PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING - ALUMNI FEATURED FROG

Chris Westfall '95 MBA
President
Westfall and Associates, LLC

 

Chris Westfall ’95 MBA is the president of Westfall and Associates, LLC, a management consulting company based in Dallas. He is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and author, as well as winner of the National 118 Elevator pitch contest.

 

How has the TCU Network benefited you in your career?
I never would have launched my career without the help of TCU. Every MBA student comes to school to make some sort of transformation – life, job, family are all linked as part of the decision – at least, that was how it was for me. The TCU Network transformation was crucial to my success: the last job I had, before I started TCU, was: Professional Stuntman. While I still do all of my own stunts, the TCU network created business opportunities I never could have expected. Through Larry Peters, a management professor at the Neeley School, I was introduced to an entire executive team at Verizon. Because of a class project, I had the opportunity to interact with mid-level managers and senior executives within the organization. Larry basically hand-delivered my resume, with a pro-TCU message, that led to my hire. I started in the Internet division, and launched my technology career, thanks to the TCU Network. Recently, I’ve returned to deliver keynote speeches to staff and work with marketing students as part of a career fair, and I hope to do more of the same in the future!

Have you accelerated possibilities as a result of your Horned Frog community?
The experience at TCU helped me to land opportunities, but more importantly, the experience at TCU has helped me to deliver a kind of excellence that makes a difference for my clients. I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world, launch some incredible tech products, publish books and lead teams in consumer marketing and sales. I’m not sure if I’m the smartest guy to ever come through TCU (in fact I HIGHLY doubt it) but I am certainly the most grateful for the TCU experience – and the TCU Network. Now that my new book, ‘Five Great New Elevator Pitches’ is out, I look forward to helping companies and individuals to improve their communication skills – based on the skills I learned as part of the Horned Frog community. I especially want to thank Kelly O’Brien and Tracy Williams for their important contribution on helping me to create the best elevator pitch in the USA.

Were opportunities opened up that otherwise would have been limited without your Horned Frog connections?
One of my favorite TCU professors – no, make that one of my favorite TCU people – is Rob Rhodes. Dr. Rhodes is among the best presenters I have ever heard, and his ability to dissect business law is truly amazing to me, to this day. Dr. Rhodes, like so many of the professors at the Neeley School, did more than just “instruct” – he helped to show me how to think. I owe a debt of gratitude to Rob for his ongoing support for my speaking career, as he has given me multiple opportunities to come back to TCU and make a difference for others. Hopefully, in some way, it echoes the difference that he made for me. Again, you have to remember: without TCU’s involvement, I might be trading fake punches in front of an exploding building, or working in a job that requires me to wear makeup and stand in front of bright lights all day long. The professionalism I acquired at TCU was literally a life-changing event.

What is your current involvement with TCU?
I wish it were more! I’m doing an elevator pitch workshop and speed networking event in October with Laura Chudy and the team at TCU Alumni Relations. Not sure why I wasn’t able to help out with Neeley Career Services this year, but there have been ample opportunities at other MBA programs.

Why do you stay involved and why do you think it is important to stay connected to your alma mater?
When people and places make a difference for me, I remember it. My experiences at TCU are only meaningful to me to the extent that I can make them meaningful for others. That’s true for clients, for employers and for the people in my network. I work hard to add value to my network – and that means the TCU Network. Giving back is an important part of what I was taught at TCU, and I believe that (especially in times like these) we have to do whatever we can to help others succeed.

What is your message to the students of today?
Someday you will be one of the people you admire. What will you do to make a difference for others? Nothing of any significance happens without other people – the people in your network. Make every day an opportunity to help someone wherever you can – that’s a message from TCU that can take you a very long way, indeed.

 

Paul Kanitra '01 Click to View    Barry Davis '84 Click to View    Bo Soderbergh '75 '78  Click to View    David Pond ’89  Click to View    Chris Westfall ’95  Click to View   Jason Forrest ’00  Click to View    Brenda Cline ’82  Click to View    Frederick

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