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BNSF Neeley Leaders Still Leading the Way after 10 Years

From the Class of 2008 to the Class of 2018 and beyond, BNSF Neeley Leaders gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the successful program.

November 12,  2018

By Elaine Cole

For 10 years, BNSF Neeley Leadership (formerly BNSF Next Generation Leadership) has been turning out confident, effective, thoughtful leaders for the workplace and life. Many of those alumni gathered in Fort Worth recently to renew acquaintances and celebrate a decade of success.

Joe Brown BBA ’08, owner of HF Customer Solutions and a member of the BNSF Neeley Leadership first cohort, welcome the crowd as they gathered at Pinstripes for food and fun. 

“My class had an amazing group of talented people who are now high-ranking professionals at their respective companies. I enjoyed taking trips down memory lane and also talking with the younger graduates of the program who are doing amazing things all over the globe,” Brown said. 

Another alumnus from the first class, Mike Roach BBA ’08, vice president of corporate strategy and business development for JCPenney, said it was exciting to “see how much the program has grown and evolved over the years from 30 of us studying leadership to a program that has a truly holistic view of leadership, balancing academics, practical experience and travel. The program and the students keep getting more and more impressive.”

Alex Thompson BBA ’10, manager of human resources for BNSF Railway, agreed. “It was great to catch up and visit with peers, professors and faculty who are driven and enthusiastic about the growth and success of this program. I also enjoyed learning about giving opportunities for current and future students as they study abroad. What a great way for alumni to assist and give back.”

Celeste Campbell BBA ’16 MAc’ 17, said her favorite memory from her time as a BNSF Neeley Leader was the class trip to London and Scotland. “I learned a lot about teamwork and myself while carrying multiple sacks of sand with my classmates up a hillside on the Isle of Skye,” she said. 

Campbell said the skills she honed as a BNSF Neeley Leader are vital to her career. “I am an audit associate at KPMG Dallas and rely daily on crucial conversation skills I learned and practiced throughout my time in the program,” she said. 

Campbell also received another benefit from the program: a lifetime mentor.  The business coach she was assigned to while in college worked for KPMG. “She was a great resource through my college years, and now that I am employed by the firm she is my official mentor and continues to help me grow professionally,” Campbell said.

The three-year BNSF Neeley Leadership program prepares students to be leaders at work and in life. The unique combination of experiences takes students with a thirst for learning and turns them into confident, poised, self-aware, effective leaders. 

“As an alum, I can confidently tell others how instrumental the BNSF Neeley Leadership program is in producing outstanding leaders who represent TCU well, build lifelong relationships and have high trajectories during their careers,” Thompson said. 

View all the photos from the BNSF Neeley Leaders 10-year anniversary party on our Flickr page here