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Texas A&M professor shares words of wisdom  

Posted on 02/10/2022 07:19 AM
Texas A&M professor shares words of wisdom  
Dr. Shannon Deer is also an interim dean, entrepreneur and author.
By Mikee Tinsay, Marketing Assistant

Many students at Texas A&M University recognize Dr. Shannon Deer as their accounting professor. However, Deer wears multiple hats. As an entrepreneur, she created Oh. My. Word., a startup company that guides parents to have difficult conversations with their kids. As an author, she co-wrote the book, Business Doing Good: Engaging Women and Elevating Communities, to educate about the benefits of investing in “women overcomers.” As an Aggie, Dr. Shannon Deer embodies the Aggie Spirit to empower women and better society.

Why Aggieland?
Texas A&M University wasn’t originally the top school on Deer’s list ─ she had her eyes on Baylor University, a place where several of her family and friends had attended. Deer went to a Texas A&M vs. Baylor football game in high school and was shocked there was more maroon than gold and green in the stands. This experience led her to research Texas A&M. She toured Aggieland and fell in love. Deer recalls, “I remember the tour so vividly. I loved the rich traditions and how unique the culture was.” Even after the campus visit, she still wasn’t positive about Texas A&M and wanted to keep her options open.

While sitting in senior economics class, Deer waited as her teacher asked each student which colleges they were interested in. When Deer mentioned that she was accepted to Texas A&M, he said, “Definitely go there! It’s the best school!”

And after experiencing the traditions, culture and spirit that can only be found in Aggieland, she knows her professor was right.

“The way Texas A&M lives out its core values makes for a unique culture,” Deer said. “The Aggie traditions and common language makes it feel like a big family.


Words of Wisdom
Currently, Deer serves as the interim associate dean for undergraduate programs at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School and a clinical assistant professor. Deer advises students to cultivate certain qualities to succeed in college. She encourages students to work on time management and resourcefulness. She continues, “I define resourcefulness as the ability to figure things out. Reach out if you need help or just go out and find the information.” With all the responsibilities that students encounter in their first year of college, it’s important to manage their time wisely and prioritize. It’s an adjustment, but time management is critical to do well. 

But what about high schoolers who are considering applying to Texas A&M? Deer keeps it simple with a few words of wisdom. First, apply! Go for it! Second, consider your options. As an Aggie, Deer wants students at Texas A&M that want to be in Aggieland. Find your fit, fall in love with your school and get involved. The takeaway is to find a place that feels like home.

Empowering Women
Deer and Cheryl Miller were inspired to write a book about women with challenged pasts. Business Doing Good: Engaging Women and Elevating Communities provides six principles for businesses looking to hire ‘women overcomers.’ The book includes six stories that end with women’s triumphs. Each story is based on Deer’s research and her co-author’s experience running a housing program for almost 20 years.

Both authors hope to impact women’s lives and businesses. Deer asserts that hiring women overcomers is the right thing to do for society, women and generations to come. Not only does it make a generational impact, but it also helps businesses’ bottom line.  

“Our vision at Mays Business School is to advance the world’s prosperity,” Deer said. “I want to do that through businesses, through nonprofits and through women.”

Apply These Lessons
The principles mentioned in Business Doing Good are applicable to anyone. Deer recommends businesses to start with ‘Three Point Partnership,’ because companies have a chance to partner with nonprofits and women overcomers. Nonprofits can become pipelines for women with difficult circumstances, finding employment in a variety of organizations.

For women, Deer recommends cultivating the principle, ‘Immediate Leadership Opportunities.’ She reassures women overcomers to look for opportunities to lead in small ways. Women with challenging pasts can practice leadership, like mentoring a friend or teaching a skill. With practice and small wins, women will find that they can do amazing things.

While working with women overcomers, Deer urges students to apply the translation factor — honor someone’s experiences and translate that into the workplace. These women have skills that can make them great business people. Spur these women to reframe difficult traits, such as stubbornness, towards something productive.

Moving Forward
Deer says there are as many people with a criminal record as there are people with a college degree. Biases and negative perceptions prevent businesses from hiring women with a criminal record. To better our future, Deer asserts that we should not only help these women get a job, but also advocate for them to pursue a career that they’re engaged in.

Deer’s message is clear: Women overcomers are assets to businesses. There are a lot of companies that are changing their hiring process to include women with challenging pasts. As a result, these women are given a second chance and their kids can have a better future.

 

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Credits: By Mikee Tinsay, Marketing Assistant