Leadership Award Winner Leandra Taylor (’11) Pledges to
Stay Involved as Alumna with Mentorship Program
Being the new kid on the block is not always easy — just ask recent University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business alumna Leandra Taylor (’11), who used the experiences she learned at the college to help her become a continuing mentor to students before and after graduation.
Taylor, who majored in supply chain management, has taken advantage of the opportunities that UH Bauer has given her through the years, not only by joining the student organization APICS (The Association for Operations Management), but serving as vice president of internal activities prior to being president and helping grow the organization to the largest student chapter to this day. She also created a mentorship program that helps new APICS member get better acquainted with their peers.
“After serving one semester as VP of Internal Activities, I envisioned a program where new APICS members could get paired up with veteran members so that the transition to become active would be easier,” Taylor said. “When I became president the following semester, I had the help of my team and my faculty advisor to create the first ever APICS UH mentorship program.”
Taylor’s program not only helps current students become more involved with Bauer and the organization, but is also inspiring alumni to take on mentees of their own to help them transition into the professional world.
“The mentorship program is going to include ‘executive mentors’ for the student mentors. This will require executive APICS UH alumni to continue to be involved and mentor students upon graduation,” Taylor said. “Because I have a passion for this program and this organization, I plan on becoming a very involved executive mentor while I work at Shell Oil. If possible, I will take on two or three students and help them with whatever questions they have about their career choice and the real world.”
Taylor also gained much knowledge and experience as a leader participating in Bauer-sponsored leadership retreats, including Discover Leadership Training and LeaderShape Institute, programs that are held during parts of winter and spring break.
Taylor’s involvement and leadership in APICS and UH Bauer earned her the Civic Leadership Scholarship which is awarded to students that show leadership and give back to the community and the Ted Bauer Leadership Award, one of the highest honors the college gives to students, given in April during the 2011 Leadership & Ethics Week Student Awards Luncheon.
As part of the award, Taylor was awarded the Willis Excellence Fund Scholarship, funded by Willis Group, a Houston-based suite of staffing and recruitment firms. “Willis Group recognizes the chance to support outstanding students like Leandra Taylor for the privilege that it is,” said chairman Mike Willis. “We are truly appreciative of these opportunities to play some small part in their success.”
Named for the late Charles T. “Ted” Bauer, the college’s namesake, the award celebrates students who exemplify his spirit of leadership, dedication and passion.
“Winning the Ted Bauer Leadership Award came as a huge surprise to me,” Taylor said. “Because only one student receives this honor a year, it makes me feel proud that my hard work and dedication was noticed. I am so honored to have been given such a prestigious award, and I cannot think of a better way to end my time at the University of Houston.”
Taylor attributes her many accomplishments to the guidance she received from numerous Bauer faculty and, including APICS’s faculty advisor Victor Wayhan, a clinical assistant professor of supply chain management.
“First and foremost, Dr. Wayhan has shaped and guided me since I first stepped into his office,” Taylor said. “He gives all of his students a chance to meet with him and make a difference in APICS. If it weren’t for his guidance, mentorship and passion for students, I would not be where I am today.”
Taylor also names advisors Stephanie Krauss and Oliver Blanco as two staff who have offered her a guiding hand in her progression as a student.
“Ms. Krauss was able to help me with any questions and issues I had during my presidency, and there were quite a few of them,” Taylor said. “She also led the LeaderShape Initiative at Bauer and that deserves much recognition.”
“Mr. Blanco has started helping me since my first semester at Bauer. From interviewing tips to dressing for success, he has never steered me wrong,” she added.
With a fresh diploma in hand, Taylor will be working as a purchasing agent for Shell Oil Company. She plans to be heavily involved in the APICS alumni program, as well as the Bauer College Alumni Association and hopes to return to the college in the future to earn her EMBA.
“My time at Bauer will never be forgotten,” Taylor said. “I fully believe that there is no other school that gives so many opportunities and guidance to their students. With choices to add certificates to your degree, leadership seminars that are offered to all, opportunities to hold a leadership position in a student organization, and staff that sometimes seem to care for students more than the students care for themselves, it is without a doubt that all of this helped me to achieve success. “
By Ryan Tang and Amanda Sebesta