(from left:) Jeffrey Gennette, CEO, Macys; Mays Marketing student LeAnn Percivill ’20; Ellen Davis President, NRF Foundation, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, National Retail Federation
Texas A&M University Mays Business School student LeAnn Percivill, Class of 2020, from Riesel, TX, was named the recipient of the $25,000 Next Generation Scholarship at the sixth annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation Honors this month in New York City.
“I never envisioned winning the NRF Next Generation Scholarship. The second the recipient was announced and then I heard ‘From Texas A&M…’ – it truly felt like a movie,” Percivill said.
The Next Generation Scholarship was created to prepare students for a career in retail and highlight the next generation of industry leaders, and is considered the top achievement for undergraduates in retail, according to Mays officials.
More than 35 NRF Foundation member institutions participated in the competition. Percivill was one of five finalists selected from across the country and became the first student from Texas A&M to receive this honor. Faith Knox, Class of 2020, of Austin, finished as a semi-finalist this year.
Each finalist is chosen based on experience in the retail industry, leadership capabilities and passion for making an impact in retail. Students traveled to New York City in October for final interviews with judges, and also spent time sharing their personal stories at YouTube Space studio.
“Coming from a small town and deciding to pursue business as a career, I was concerned if my value of people and authentic empathy would be reciprocated in the industry I chose,” Percivill said. “When I discovered retail, I found so many influential industry leaders that had the same values and assured me that I was in the right place. Through NRF, I’ve learned that you have the power to truly make a difference for your community, the people you serve, the environment, and the company you work for.”
As a Mays Business School student in the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS), Percivill is a member of the M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar program and has served this academic year as president of the Student Retailing Association. She spent summer 2019 as an intern with H-E-B at their corporate office in San Antonio, in addition to putting herself through school part-time as a student worker with CRS and Wayfair.
“I first met LeAnn as a freshman. She visited with me in my office to learn more about CRS, our program, and opportunities within the retail industry. Since then, she dove in head-first, taking advantage of every opportunity made available to her,” said CRS Assistant Director Lauren Osborne.
“She is a leader in her classes and maintains a stellar GPA,” Osborne added. “All while working and putting herself through school. The retail industry’s future is bright with leaders like LeAnn.”
Percivill will graduate in May and begin a full-time position with H-E-B in June as an assistant buyer for general merchandise.
“I was terrified to go to college and take a chance of accumulating mounds of debt in hopes that I could pay it off someday with a career I’d be proud of,” Percivill said. “I took that chance, and it led me through the doors of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M and ultimately to NRF, where I now find myself with an incredible job waiting for me with H-E-B post-graduation – and no student debt. No dream is ever too big; I am a testament to that.”