New virtual series aims to bring students, entrepreneurs together

Crossroads entrepreneurs, University of Houston-Victoria students and the community are invited to participate in a new virtual speaker series focusing on personal growth and building connections in the area.

Bridge to Brilliance – Building Resiliency to Inspire, Develop and Grow Entrepreneurship is a virtual three-part series created by the Personal Growth and Mentorship subcommittee of the UHV School of Business Administration Dean’s Advisory Board.

Ken Colwell

“The School of Business Administration is proud to support this exciting initiative to make connections between UHV students and local businesspeople and also to have participants learn important life skills from successful individuals in their community,” said Ken Colwell, dean of the school.

Each session will feature a live interview with speakers about personal growth topics, as well as a short discussion period. The event will be held the second Tuesday of the month beginning at 3:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 8. The October event will be a presentation by Robert Royer from Building Brands Marketing on “How to Brand Yourself,” and the November event will feature Victoria attorney Diane Kleim, speaking about “The Power of Personal Networking.” The events are free and open to the public.

“This series is an exciting opportunity for students, entrepreneurs and the community,” said Crystal Lindsey, digital marketing consultant at M. Roberts Digital and a member of the subcommittee. “Each event’s topic is designed to build off the previous topic, so we have a progression that will help attendees improve their skills. Previously, someone would have to drive hours to Houston or San Antonio to attend a training event like this.”

Crystal Lindsey

The series will begin with an interview with Donald Jirkovsky, director of the UHV Center for Regional Collaboration. He will focus on intentional listening and how those listening skills create great leadership. During the interview, he will share how physical elements such as body language, eye contact and tone of voice work together to impact how a listener perceives what is being communicated and how the communicator responds to the listener.

“Listening is an elementary but crucial skill because the act of listening can have a big impact on an interaction,” Jirkovsky said. “People who are good listeners tend to develop better emotional intelligence and empathy and understand that there is another side to a situation.”

Donald Jirkovsky

Instead of a typical presentation from the speaker, the series will feature an interview with the speaker and two interviewers. For the September event, the interviewers will be a UHV student and Teri Moten, a personal business strategist and UHV alumna. In addition to the interview and an open comment period, there also will be a game to test attendees’ knowledge and an icebreaker activity.

One of the major purposes of the virtual sessions is to bring students and entrepreneurs together and form connections within the community, Lindsey said. Members of the subcommittee have focused on serving two specific groups: students and business owners. One of the problems the subcommittee members have seen in the community was businesses closing because they didn’t have a succession plan. In addition, some students are leaving Victoria because they have a perception that there are not opportunities in the community for them. This series will bring the two groups together to address the myth of a lack of opportunities.

“I remember when I moved to Victoria, I had trouble finding others to connect with in the entrepreneurial community,” Lindsey said. “Too many people are stuck in isolation, especially now. We want to create a space and establish an entrepreneurial base that can connect and grow.”

In particular, this connection will allow established business owners to share their knowledge and experience with students, who can bring fresh passion and drive to the community, she said.

For more information or to receive a registration link for the event, email Rosie McCusker at

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.