2020 Alumni News October 2020

Passion drives this community bridge-builder

No other word is used more frequently to describe Ana Rodriguez ’03, managing director of the SMU Cox Latino Leadership Initiative.
Spend a day in her office at SMU Cox School of Business, and you’ll see just how much passion fuels this Dallas native, community bridge-builder, and business executive leadership adviser to some of the nation’s largest companies.
“Ana is the right person at the right time with the drive and tenacity to make the difference we and our business partners need,” says Shane Goodwin, associate dean of executive education and graduate programs at the Cox School. “She is absolutely a force of nature.”
As the head of the Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) – the nation’s only executive education program dedicated to the professional advancement of Latinos – Rodriguez helps students and executive-level employees from minority backgrounds transform their lives and careers. The program also helps more than 40 companies –  like AT&T Communications, State Farm, and Walmart – retain and develop C-suite talent, so they don’t miss out on the market value and cultural perspective that Latino professionals bring to the workplace.
As of 2020, Latinos make up over 18% of the population, yet they represent less than 3% of executive-level positions in the United States. Rodriguez knows firsthand what it’s like to struggle to gain a foothold in the U.S.
Read the full story.

Alumni News October 2020

Fueling the future of business

A $15 million gift from Gina L. and Tucker S. Bridwell ’73, ’74 to SMU’s Cox School of Business will generate transformational economic research and cutting-edge business education for generations to come through the creation of the new Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom. The research institute will examine and promote free enterprise in markets around the globe. This generous gift builds on the Bridwells’ legacy of support for SMU and promises to elevate the Cox School’s already outstanding global reputation.

2020 News October 2020

Happy 20th to Gerald J. Ford Stadium!

Since its opening in 2000, Ford Stadium has helped the University flourish. We’ll celebrate this milestone for the remainder of the season as our nationally ranked Mustangs continue to make us proud.
Check out the schedule and get tickets.

2020 Alumni October 2020

SMU Network helps alumni and students make career connections

In today’s world, the trend to work virtually or distanced is growing, making digital networking more important than ever. The new SMU Network is on top of this trend and gives SMU alumni and students a platform to connect, integrate their LinkedIn profiles, filter results by school, class year or city of residence, or  identify as “willing to help” or “needing help.” The platform’s user-friendly features mean a Meadows School of the Arts grad arriving in a new city could find fellow alumni nearby with whom they can connect.
Take Juan Francisco de la Guardia ’10, for example. After several years working in television production in the Dallas-Fort Worth area following graduation, de la Guardia and his wife made the move to Los Angeles. The transition certainly had complications professionally, since de la Guardia needed to establish new connections in L.A. He contacted professors and asked them to connect him with guest speakers from his classes. “My first work was through Meadows Professor Sean Griffin,” de la Guardia says, explaining that Griffin had brought in a reality show producer to speak to his class. “I remembered that guy when I was coming out here, and called Dr. Griffin to ask, ‘Hey, do you have that guy in your Rolodex?’”
Meadows recently conducted internal research showing that students want to interact with alumni and other potential connections but often don’t know how to initiate contact. Fortunately, de la Guardia was extroverted and unafraid to reach out. He ended up scoring his first gig through that connection from Professor Griffin’s class. “If the online SMU Network had existed when we moved to L.A., I would have been on it, looking for Los Angeles film people from SMU,” he says.
Read more at the Meadows School.

2020 News October 2020

The voice of experience: Law student Kevin Lee advocates for the homeless

The newest law student at SMU’s Dedman School of Law is also the most unlikely.
“Looking back and saying, ‘Wow, I was there, but now I’m here.’ Just imagine where else I can go,’” said 26-year-old Kevin Lee. A few years ago, Lee was homeless.

After losing their house in Pittsburgh in a flood, Lee and his mom spent a year bouncing from shelter to shelter. Soon after, his uncle, who was his biggest role model, was murdered.
But when we first met Lee three years ago, he had far different things on his mind.

“I just knew that I wanted to go to college,” he said. “I knew I wanted to go to law school. That was something I knew I wanted to do.”

Lee says he was captivated by the movie “The Great Debaters,” which takes place at Wiley College in Marshall. So, after losing their home, Lee and his mom left Pittsburgh and headed for Texas, where he planned to pursue his dream of going to college.

“I’ve always told him as a child, ‘Whatever you want to be, you can be,’” said Kevin’s mom, Tamara Williams. “So if that’s what you want to be, that’s what you’re going to be.’”

Read more.

2020 News October 2020

Pioneering esports program launches online

The Cox School of Business and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development have created a new certificate to teach the business management side of the growing esports industry.
The Esports Business Management Certificate consists of six courses, each lasting six class hours, and combines a mix of self-paced work with weekly online meetings with instructors. SMU PRO is currently accepting students for the program, which starts in spring 2021. Classes include esports ecosystem and business models, fan engagement and sponsorship activation, and business development and revenue strategies. The certificate can potentially be completed from anywhere in the world in as few as six months.
Read more at SMU PRO.

2020 Alumni News October 2020

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy these quick links to stories, videos and more about the people, programs and events making an impact on the Hilltop.
Watch: Mexico City, Panama and Guatemala chapters kick off Hispanic Heritage Month
Perunapalooza: Scenes from our fave pony’s birthday extravaganza
Bryson DeChambeau ’16 cruises to U.S. Open title with amazing win
Now streaming: SMU Summer Film Productions
Maps for Time Travelers and the geospatial technology revolution
Perkins School to host Leading into Change, November 15–16
SMU community prepares students to research, register and vote
American Educational Research Association honors professor