2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Courtney Collier, Texas A&M (Mays)

Courtney Collier, PMP

Texas A&M University, Mays Business School

“A diligent, principled, and internally driven leader that promotes collaboration and the development of others.”

Age: 41

Hometown: Houston, TX

Family Members: I am not married nor do I have children. However, my family is everything to me and we are very close. I grew up as an only child who later found out that my dad raising me had adopted me when I was 5. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2008. In 2014, I found out who my biological father was and that I had two half-brothers. It has been one of the best life experiences for me and grew my small family of about 10 people into over 50 people. I wish I could name everyone in my family who positively impacted my growing up and who have supported me throughout my entire life.

  • Mother – Patricia Collier, Step Dad – Billy Walthall
  • Father – Carl Morris, Step Mother – Gina Morris
  • Aunt – Cindy Collier
  • Aunt – Tina Anderson

Fun fact about yourself: The majority of people find it surprising that I ride a Harley and have done so for about 11 years. I chose this as my fun fact to share because it is the opposite of what people would tend to think of me. I am of small stature and ride a Harley Davidson – Fat Boy, which is not a small bike. I enjoy riding with my dad, stepdad, and other friends with bikes. We attend charities/auctions sponsored by “bikers”, participate in charity rides, and attend bike rallies. For me, it is the greatest stress release and I get to meet very generous and amazing people from all backgrounds.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • BS with Minor in Business Texas A&M University (2001)
  • MBA Texas A&M University (EMBA 2020)

Where are you currently working? Director of Operations – RediClinic

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

PROFESSIONAL HONORS & AWARDS

Guest Speaker Invitation: Convenient Care Association (CCA)                                                          2020

EMBA Class Agent for our Graduating Class of 2020                                                                           2020

M&A Integration Team Lead for RediClinic                                                                  2014, 2017 & 2018

athenhealth Special Invitation Leadership Event (Facilitated by Harvard Business School)         2013

athenahealth Panelist at the Annual Users Conference (Marketing Your Practice in the Digital Age)                                                                                                                                                                2013

*Mischer Award – RediClinic (formally Interfit Health)                                                                       2009

*Mischer Award – Interfit Health                                                                                                             2006

Employee of the Year – Interfit Health                                                                                     2004 & 2005

Women’s Professional Football – Super Bowl Winner                                                                         2001

*The Mischer Award is presented to the associate who has made extraordinary contributions to the many aspects of the company’s business during the past year, and who demonstrates the values and the qualities of leadership that are essential to the company’s success

AFFILIATIONS

San Julio Manor HOA                                                                             Board of Directors, 2015 – Current

Original Navy SEAL PT Program (Physical Fitness, Leadership, & Teamwork)     Lifer, 2011 – Current

Healthcare Executive’s Network                                                                                          Member, 2011 – Current

PMI Houston Chapter                                                                                                             Member, 2009 – Current

Aggie Network/Association of Former Students                                                              Member, 2006 –Current

Houston Energy Football – Women’s Pro Football                                                                    Player, 2001 – 2003

Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band/Corps of Cadets                                                                                 Cadet, 1997 – 2001

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was able to manage my academic life, extracurricular activities, professional life, and personal life and that is a great achievement! If I have to choose one, I choose the academic side. I am the first person in my family ever to earn a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree. Those close to me witnessed how much hard work and determination went into managing “life” as an EMBA student. From my perspective, I had no choice but to succeed. Completing the EMBA program has set a great example for my family, my friends, and my colleagues. If you practice hard work and determination, you will succeed. You just have to make your goals a priority during that time.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My achievement is very recent amidst the COVID-19 virus pandemic. I work in Healthcare and since the outbreak became “real” in the US, we have worked around-the-clock to ensure the safety of our healthcare providers and our patients. I have been a part of our RediClinic COVID-19 taskforce and we have worked in collaboration with our parent company, Rite Aid’s, taskforce to accomplish many things in a very short period.

With guidance from the White House and the Center of Disease Control (CDC), along with the regulatory and Medicare requirements, we were able to stand up COVID-19 drive through adopting testing clinics, implementiing a new completely virtual telehealth delivery model, transitioning our corporate operations to be 100% remote, and building a new perpetual personal protective equipment (PPE) system in a few short weeks. My capstone project of leading the implementation of a telehealth solution (RediClinic Express) launched in July 2019, played an integral part in providing us the essential knowledge and systems to implement a 100% virtual telehealth solution (RediClinic@Home) where patients could be seen by one of our board-certified clinics from home without risking the safety of themselves, our clinic associates, or our retail partner’s patrons and associates. Different states were handled according to their restrictions due to the virus. Also during this time, I was working to complete my EMBA assignments and classes, including my capstone presentation. I do believe if it weren’t for the rigorous EMBA experience from the past two years, I would not have been able to perform at my peak.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This program could not have provided better faculty for the program. There was not one professor who did not positively impact my personal and professional growth; Both, from a knowledge and experience standpoint, as well as their passion, to develop others. Without a doubt, I know that if I or another student or alumnus student reached out to one of them, they would go out of their way to help in any way that they can. I chose Dr. Xenophon Koufteros to write his recommendation for this award nomination because we worked closely together throughout the program. Not only was he my professor for multiple courses, but he was also my capstone advisor. He pushed me all the way to ensure my capstone project was a success. I could not be happier with the final result. Not only that, but he is a great magician and often met with our cohort after class to network and show us some magic. He is a generous man of integrity and has a passion for life and helping others succeed.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? As an undergrad from Texas A&M, I was looking to extend my Aggie Network and attend a program with the traditions and influential values that Texas A&M provides. Also, the EMBA program offered a convenient class schedule and location that fit my needs and preferences. It was important for me to be part of a program that allowed for and encouraged collaboration with faculty, administration staff, and my cohort. This created an open environment to learn from others’ experiences. In this program, we were not just lectured to; we had class discussions that allowed all (faculty and classmates) to learn from each other. Collaboration, not competitiveness, in an EMBA program is key. Although competitiveness is a driver in business success, collaborating with others in a diverse environment is important for innovation and long-term success. No one can be successful alone. It takes a village.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The people, and the new relationships I have gained! I have grown so much as a person and a professional simply by opening up my mind and my eyes to different industries, business units, and cultures. Business school teaches you to think differently, think critically, make data-driven decisions, and strive for long-term success rather than short-sightedness. Also, it teaches you to collaborate with others and use everyone’s strengths to reach a common goal.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Throughout my EMBA experience, the topic of emotional intelligence came up multiple times. Quite frankly, I had not given much thought of the positive impact that emotional intelligence can have on my personal and professional pursuit of happiness, which contributes to the happiness of others around me. Historically, emotional intelligence was not a common skill or practice talked about or encouraged in my experiences at home or work. An article entitled “Primal Leadership” put emotional intelligence into a greater perspective for me and allowed me to see how to apply it to my life. The idea that practicing resonant leadership can drive great performance from others was eye-opening. Emotional intelligence is the catalyst, resulting in true happiness, positive relationships, and therefore, great organizational performance. Putting all four components of emotional intelligence into practice, professionally and personally, is an area that I began working on and saw great results. This is an area that I will continue to work on.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? Juggling work, family, and education during the EMBA program were a constant throughout the program. Sometimes, sacrifices had to be made to accommodate the priority at that time. It is very difficult to balance work, life, and academics. Something (s) will always have to be sacrificed for others. I would say that times around holidays were the most challenging when the priory shifts more to family but work and education still had to be completed. Holidays were a time where time management became essential to ensure you could get everything accomplished.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? The “right time” to get an EMBA does not exist. There will always be something in your professional or personal life that will make you second guess your decision to apply. Go for it! You will come out on the other side with a fresh perspective on life, yourself, and your career. Ultimately you will become a better person and leader.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Some EMBA online research downplayed EMBA programs and the quality of education. This was another reason why I chose the Mays Business School Program. I knew that I would get quality and a great experience. Although the program administrators were transparent, I did not have a grasp on the real-time commitment necessary to get through the EMBA program. I will be honest: I knew that it would be challenging. However, it was a much faster pace and required a lot of more preparation time before and after classes than expected. The good news is that we all adjusted to get through it. Looking back, I would not change that experience. I want to be able to confidently tell others that it is not a cakewalk and requires a lot of focus, sacrifice, and determination. Although portrayed as so sometimes, an EMBA is not an easy out. You and your organization will get what they paid for and you will be a better person and employee or entrepreneur because of it.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Because being an EMBA student requires you to juggle your career, academics, and your personal lives, there was very limited time outside of class and school events to spend time additional time with classmates. The two years were very challenging and now that it is over, it appears to have gone very quickly. Also, the COVID-19 virus abruptly ended our face time with each other. The only thing I regret is that our class didn’t take the time to spend more time with each other outside of school functions. We are a very tight cohort and I hope that we continue to stay that way.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is a very difficult question to answer because the majority of my classmates have overcome many trials and tribulations to get where they are today personally, professionally, and academically. Even throughout the program, many experienced lay-offs, divorces, the switching of jobs, illness, and family deaths. Also, I am sure that there is much more I am not aware of about each of them. In choosing one person, I choose my teammate Jeremy Hall. We went to undergrad together and were both in the Aggie Band/Corps of Cadets. Even then, he was a young man of integrity, accepting of all, and a great leader. We had not spoken or seen each other until we coincidently started the EMBA program together. Even more of a coincidence, we were randomly selected to be on the same team throughout the program. As an older Jeremy, he is the same man of integrity, holds strong to his values and beliefs, and is a great father and leader. His experiences and success over the years contributed to an enriching EMBA experience to my classmates, our team, and myself.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…my organization went from the largest independently owned convenient healthcare operator to being acquired by a large pharmacy chain. There are pros and cons to both. I have been with the same company for almost 16 years (beginning during its start-up years) and it was my first “career” job after undergrad. With the common challenges and uncertainty that comes with acquisitions, I began searching for continuing education, new certifications, and degrees looking to broaden my perspective outside of my industry and the other functional areas of business. I felt that doing so would allow me to bring more value into my organization, while at the same time, ensure that I was able to compete in the job market if anything were to ever happen to my career at RediClinic.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To wake up in the mornings loving what I do and having the ability to have a positive impact on others.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want to be remembered as someone with integrity, always willing to help others.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? As a scuba diver, my bucket list involves diving in beautiful, tropical places. I have Australia and the Maldives on my bucket list of dive spots within the next five years.

What made Courtney such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Courtney was truly interested to join our MBA program in order to acquire knowledge and experiences, rather than merely to obtain and showcase an MBA. I remember her demonstrating a sincere interest to learn as she sat in one of my day-long sessions before she even enrolled in the program. She is quite rare in this respect. Courtney has also been a positive force. She always demonstrated a positive attitude which was matched with her unparalleled motivation to excel. I believe that her enthusiasm was contagious and impacted the attitude of her classmates. She was assertive but a team player; I assigned several case studies to the class that required significant team member collaboration. She assumed a leadership role and delivered great work. Our course dealt with the management of processes in the realm of manufacturing and service industries. She always furnished unique insights based on her experience in the healthcare industry and this enriched class discussion. She made well-thought arguments during case discussions and I am sure those benefited the class immensely. Overall, Courtney was an ideal student that enrolled in the program for all the right reasons; her classmates and the program benefited from her presence.”

Xenophon Koufteros
Jenna & Calvin R. Guest Professor in Business Administration
Co-Editor in Chief, Decision Sciences Journal
Director of the Supply Chain Consortium
Department of Information & Operations Management
Mays Business School
Texas A & M University

DON’T MISS: THE FULL LIST OF THE TOP 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBAS OF 2020

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