Four Students Receive Williams Award

PROVO, Utah – Apr 16, 2018 – Jordan Booth, Dave Christison, James McConnaughey, and Erika Nash received the 2018 Williams Entrepreneurial Leadership Award and $5,000 each for their entrepreneurial efforts in the BYU Marriott School of Business MBA program. The four recipients were chosen based on their leadership, vision, delegation, motivation, and execution in the field of entrepreneurship as BYU Marriott MBA candidates.

“The purpose of the award is to recognize leaders who not only exhibit the highest and best principles of entrepreneurial leadership but who also have learned to leverage their talents across a wide range of communities,” says Gary Williams, the donor of the award and a teaching professor in the Department of Management. “Each of these honorees have impacted the BYU Marriott student community, students and faculty from other colleges, and the community of professionals who look to our institution for future leaders.”

The award recognizes top-tier MBA students who demonstrate leadership in BYU Marriott entrepreneurial programs such as the Miller New Venture Challenge, the MBA program’s student-led VC fund Cougar Capital, and clubs such as the Graduate Entrepreneurship Association.

“We appreciate the generosity and example of Gary and Debbie Williams,” says Grant McQueen, BYU Marriott MBA director. “These awards are not only rewards for past performance, but also investments in young men and women who will become influential leaders in their businesses, homes, and communities.”

For more information about each of this year’s awardees, please read the bios below.

Jordan Booth graduated from Brigham Young University in 2011 with a degree in finance. Upon finishing his undergraduate degree, Booth returned to Brazil where he worked with two startups, EY, and Pines, a small Brazilian technology fund. His classmates and professors say Booth “has worked tirelessly to support entrepreneurship students. He worked hard to get a new negotiations class brought to campus with Stan Christensen. He's a bright example of hard work and dedication to his environment. He excels in every class he's in and is more than willing to turn around and help bring up those around him who are struggling. He's a great person and has done a lot to the build the entrepreneurship program at BYU.”

Dave Christison graduated from the University of Utah in 2011 with a dual degree in political science and international studies. During his time at the University of Utah, Christison interned in Brazil for Azul Brazilian Airlines and also spent a summer interning with Goldman Sachs. After completing his undergraduate degrees, Christison worked at Goldman Sachs for four years. This past summer he interned at Pelion Venture Partners and Upstart, a Silicon Valley startup. Christison will be joining as a corporate development manager in May 2018. His classmates and professors note that “Dave is a leader in the program in the space of venture capital, startups and early stage companies. He sets an example for others to follow. He is invested in forming solid relationships and helps others around him succeed."

James McConnaughey graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 2014 with a degree in engineering. After completing his undergraduate degree, McConnaughey worked as a research engineer for Children’s National Medical Center designing pediatric medical devices. After graduation, he will work on his own business developing novel attractions. His classmates and professors say that “James is dedicated to entrepreneurship and goes the extra mile with various entrepreneurship programs in addition to normal coursework. He is passionate and optimistic.”

After completing her undergraduate degree in business management in 2014, Erika Nash worked as an assistant brand manager for the Sun Products Corporation. Between semesters of her JD/MBA, she interned at PwC in management consulting and Parr Brown in corporate law. Before her final year of school, Nash will be interning with Pelion Venture Partners and Wilson Sonsini. Her classmates and professors say that “Erika is a solid example of excellence to everyone around her. She excels in both the MBA program and in the law school. She's a good friend and someone who you can count on to follow through with what she says she'll do. She is a great example to the outside world of what students from BYU can accomplish.”

Award winners
The 2018 Williams Entrepreneurial Leadership Award winners were congratulated by Gary Williams, sponsor of the award.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Jordan Christiansen