Rashmi Bhat (BBA ’14)
Owner, Bonjour Texas!
Recent Bauer College alumna Rashmi Bhat (BBA ’14) discovered her career path early in life, although she didn’t know it at the time.
“’Food’ was my first word as a baby,” she said. “In the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted a restaurant.”
But, that didn’t become clear until she completed her undergraduate program at Bauer.
“I graduated with three job offers,” Bhat said. “I came home to New Braunfels to decide on which offer, but I realized that I wanted to open my restaurant.”
Never one to take things slowly, she worked right away to launch Bonjour Texas! in New Braunfels. The dedication she applied in building her business is characteristic of Bhat, who eagerly explored every opportunity she was presented during her student experience at Bauer.
She completed Bauer’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship program, including a first place win in the 2014 Giants Entrepreneurship Challenge Business Plan Competition, and the Ted Bauer Leadership Certificate Program. She also won the college’s CougarPitch competition and served on the inaugural year of Bauer’s Cougar Venture Fund. And, in 2013, Bhat founded FemCity UH, a business-oriented organization for female entrepreneurs.
“I wanted to grab every opportunity where I had the choice to say, ‘Certainly I can,’” Bhat said, referring to a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that has become her mantra —“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
Natara Holloway (BBA ’98)
Vice President – Consumer Products-Brand, Marketing, and Retail, National Football League
Natara Holloway (BBA ’98) didn’t move from Houston to New York to work for the National Football League because she was a die-hard football fan. She did it because she had a passion for accounting and auditing — and had for a very long time.
“This will be very embarrassing,” Holloway jokes at the top of an interview about her life, her education, and her recent adventures in NFL retail. “There was an accounting team in high school, and I was a part of it.”
That’s how, at a young age, the bubbly and spirited Holloway charted a path to success. Looking back on her time at the University of Houston, the Bauer College alumna believes the experience offered her own extraordinary entrée into the city’s dynamic business community.
On the threshold of graduating with a degree in — you guessed it — accounting, Holloway scored an internship with Exxon, parlayed that into a full-time position with the oil-and-gas giant (now ExxonMobil) and honed skills that would make her a smart “trade” from the world of energy to the inner ranks of professional football.
Professional MBA Candidate
Project Engineering Manager, Dow Chemical
Engineering has traditionally been an industry dominated — and led — by men.
Bauer MBA candidate Brooke Thomas-Eben is one of many professionals carving out a space in the field for women. She started her career as a packaging engineer for Procter & Gamble, working in the Pringles plant. From there, she moved to P&G’s headquarters in Cincinnati and transitioned to the commercial side of the business, serving as a product initiative manager for the company, where she led planning, scheduling and coordination for the Always brand.
Thomas-Eben now works for Dow Chemical as a project engineering manager. She began Bauer’s Professional MBA program this fall and balances her career and graduate school responsibilities with motherhood — she has a 3-year-old daughter and is expecting a girl this fall.
CEO, TechTrans International
Many years ago, Beth Williams left her North Carolina home for a life of adventure. And boy, did she find it.
She was a water-skiing Aqua-Maid at Florida’s Cypress Gardens. She appeared in a TV film with aquatics legend Esther Williams. And in 1964, she married America’s first “bachelor astronaut,” Clifton Curtis Williams Jr. When the celebrity couple arrived, Houston was building the Astrodome, Lyndon B. Johnson was president, and America was awestruck by NASA’s astronauts.
“He was a second lieutenant when I met him,” Williams recalls of her husband, who everybody called C.C. “We had dated and dated and dated and, finally, we decided: ‘OK, we’ll marry.’”
Though her husband had been scheduled for a voyage to the moon, he never realized that mission. He died in a jet crash in 1967, leaving Williams pregnant with their second child. But she was not to be defeated. Again and again, Beth Williams has proven herself a figure of resiliency, courage, determination and hard work. She’s a remarkably successful entrepreneur — and a generous benefactor to Bauer College.
To read more, visit Inside Bauer Magazine, Vol. 3 No. 1.