Alumni Spotlights

Jack Smothers

MBA '13
Director US Procurement

Why did you choose TCU for your MBA?
Three things. (1) Personal connection throughout the application process. (2) Emphasis areas and faculty expertise in Finance and Supply Chain. (3) The DFW Metroplex was a market I was interested in joining.  

How did TCU Neeley prepare you for success?
TCU Neeley served as a brilliant training ground to grow my technical knowledge and skillset and also hone my soft skills. My technical skills were built by standout faculty cultivating classroom dialogue, interactive learning, and real-life projects and simulations. My soft skills grew through case competitions and my Neeley & Associates project where my team consulted on and provided deliverables for a corporate client.   

You serve on the Neeley Alumni Executive Board. Why is important for alumni to give back?
I feel I get as much if not more out of the board than I give. I get to cultivate relationships with and learn from like-minded people who are interest in the success of TCU Neeley and the impact it has on students and the community. I get to keep current on the goals and ambitions of the school and university. Most importantly, I enjoy interacting with students. As a student, I appreciated learning from those who had lived through experiences and environments I was interested in. I enjoy the opportunity to return the favor.  

Ralph Goedderz

MBA '97
CFO and VP Finance Global Information Technology

Why TCU Neeley?
“A friend of the family attended TCU through a program that provided stipends for German students to go abroad for their education. I came in, met Dean Downy and Peggy Conway, and had a great experience. Two dogs and two children later, I’m still here. Ask my mom and she’ll tell you exactly how many days I’ve been gone.” 

Service and Support
“I look for ways to partner with TCU, especially where both my business and the school can benefit, where that intersection is. TCU cultivates a talent pool that looks at solutions not only through the lens of a dollar sign but also the lens of social impact, ethics and the environment. When you look at PepsiCo’s mission of performance with purpose, that’s exactly what we are about, too.”

A Winning Partnership
Goedderz partnered with TCU Neeley to establish the PepsiCo MBA Invitational Case Competition. MBA students from TCU Neeley and across the country meet at TCU each fall, work together, and then present their solutions to a panel of PepsiCo executives for cash prizes.

“The students are the biggest winners, but PepsiCo receives fresh perspectives from students who will be the business leaders of tomorrow, and TCU is able to broadcast the quality of its students, faculty and facilities with a little assist from the global CPG powerhouse that is PepsiCo.”

Ralph Goedderz serves on the Board of Advisors for the TCU Neeley School of Business.

Amanda Medford Galati

BBA '00
Lila & Hayes

Why did you choose TCU?
It had everything I was looking for in a university: a perfect student body size, a great reputation for academics, an active Greek life, and an awesome town to enjoy while there. 

How did TCU Neeley prepare you for success?
TCU Neeley gave me a solid background in business and helped me learn to work in group and individual settings, and also in self-driven and instructor-led environments, all of which are critical to success. 

Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, starting my first business at age 10 making and selling hair bows. I love the freedom and flexibility, and building something that is my own and watching it succeed. Being a small business owner, I feel truly connected with my customers, and I have the autonomy to change the direction of things at any time to meet their needs. 

Keith Bunch

BBA '95
SVP and Treasurer
Headington Companies

An accounting and finance double major, Keith Bunch gives credit to three accounting professors for impacting his success and two classmates for support passing the CPA exam.

“Dr. Geraldine Dominiak taught me the importance of integrity and social responsibility. Dr. Sanoa Hensley was probably the biggest influence on how I manage and mentor my staff today. Dr. Bob Vigeland helped provide me with a scholarship to a CPA exam review class. I wouldn’t have passed the exam without it.”

Keith passed the CPA exam over two days in one sitting while working fulltime at Deloitte on his first tax deadline. His roommates and classmates, Ryan Gosney BBA ’95 and Jeremy Sweek BBA ’95, were taking the exam, too. “They were a tremendous support system.”

“The common thread is that all took a personal interest in me. That is still a hallmark of Neeley professors and classmates.”

Chris Brown

BBA '97
City of Houston

A fourth-generation Houstonian whose father and grandfather were city councilmen, Chris Brown is making an impact on the city he loves. 

“The concept of the selfless servant has been ingrained in my mind from an early age.”

A finance major, he started his career in equity-trading before he followed his lifelong dream of public service. At 40 years old, he became Houston’s second-highest elected official.  

“My role as the taxpayer watchdog is to highlight areas where we are spending too much and other areas where we need to be investing more, and rebalancing those so we are using the money most efficiently.”

He credits his success to maintaining the highest ethical integrity and moral standards. 

“TCU instills strong values that Horned Frogs do the right thing, and that has benefitted me throughout my career.”

Rick Settle and Jodi Settle Dyer

Rick Settle BBA '13
Associate, LKCM Headwater Investments
Jodi Settle Dyer BBA '10
Senior Manager Strategic Planning, Pizza Hut

This brother-sister duo are carrying on the legacy of people who helped them during their time at TCU and after. 

“Professors, staff members, the Dean and even the Chancellor helped guide our path at TCU. Now we stay connected and help people grow throughout their careers,” Settle said. 

Settle is president of the Neeley Fellows Alumni Board and chaired the 10-year celebration committee. Dyer co-founded the Transaction and Professional Investment (TIP) Board, which grooms TCU finance majors for careers on Wall Street. Both have served on the TIP Board. 

“There is no way my career would be where it is today without TCU,” Dyer said, and she’s paying it forward. At Pizza Hut, Dyer is recruiting TCU graduates including Kelli Denton BBA ’16.

Settle has worked for and with TCU alumni since graduating in 2013, first for Michael Jamieson BBA ‘91 at Citigroup in Houston and now for Luther King Jr. BBA ’62 MBA ’66 in Fort Worth. 

“I’ve seen firsthand the power of TCU alumni looking out for other TCU folks,” he said. 

“We want to help build programs that become lasting legacies that live and evolve far beyond where Jodi and I could have taken them individually,” Settle said.

“It’s exciting and rewarding to see the network you can build by volunteering. It makes you want to be more engaged as you see the impact,” Dyer said.

Walter E. Johnson

BSC '58
Founder and Senior Chairman
Amegy Bank

Walter Johnson, a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame, began his career working for M.J. Neeley, the namesake of the business school. He made his mark in west Texas and Houston, and then moved into banking. He spent 18 years leading one bank to success, and then he founded another. At 82 in 2018, he remains an integral part of Amegy Bank’s accomplishments.

“I came from nothing and wound up CEO of a little bank in Houston. My team and I built it to the third-largest bank in the city and sold it. I started another bank and sold it for $1.7 billion. I’m still in the bank every day helping run it. I give education a whole lot of credit for the knowledge to put things together, work with people, raise money, manage money. You don’t learn these things sitting at home watching TV. I tell every student I visit with that education never stops.”

He was mentored by one of the best entrepreneurs in business, M. J. Neeley, who hired him upon his graduation from TCU 

“The things I learned from Mr. Neeley: Don’t make mistakes. Be risk adverse. Be diversified. Work hard. Exhibit the highest in integrity. And treat everyone fairly. I’m also very entrepreneurial. If I wasn’t entrepreneurial, I never would’ve started this bank.”

Anna McElwain Brewer

BBA '01
Partner and Director of Professional Development
J. Taylor & Associates LLC  

Upon graduating with her TCU accounting degree, Anna McElwain Brewer landed her dream job as a consultant with Arthur Andersen, which subsequently collapsed in the Enron scandal.  

“It was a case study in how to start a career and change course dramatically.” 

She moved to Ernst & Young, then a colleague at J. Taylor & Associates offered her a position. Now she is a partner and director of professional development, where in addition to serving clients she recruits and trains employees.

“One of the best things about a small company is that if you are willing to take on responsibility, they let you have it. So at a fairly young age, I was able to buy into the partnership.”

Thanks to her TCU Neeley foundation, she was well equipped. 

“My TCU accounting professors were adamant that you didn’t just need to know ‘how’ to do accounting but ‘why.” I’m rarely asked to just do accounting. I’m asked to understand the implications and the whys and how it affects finance. The groundwork TCU laid has set me up to be very successful.”

Bill Shaddock

BBA '73
Chief Executive Officer
The Bill Shaddock Companies

Bill Shaddock is a people person. He believes one person can make a big difference. He certainly has. He started as the sole owner and employee of a title company and grew it into Capital Title, the largest independent title company in Texas. He is also president and partner of Shaddock Development, CEO and owner of Willow Bend Mortgage, and owner and chairman of First National Title, the 12th largest underwriter in the nation. He founded the student-run Shaddock Venture Capital Fund at TCU Neeley to help make students’ entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Shaddock’s success is due to a combination of how he was raised, his TCU education, his skills and his personality.

“If I got up in the morning and my only thought was about making money, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Building personal relationships transports me to opportunities. TCU offered me the opportunity to win in life. My skill set is helping organizations and people see and obtain their ultimate success. My leadership is about enabling and encouraging others. This very day there is someone who needs your encouragement. Make sure the person who gives them that encouragement is you.”

Jeremy Spann

TCU ’06 EMBA ’14
Managing Partner
Stoneburgh Management LLC

Jeremy Spann doesn’t let obstacles hold him back. He worked the night shift as a police offer so he could get his undergraduate degree at TCU during the day. He got his Executive MBA while a supervisor with the FWPD. He opened a successful restaurant with no experience. He launched an event to help wounded warriors and turned it into Cowtown Warriors, a sell-out annual gala that raises hundreds of thousands. In 2014 he retired from the FWPD and went into real estate with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s and opened a brokerage business, Stoneburgh Management. He made his first multi-million-dollar deal in four months.

“I’ve done some significant things in my life, but if I haven’t created an environment where other people benefit, what’s it all worth? TCU focuses on relationships, and the EMBA program highlighted the importance of that. I was surrounded by management leaders, entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers and other executives who have the ability to see the world in different ways. More importantly, they support you and you support them. When you are surrounded by the right people, you can do anything.”

Bethany Gorman

BBA '13
Renewable Energy Product Manager
S&P Global Market Intelligence

As a TCU student, Bethany Gorham didn’t know that her internship with Esperanza, delivering clean water solutions in the Dominican Republic, would make such a splash on her future. The experience propelled her to earn an MLA in sustainability and environmental management at Harvard.

While earning her MLA, Bethany worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and then landed a fellowship with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Then she received a job offer from S&P Global’s market intelligence division for a career that combines her business and renewable energy degrees and experience.

At S&P, Bethany is developing financial tools that help investors, utilities and regulators increase renewable energy in the power sector and provide sustained profit by mitigating the downside risks.

“My role as part of the solution is equipping people with the intelligence needed to face complex natural resource challenges. I will have a meaningful career for the rest of my life.”

Jamie Dixion

BBA '87
Head Coach
TCU Men's Basketball

As a TCU student, Jamie Dixon led the Horned Frogs to Southwest Conference titles, earned All-SWC honors, led the SWC in assists as a senior and was voted TCU's Senior Male Scholar-Athlete. And he did it all while majoring in finance at the Neeley School.

“I knew wanted a career in sports, maybe coaching, and I knew there was a business side to sports. I looked at business as a way to stay in basketball.”

His love of numbers and statistics paid off on the court. “I believe my business knowledge came into play in how I looked at the game.”

Jamie has more than 20 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience. His teams have won a combined 10 conference titles and advanced to the postseason during 19 different seasons. His student-athletes have earned five league player of the year awards. He also led the USA Basketball U19 team to the 2009 FIBA World Championship Gold Medal and a 9-0 record, after only one month on the job as head coach.

Jamie’s advice to students: “Follow your passion. I benefitted from my business degree by being able to do the thing I like to do. Coaching a program is like running a business. You have budgets, marketing, statistical analysis, personnel and management. You can use your education and mold your degree into what you love doing.”

Carolyn Crouch Phillips

BBA '09
Alchemy Pops

Carolyn Crouch Phillips has a yummy business. Not only does she produce some of the most delicious and inventive popsicles in the DFW Metroplex, she used her TCU Neeley education to create a business that impacts her community.

“I founded Alchemy Pops as a for-profit and for-purpose venture to create new market opportunities for local farmers by sourcing produce from Texas.”

While supporting the livelihoods of local farmers, Carolyn provides high-quality ingredients for her customers and creates unique flavor combinations such as Roasted Peach & Honey and Cantaloupe & Mint.

An avid Horned Frog, Carolyn stays involved with her alma mater through TCU Neeley events, TCU alumni happy hours, TCU sporting events and campus activities. She was a featured speaker at the TCU Neeley School “Women to the Power of 10” luncheon to share her successful entrepreneurship story.

“The best part about being a TCU Neeley alum is seeing Horned Frogs all over the world. It’s always great to see another purple shirt or hear a ‘Go Frogs!’ while exploring another country.”