Whataburger Scholarship Recipient Jeannie Gusme
July 25, 2017
Today, St. Philip's College announced that a business student at the college is the recipient of a $15,000 award from a business foundation that annually rewards college students who are sparking, designing, launching or running a new small business.
The award of $15,000 received by business administration student and entrepreneur Jeannie Gusme is The Whataburger Scholarshipendowed for 2014-2018 through the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation by Tom Dobson, owner of Whataburger.
Before earning this award, Gusme was studying business administration online while working summers at her family’s business and creating her own small business. While she is doing well in school as a member of the college’s honor society chapter, offline, Gusme gave back by volunteering with San Antonio Food Bank. She was on a team that provided goodwill, distributing food and grocery products to more than 530 partner agencies in 16 counties throughout Southwest Texas.
Now, Gusme is the first all-online student from St. Philip's College to receive The Whataburger Scholarship. Her scholarship award notification arrived---online---while Gusme was swamped as an employee of her family-run business, Texas Transmission, on Babcock Road. “I got the email at work, and I started crying. My family is a crying family---and we all cried together over this email. We have an intercom in our shop. As I was telling my mom, ‘I can’t believe I actually got it!,’ my mom yelled over the intercom, ‘Jeannie got the scholarship! Jeannie got the scholarship!’ ”
“This scholarship opportunity was a business scholarship from heavy hitters in the business world. That's big,” Gusme said. “The recognition and financial support freaked me out because it comes from supremely accomplished people. They were welcoming, and their interview process was scary, but nice. I got their email, and I was like… ‘that is literally a miracle of god. I could not do this myself.’ Presently, I'm nervous. I am hoping to reign that in, and be the best I’ve ever been on the day all the scholarship recipients are recognized together, in November. It's an all-day affair---in Dallas,” said Gusme.
An entrepreneurial lifestyle may have partially influenced the foundation to award The Whataburger Scholarship to Gusme. She shared with foundation evaluators her quest to obtain women-owned and minority-owned certifications in support of leveraging her next creative steps as a small business entrepreneur.
“I am in the process of becoming certified. We have a transmission shop in San Antonio, and we have been women- and minority-owned-certified in the last two years. I check websites for state contracts in transmission. I see most of the contracts are in construction and landscape. So once I get the certifications, I’m going into the contract landscaping business in San Antonio,” Gusme shared.
Gusme reflects on how one 10-hour conversation with a relative on the connections between college education and business success positively altered her destiny.
“My uncle's the reason I’m in school. One day at work, we had to go to Dallas for one muffler part, and we got back at 4 a.m. The whole time, we were talking about college---for 10 hours. Literally the next day, I enrolled in school. Otherwise, I would have gone some other direction. We’ve had family businesses for 50 years. My grandpa had multiple businesses that he handed over to my uncle at 19. My uncle said we could have been exponentially more successful as a family business if we had degrees. I’d never thought about it that way. I got his point, that 50 years of business expertise was good to learn from, but professors could fill in the rest. It was eye opening. His point is more understandable to me now,” Gusme said. Gusme looks forward to her next steps in The Whataburger Scholarship and Texas Business Hall of Fame experience, creating a business and studying.
“Online study is part of my small business creation plan, along with working Monday-through-Friday while creating my own business and cramming in schoolwork on Saturdays and Sundays,” said Gusme. “I do all the billing at work, so I'm there at least four days out of the week, or accounting piles up, and I get an ear spanking from my mother and my uncle,” she whispered.
“I need a roof over my head. I must work. I go to school online while I create my business, both full time. This scholarship helps me do it all,” Gusme concluded.
Find Gusme's name at the July 22 Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation online posting 2017 Scholarship Recipients.