Mental health worker to speak at virtual event about overcoming challenges

When things don’t go as planned, it’s important to be able to bounce back and find alternative ways to reach goals. That’s one of the topics mental health care worker Christopher McDonald will speak about during the next Bridge to Brilliance – Building Resiliency to Inspire, Develop and Grow Entrepreneurship virtual event.

Christopher McDonald

“I learned a lot by building resilience through failure,” he said. “When I think back on how things didn’t work out for me, I remember that parts of me were established because of these failures and ultimately helped me get to where I am today.”

McDonald, a Gulf Bend Center adult mental health case manager, will speak from 4 to 5 p.m. March 9 through Microsoft Teams. The event is free and open to the public.

The Bridge to Brilliance series was created by the Personal Growth and Mentorship subcommittee of the UHV School of Business Administration Dean’s Advisory Board. The purpose of the series is to connect the UHV and business communities and serve as a personal growth community for entrepreneurs, business students and marketers. Although the series is curated for college students preparing for life after graduation, others still can benefit from the workshop.

McDonald is a licensed professional counselor associate, a licensed chemical dependency counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. He works with adults with mental health challenges from the Victoria and Port Lavaca areas. McDonald also is a UHV alumnus who received his master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling in August and his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2017.

Michael Wilkinson, UHV senior director of student services and judicial affairs, will be the event moderator. This event will be helpful for students to attend because the topic focuses on navigating through challenges in a positive manner and learning about foundational values that will help after graduation, Wilkinson said.

Michael Wilkinson

“It is an honor to be a part of this event,” Wilkinson said. “I have seen Christopher grow and become a positive influence in the Victoria community, and I am excited to work with him on this event. I truly believe the timing of this program will sit well with students and can help inspire them to keep moving forward through their personal or educational challenges.”

McDonald, who is from San Antonio, grew up as an athlete and had every intention of playing soccer at the collegiate level at UHV. He signed up for UHV classes after trying out for the UHV men’s soccer team during his senior year of high school. He tried out again the spring of his freshman year at UHV but still did not make the team.

McDonald saw his college plans crumble and knew that he had to change directions. He became involved in different student organizations on campus, including the Student Government Association, which he led as president in 2019-2020. He also was a member of several honor societies and was a resident assistant for three years. It was through this campus involvement that McDonald realized he wanted to advocate daily for those with mental health struggles.

“While at first it was a struggle, I realized that I wouldn’t have had some of the opportunities to grow and learn at UHV if I did not stay,” McDonald said. “I’ve always been interested in how people think, and I turned that interest into an opportunity to learn more about policies and procedures through student government.”

Attendees can expect to learn practical tips and strategies on how to work through personal and professional challenges, how to handle adversity and failure, and the importance of self-purpose.

For more information about Bridge to Brilliance, contact Rosie McCusker, manager of student recruitment and community outreach for the UHV School of Business Administration, at To register for the event, go to

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.

Amber Aldaco