-day residency at Texas A&M. During the in-residence portion of EBV, participants will spend the week attending lectures and workshops at Mays Business School’s Center for Executive Development, where they will learn about enterprise basics, lean startup methodologies and small business growth strategies. The bootcamp extends well into the evening hours with individual breakout meetings between participants and volunteer mentors from the local community. Thanks to the generosity of the program’s individual and private-sector sponsors, EBV is offered at no cost to the participants.
This year’s class includes business ventures ranging from an eco-friendly flower alternative to healthcare to drone-imaging services, with nearly every venture focused on employing and giving back to fellow veterans.
With bright eyes and smiling faces, 38 rising high school seniors enjoyed the first annual Mays Transformational Leadership Academy. It gives participants the opportunity to experience college life at Mays Business School including taking classes led by Texas A&M University professors on subjects such as public speaking, leadership, business model development, as well as the majors that are offered at Mays. The participants heard from corporate panels ranging from JP Morgan, Deloitte Consulting, and KPMG.
The objectives of this program are to:
Cultivate the leadership and academic potential of rising high school seniors
Allow students to experience on a first-hand basis a microcosm of the collegiate and professional lives of business students
Introduce talented students to career opportunities in business disciplines
Provide information about admission, scholarship funding, and high-impact programs available at Mays
“It is not about starting the company, it is about what you do today with an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Clinical Professor Kris Muir.
In addition to these objectives, participants learned from many people who could have a profound effect on not only their decision of where they will be attending university next year but on their lives. “Start to find your 12,” Mays Dean Eli Jones said the opening day. “I made a list of 12 influential people in my life and kept in touch with them throughout my professional career.”
Throughout the week, the participants stayed in Texas A&M dormitories and were led by seven small group leaders who were there for them as support. Every night, the small group leaders lead a reflection on the days’ events as well as assisted them with their week-long project, which the participants presented on the last day. When they presented, they also be received feedback from a panel of Mays professors and executives.
The event was hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Mays Business School and coordinated by numerous faculty, staff members, and students. Ricky Dillard Jr. ’19 served as the Chief Logistics Officer of the program and Kate Wellmann ’18 was the Chief of Staff. “Our team is dedicated to being a voice and not an echo for the future world leaders,” Dillard said. “Seeing the enthusiastic parents and participants at the MTLA opening has jump-started and re-energized our purpose to enable a diverse set of Transformational Leaders to begin their leadership journey.”
Several participants said interactions at the Student Recreational Center on campus helped strengthen their relationships. “We think this will help us in our group project by being able to trust each other on a deeper level,” one said.
The 80/20 Foundation and KPMG have demonstrated their support for our efforts to create a culture of diversity, inclusion, and engagement at Mays by sponsoring the Mays Transformational Leadership Academy. Organizers are hopeful this will lead to some of the students becoming members of the Texas A&M Class of 2023.
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.
Third-year accounting doctoral student Jennifer Glenn has faced several obstacles in her life that have not only taught her how to be resilient, but have also shown her the power of perseverance.
Her inspiring fight against adversity led to her selection for the 2018 Community of Scholars Unsung Hero Award, an award created by the Texas A&M University Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) to recognize current graduate students who have faced and overcome difficult life experiences during their time at Texas A&M.
Glenn’s fight against adversity began in elementary school, when she developed a severe stutter. She was told by many of her teachers that she would never find a good job due to her inability to speak without stuttering. This did not set her back, however, because she still earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and her CPA license, despite her speech impediment. “I refuse to let anything stand in my way when it comes to accomplishing my goals,” Glenn said.
Years later, during her second year in the Ph.D. program at Texas A&M, Glenn learned that she needed brain surgery to remove a brain tumor that had been growing at an alarmingly fast rate and was feared to be cancer. Glenn had brain surgery six months before her comprehensive exam, which is required before a Ph.D. student can begin working on their dissertation.…Read more
With around 200 attendees coming “together with technology,” The 19th annual Women in Information Technology Conference brought together women to network and learn from others currently building their careers in information technology. It was hosted by the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) on March 2 in the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University.
Female students with an interest in information technology participated in roundtable discussions on topics such as lessons learned from senior executives, managers, professionals and new graduates in the workforce. They also discussed advice such as finding a job, career building, finding a mentor and new technology trends.
After a welcome speech by Executive Professor and CMIS Director Robin Starnes, the conference attendees heard from three keynote speakers:
Diane Schwarz, VP and CIO, Textron – Tech Trends From My Career to Yours
Tammy Hermann, Director of IT, H-E-B – Mind-Blowing Tech – at the grocery store?
In her presentation, Suhl advised the women to “get clear on what you will be measured on.” This is done through credibility, reliability, and intimacy, which all culminates into trust. Key components of leadership Suhl spoke on were performance, image, and exposure.
When sharing “Tech Trends,” Schwarz shed light on self-healing, shared insights from security in the past, explained the concept of how technology constantly changes, and highlighted the benefits of mentoring and listening.
Hermann’s presentation on “Mind-Blowing Tech – at the grocery store?” outlined Gig economies, the desire for conversation, short attention spans, and how tech
The conference ended with the announcement of door prize winners including two iPads provided by the Texas A&M IT department, a Katie Decker pendant donated by David Gardner’s Jewelers, $500 in scholarship funds, and many more. All guests received gift bags as well.
Feedback on the event was positive, with guests commenting that “the ratio of company representatives to students ratio at the tables was perfect this year,” and that the “speakers were great, but the best part was interacting with the students and being able to trade advice.”
CMIS will celebrate its 20th annual Women in IT Conference on March 1, 2019, at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.
After serving as the Class of 2019 president three years in a row, Mays management junior Amy Sharp readily steps up as the next Texas A&M University Student Body President. She received 66.03 percent of the votes.
Sharp grew up in Conroe, Texas, where she attended Oak Ridge High School before coming to Texas A&M. From the start of her college experience, Sharp knew she wanted to make a difference on campus. As student body president, Sharp will focus on three things: academic improvement, increased inclusion, and improved access to mental and physical health services.
“A student body president’s job is to represent student voices in all affairs and amplify them to any platform necessary to enact positive change,” Sharp said. “As the student body president-elect, I am committed to embodying the Texas Aggie core value of selfless service by working tirelessly to serve students.”
Sharp and her supporters spent weeks poring over the platform they had written together, brainstorming ideas to set them apart from the competition, and coordinating the execution of their plans. By the time the four-day campaign period started, Sharp and her team were ready to convince all students why Sharp should be elected student body president. “My team put forth an incredible campaign that was meticulous, genuine, and bursting with integrity, and that is exactly what we set out to do,” Sharp said.
A long-time leader
Along with her recurring role as Class of 2019 president, Sharp has also been actively involved in the business honors program during her time at Mays Business School. Through business honors, Sharp has been able to network with executive speakers, travel to businesses across the country, and grow as a leader both inside and outside of the classroom.
“The community that I have been surrounded by in business honors has been so supportive,” Sharp said. “All of the students in business honors are hard- working, kind, impact-driven individuals who want each other to succeed, and I get the honor of sitting next to them in class and learning from them on a daily basis.”
While in the role of student body president, Sharp hopes she can work to build bridges between the student body and the Student Government Association. “I will make it a priority to meet students where they are and build relationships with them, because I know this is the best way to understand the student experience on our campus,” she said. By creating a stellar classroom experience, making Texas A&M a more inclusive campus, and improving the quality of mental and physical health care services, Sharp hopes to improve the college experience for many Aggies.
Sharp will take office on April 21 after current student body president Bobby Brooks completes his term with a speech at the campus Muster ceremony. As the time to take office comes closer, Sharp cannot help but think about what Mays has done for her the past three years. “My courses at Mays have taught me much about giving back, integrity, and choosing styles of leadership, all of which will be very necessary skills and knowledge points as I begin to serve Texas A&M as student body president,” Sharp said.
After she graduates, she is hoping to pursue her passions of helping people with mental health and substance abuse problems, as well as relieve children in poverty. She is applying for 2+2 programs and hopes to pursue an MBA.
The Mays Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted Chuck Saia, CEO of Deloitte Risk, Consulting, and Financial Advisory Services, as part of the “Mays Speaks” series. The critical dialogue series seeks to educate students on ways to respond to acts of bias in a manner that invites dialogue rather than anger. Saia led an open discussion with participants on the role of a courageous leader on a global scale.
From the start of the session, however, one could tell that it wouldn’t be difficult for Saia to get his message across, as he was impressed by Texas A&M University and acknowledged that he could see the courageous leadership that is embedded here deep in the history of the campus. “As students attending, you see it and are reminded of it each and every day,” said Saia.
But what is the definition of being a courageous leader, and what does a culture of courageous leadership look like? Saia broke it down into five unique steps:
• Speak openly and be an authentic leader
• Never stop learning
• Build teams that are smarter than you
• Focus on action more than words
• Invite diversity of thought
Saia came to the realization of this concept first-hand after enduring the national tragedy our country experienced on 9/11. Saia opened up to the students when he talked about being on the scene that day, and being one of the last two people to leave the World Financial Center, which is connected to the World Trade Center.
Experiencing that disrupted his perspective and kick-started the implementation of courageous leadership within his company. This was done through, what is now a company tradition, called Impact Day, where the entire firm spends a day making an impact on society and the surrounding community – much like Texas A&M’s Big Event – to create a culture of courage among employees.
Saia then explained to students the steps it takes to embrace the concept of being a courageous leader. One must:
• Walk with swagger and confidence in everything you do
• Elevate your profile, disrupt, and execute
• Learn not to rely on the relationships you currently have
Elaborating on what he meant by being able to disrupt, Saia said that one had to “step outside of yourself and discuss solutions. Even clients don’t know what they truly need.” Continuing with what it means to execute, Saia said “that it is the obligation to leave a firm better tomorrow than it is today. better firm tomorrow than it is today.
Closing the discussion, Saia left participants with some key words of advice on building great relationships:
• Bring breadth and depth to every capability
• Explore new opportunities and step out of your comfort zone
• Be present. Don’t be afraid to have a candid conversation
Saia concluded by asking the students what differentiates them as an individual. “You can’t stay in your own silo, you have to grow as an individual,” he said. “You have to round yourself out in different ways.”