My name is Lisa Gonzales Smith. In 2009 I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BBA in Marketing at The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA). While I’ve worked for many years on campus, I started working in the Office of the Provost in 2012 at the same university now known as The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). I thoroughly enjoy the intricacies of academia administration; I aspire to advance in this field of higher education administration. While my experiences considerably aid in this advancement, further education solidifies my qualifications to progress up the career ladder. Since I received my Bachelors from UTPA, and am employed by UTRGV, obtaining my MBA from the Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship at UTRGV will allow me to not only give back to my University, but also to continue building my education in a familiar environment while continuing my full-time employment. The education I will receive at the College will build on the business foundation that I receive daily at work and enable me to apply deeper principals to further my career.
While I value organization, and demonstrate initiative and professionalism daily at my full-time job, I want to highlight a unique example of how I demonstrate these qualities. While working at UTPA, I lost 164 pounds with Weight Watchers over 2 ½ years; I attended weekly meetings off campus during my lunch hour. When I was close to achieving my goal weight, I reached out to Jody Nelson (the wife of UTPA’s President) about starting a Weight Watchers at Work program on campus. She was inspired by my journey and initiative and set up a meeting with HR. Six months later, after multiple meetings and emails with HR, our Recreation Center, and the VP for Business Affairs, we obtained funds to support a 50% subsidy for employees and the program was formed in August 2013. Since then, members have lost over 1,500 pounds. It transitioned to UTRGV and recently expanded to Brownsville. Over 20 employees are enrolled in the program each session and they share how this program benefits them. One shared, “I have lost weight, my health has improved, my blood pressure medicine dosage has been reduced, and many more.” Another stated, “As a diabetic, this program has helped me not only with the weight loss but in stabilizing my sugars as well. Our coach Amanda as well as those on program for life serve as our inspirations to continue and not give up.” This shows the impact one idea can have on the lives of others.