It’s never easy to uproot your life, learn a new language and immerse yourself in a different culture, but Claudia Zavala, Class of 2015, and her husband, Carlos, knew they could make it.
Honduras natives, the Zavalas were both working for Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co., an apparel company representing some of the top brands in performance workwear across more than 100 countries. In 2000, before starting their family, they were transferred to the United States.
They settled in Fort Worth, Texas, where Williamson-Dickie is headquartered, and quickly made friends – among them, Kim Speairs, whose daughter went to kindergarten with theirs. By 2010, the Zavalas became naturalized citizens.
Claudia worked her way up to become general manager of the Genuine Dickies brand as well as occupational wear. Then after 10 years, Claudia started to feel like her career needed a boost – she wanted new knowledge and new challenges. She asked Kim about the Executive MBA program she was attending at TCU. Kim’s rave reviews inspired Claudia to attend a preview luncheon.
Claudia knew she wanted to attend the program, she just didn’t know if she could handle it. Could she handle an intensive 18-month business program – none of it in her native tongue – on top of raising two daughters and managing two business units?
Claudia made the brave decision to go for it.
Not only did Claudia gain what she was looking for, she also expanded her network of friends – whom she now calls family. She polished her leadership skills with the help of her coach, who also helped her understand her blind spots to become more self-aware. The range of classes in the program even expanded and revitalized her learning skills.
Claudia’s success has continued to escalate. Even before graduating the program, she took on management of two additional business units at Dickies – and who knows what’s in store for her next?
Learn more about the Neeley Executive MBA experience.