Showing a excellent example for C.T. Bauer College of Business students is Tony Van Slyke, alumni and chief financial officer of Goodwill Industries of Houston. Van Slyke has been awarded by the Houston Business Journal the CFO of the Year award.
The annually distributed award was given in the category of large, non-for-profit. Van Slyke was also nominated for the Best Turnaround Specialist of the Year award by the same organization.
“I think having good mentors and certainly a good education played a big part in my success,” Van Slyke said. “Setting goals and achieving them was certainly also very important.”
While Van Slyke may posses many personal qualities that allowed him to succeed in his career, he does not forget his UH-affiliated alma maters: UH and UHD.
“In terms of education, (UH) was great. I did my undergrad at UHD and I went back and got my MBA at night while working full time,” Van Slyke said. “Education really laid the foundation to go forward. I couldn’t have done it without my education.”
Goodwill Industries gives employment aid and training for those who lack the skills and opportunities.
Van Slyke, despite having always worked for for-profit organizations, says he is extremely satisfied that he is able to put his skills toward what he feels is a great mission.
Van Slyke also participates in the Bauer College of Business mentoring program.
“(The mentoring program) has helped me connect with current students that share my experience. Two students I worked with were in a similar situation where they worked full time and were getting their MBAs at night,” Van Slyke said.
With his experience in hand, Van Slyke gives some advice to aspiring CEOs, CFOs and other business-track students.
“One mistake I made as a young college student was that I thought certain classes were not as important and I spent less time on those. If I learned one thing (in my career), it would be that every class was relevant and important to my life whether it be history, English, accounting, marketing. I wish I could have realized that when I was younger,” Van Slyke said.
“My advice to college kids is to be a sponge and soak up and learn. It may not see relevant to your life now, but it is all relevant.