Mr. Womack openly stated that his story had an unconventional beginning. He attended college straight from high school. However, he entered school as a young father. Having a family meant he had to attend college while maintaining a steady job. Most people in a similar situation would have just given up on their education all together, but that was not the route either Mr. Womack or his wife, Connie, took. They both agreed that no matter what their obstacles were, they would go to college and get an education. Mr. Womack successfully graduated in 2002 with a degree from the College of Business Administration.
While in college, Mr. Womack had a number of low paying jobs such as popping popcorn, paper shredding, and janitorial positions. Eventually though, as he gained a better work ethic and obtained his college degree, he received better job offers and higher positions within the banking business. He held several positions in regional banks, became a controller at a bank in the Rio Grande Valley, until finally moving back to Kingsville, Texas. Mr. Womack currently serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Kleberg Bank.
Risk-taking was a quality Mr. Womack highly emphasized.
“Always be willing to take some risks in both a job and business setting…don’t sit somewhere and hide. Be the person that raises their hand at meetings and offers ideas,” said Womack.
Womack recollected on a risk he took in his early banking career when he remembered accepting a difficult job position, in which he didn’t entirely excel in, but nonetheless, used it as an opportunity to learn.
When asked how a person can become a successful leader, Womack addressed seven clear steps: don’t expect to be in charge all the time; never stop learning; train yourself; be self-aware; play to your strengths; get involved; be informed.
Womack highly underlines the importance of leadership as he explains, “Leadership is a choice…But sometimes you’re thrust into leadership positions. Don’t shy away from those opportunities, become the leader within.”
Building strong community leaders is one of the main goals of the Student Success Center at TAMUK.
As the event came to a conclusion, you could sense a change within each student. Initially when students were asked why they attended the event, most said that they were only there as part of their UNIV course assignment.
However, as Womack spoke more about the development of leadership in his life and of his personal experiences, students were no longer interested in just getting credit for coming to the event.
They learned that a leader is a crucial quality to personal, business, career and community success.
Womack is a clear example that leadership can develop even in the most unexpected circumstances, and can be carried with us throughout our lives.
“Don’t let the first fork in the road stop you. There’s nothing that can happen to you that can’t happen to anyone else,” said Womack. As an active leader for his community, family, and the Kleberg Bank, Womack is always happy to return to TAMUK and help incoming students learn about leadership.
“Sheep follow. Lions Roar. Javelinas rule the world,” said Womack as he concluded his speech.