LUBBOCK, Texas – The J.T. and Margaret Talkington Leadership Academy has recently undergone a re-branding effort in order to further focus on its four cornerstones: personal development, community outreach, leadership development and career development.
The J.T. and Margaret Talkington Department of Student-Athlete Development, moving forward, will concentrate on these four areas as Texas Tech continues its mission to support, grow and develop each of its student-athletes as people first. The department will be under the direction of Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director Brandi Stuart.
“We have so many talented student-athletes here at Texas Tech, and the goal of the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Department of Student-Athlete Development will always be to prepare and empower our Fearless Champions for success in all aspects life,” Stuart said. “We are fortunate to have added several new staff members that will only help us in this goal, giving us an experienced team that is truly student-athlete focused.”
The department’s four cornerstones will position Texas Tech student-athletes to have a holistic experience during their times as Red Raiders thanks to programs such as “Wreck ‘Em Prep” for new student-athletes, community outreach opportunities and then the Suited for Success Series, which has been a key feature since its inception.
Additionally, the Department of Student-Athlete Development has added new programming in recent months that will prioritize the following four core values:
Discover – First-year student-athletes will focus on self-discovery through career and personality assessments, values identification and community building and service.
Prepare – Second-year student-athletes will move from self-discovery to self-actualization by beginning to create their own resumes, committing to leadership programming and development and starting the job shadow process.
Implement – Third-year student-athletes will use what they learned about themselves, teammates and life and apply it to the “real world.” This will find student-athletes taking leadership roles in the community and their respective teams, while starting the internship process.
Empower – Fourth and fifth-year student-athletes will focus on their legacy and their transition from being a student-athlete to finding their industry of interest.
As part of the re-branding of the department, Texas Tech has welcomed three new staff members in recent months in Valerie Flournoy, Travis Downing and Derrick Mitchell. Flournoy will oversee the department as Assistant Athletics Director, while Downing and Mitchell will focus on the areas of student-athlete development and leadership in director roles, respectively.
Flournoy was most recently at the University of Florida where she spent eight years with the Student-Athlete Enhancement and Gators Experience program. A former track and field student-athlete at Florida State, Flournoy also has professional experience as a graduate assistant with the Seminoles’ student services department from 2010-12.
Downing, a former football student-athlete at Ashland University in Ohio, joined Texas Tech from UCF where he was a graduate assistant in the student-athlete development department. Mitchell, meanwhile, was also a football student-athlete, playing as part of Florida State’s 2013 national championship team before later serving as a graduate assistant in student-athlete development with the Seminoles and then as the coordinator of student-athlete development at Washington State.
The trio of new staff members join Vicky McKenzie, who will continue in her role as assistant director for business operations in the re-branded Department of Student-Athlete Development.
Release provided by Matt Dowdy Texas Tech Athletics