TWU School of Management recognizes Alumni, who have graduated and accomplished much in their professional lives. Inspiration plays a major role in what we do best at TWU School of Management and through these testimonials; future students begin to see their own educational journey, knowing we’re here to encourage them along the way.
Wall of Fame | Where dreams are fulfilled
Renee Roker '14
Renee Roker, who graduated with her MBA in Houston, recently was featured in a story that describes how earning her master's degree changed her life. Renee's story about her success is published on human resources management company ADP's website.
Renee credits having an MBA with helping her get a new job as a case manager for STAR Kids, a children's Medicaid-managed care plan.
A passion for creating and expanding small companies launched a successful career for Cynthia Nevels (BA accounting '96, BA psychology '10), who shares her business acumen with aspiring entrepreneurs globally.
Nevels is founder and senior partner of Integrality LLC, established in 2000 as a management consulting firm specializing in the design and delivery of solutions to business needs. Based in Dallas, Integrality supports start-ups and established businesses with services ranging from management, personnel training and marketing strategies to technology integration and financial assistance. Nevels formed the company out of a desire to help others by sharing her knowledge.
“I’m able to relate and communicate with women as a business owner, building a rapport,” she says, crediting her TWU coursework.
In a totally different business venture, Nevels established her organic fast food company, Soulgood, for diversification and as a “passion business.” She developed Soulgood as a popup kitchen at the Dallas Farmers Market and, late last year, debuted a Soulgood Food Truck – the first organic vegan and vegetarian fast food truck in North Texas.
Nevels undertook the food project as inducement to encourage her son, Tyler Nelson, born with Cystic Fibrosis, to eat healthfully. As a teenager, he wasn’t interested in eating “rabbit food,” so Nevels became innovative to trick him into thinking he was eating meat, not vegetarian meals.
She became really good at it, so good that she was featured in CEO MOM Magazine. So good that she was featured on a segment of the nationally syndicated TV show Harry, distributed by NBC Universal and hosted by Harry Connick Jr.
In the segment, Nevels serves her Italian Po’ Boy sandwich to Connick, who can’t tell that the vegetarian sausage isn’t meat. She sells the sandwich and other favorites out of her Soulgood food truck.
Tyler died from transplant complications in 2015. Nevels donates a percentage of the revenue from her food business to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in his memory.
Chermine Jackson '16
Chermine Jackson, a senior claims benefit analyst for health insurer Aetna Inc.’s Medicaid department, always knew she was a leader and felt she could contribute more to society if she was able to step out of her introverted comfort zone. Developing leadership skills while getting her MBA at TWU’s School of Management helped her do just that and made her more marketable professionally.
What she didn’t expect was how much she would grow personally through her master’s journey. By participating in professional networking events sponsored by the School of Management at TWU’s Denton and Dallas campuses and working with her professors, Jackson learned it was okay to make her own business decisions and how to lead through the strengths that come naturally to her.
“The sky is now the limit to what I can accomplish,” Jackson said. “My ultimate goal is to open a boys and girls club in Southeast Dallas, motivating youth to believe in themselves by encouraging them to become the first generation in their families to graduate from college, no matter what obstacles they face.”
Jackson, who also has an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, is a first-generation college graduate herself and credits her parents for the encouragement and her three children for the motivation.
“My hope is that my son and daughters see the results of my degrees and know that college is the right path for them, too,” Jackson said. “Thanks to the education I received at TWU, I am ready to give back to my community and my university.”
Olen Freeman ‘16
When Olen Freeman researched MBA programs across North Texas, he decided on TWU’s School of Management’s MBA Executive Track for three reasons:
- Availability of online classes
- A straight-forward progression to graduation, with no surprises
“I enjoyed my learning at TWU because of the programs focus on human interaction along with an emphasis on group projects, which was a total shift in paradigm from my undergraduate degree as a computer science major,” Freeman said.
Freeman serves as a senior web application developer for the North Texas Tollway Authority in Plano, Texas. Already, he has seen the benefits of his education and how it applies to the workplace. “I’m able to see the bigger picture through varying lenses to choose the path that best fits the situation. The instruction prepared me for managing employees and projects in the future as well as in my current role.”
Freeman’s recommendations to MBA students include really understanding the course material, being open to learning from your classmates as well as the professors, and appreciating the need for proper research.
“So many businesses fail due to the lack of what goes into the bottom line - accounting, finance, economics and solid managerial decision making,” he said. “TWU’s School of Management professors, such as Dr. John Nugent (accounting) and Judge Jo Ann Reyes (economics), helped me develop a better understanding of the business world. I am a better person because of their investment in me.”
Bryan Johnston '16
“A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” – Walter Bagehot
After earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at TWU in 2013, Bryan Johnston (MBA Executive Track – ’16) decided to pursue his MBA at Texas Woman’s. However, he was told by others outside the School of Management he would not succeed because he did not have a business background. Johnston was determined to prove his naysayers wrong and did so in December 2016 when he graduated from TWU’s MBA Executive Track program with a 3.5 GPA.
Following a 12-year military career in the U.S. Army and Navy, Johnston knew he could take on any challenge put before him. Johnston gives credit to TWU’s School of Management faculty and staff for their support, as well that from his wife of 11 years, Asilynne.
Johnston gives this advice to students: “Choose your groups wisely. Include a veteran or an older student in the mix, because they will see you through to the end of the project and will add experience to the conversations that you might not find elsewhere.”
Alishia Spriggins '11
It was a unique combination of fate and faith that brought Alishia Spriggins back to Texas and eventually to the MBA program at TWU School of Management. When an opportunity to go back to school and retool professionally became a reality - by meeting the right person, at the right time, with the right mindset at an educational event where TWU alumni recommended the MBA program and spoke of its flexibility and affordability.
“What I appreciated most as a student was seeing the potential in classmates and how their unique perspective impacted my thinking as a financial analyst. Now I ask questions and see situations from a different angle and/or lenses to move business strategy to customers through talent management serving as an organizational development program manager at FedEx.” says Alishia.
TWU School of Management students are known for “paying it forward” to others less fortunate and Alishia is no exception, in her spare time she teaches money management programs to socially disadvantaged individuals through her church and local YWCA in Dallas. Because she feels helping others develop a budget and getting their finances in order is a priority worth supporting.
TWU Alumni Association
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Page last updated 9:59 AM, May 3, 2017