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Public Engagement at Concordia University Texas

March 20, 2019
Public Engagement at CTX

On February 11, the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature Foundation (TSHLF) held its annual gala at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The foundation advocates for policy issues that benefit seniors in Texas.

This year, the TSHLF honored three prominent female leaders in Texas: First Lady Cecilia Abbott, Senator Dawn Buckingham and Representative Donna Howard.

Community Engagement as a Concordia Faculty Member

The event was spearheaded by Dr. Elise Brazier, MBA program director and president of the TSHLF.

Brazier considers her engagement with the foundation as a natural extension of her work at Concordia. “Part of being a Concordia faculty member is community engagement,” she says. “This could mean a number of different initiatives, from publishing to participating in conferences and serving on boards.”

Although she concedes that she is not a senior just yet, Brazier says she is passionate about issues affecting seniors. The TSHLF elected her board president after serving only one year because of her energy, passion and strategic vision.

She turned to her own students to help her deliver, as eight of her current and former MBA students joined the organizing committee for the gala.

Public Engagement at CTX

Concordia MBA Students Gain Invaluable Experience

A few of the current students leveraged the opportunity to complete their MBA capstone projects. They networked and consulted with movers and shakers in Texas politics and healthcare to carve out an invaluable educational and professional experience.

Steve Holland was one of those students.

Holland joined the MBA program in 2017 after spending five years working for Stark Lane, a third-party healthcare executive search consultancy.

He originally considered completing his program online, but he changed his mind when he started learning about on-ground networking opportunities with the MBA capstone.

For him, working on the TSHLF gala was the professional opportunity of a lifetime.

“A lot of the work I do at Stark Lane is behind the curtains,” Holland explains. “Companies rely on us to help them find the leaders that make quality healthcare possible.”

For his MBA Capstone, Holland was appointed as Senior Adviser to TSHLF, a title that came with the responsibility of selling tens of thousands of dollars in sponsorship tables for the gala.

Holland says he and his teammates, Brandon Pogue and Adriana Thompson, did not think of this particular Capstone experience as an academic project. “We were in the trenches, throwing grenades and dodging smoke. It was very serious. If we failed, it would have been a reflection on our professor.”

"It's Really About Life-Long Learning"

The stakes were indeed high with state representatives and major executives from both health insurance companies and providers all in attendance, negotiating on actual legislative issues at the gala.

But for Holland, the entire experience was worthwhile: “It was profound. I was able to use the opportunity to expand my sphere of influence amongst my peers and my colleagues. The whole experience has really sharpened the way I think.”

For her part, Brazier says this sort of public engagement provides her with as many learning opportunities as it does her students. “At the end of the day,” she says, “it’s really about life-long learning.”

Interested in learning more about the Concordia MBA Capstone? Sign up here for one of our upcoming webinars.