Shelly Brenckman ’79 wears many hats at Startup Aggieland as the facility’s only full-time employee since May 2013. Although her title at Startup Aggieland is Marketing Coordinator, she also serves as a Mentor, Event Planner and Office Manager with some responsibility for managing student workers and representing Startup Aggieland at outside events. She helps Assistant Director Don Lewis with strategic planning , creating new programming and developing related course curriculum. In particular, her work focuses on donor development; sponsor and speaker recruitment; and recruitment of mentors and new student entrepreneurs.
As Marketing Coordinator, Shelly is the Webmaster and Social Media Manager, as well as the Mobile App manager. She creates all branding for Startup Aggieland and communicates the facility’s story both internally and externally through print, radio, social media and gorilla marketing. As a Mentor, Shelly has advised nearly every student venture launching from Startup Aggieland and some that never became official clients. She also has advised former students and remote-learning students in other states. Shelly connects student startups with funding and board members by tapping her extensive network of alumni, administrators and CEOs.
Shelly was instrumental in the launch of one student tech startup, founded during Startup Aggieland’s inaugural 3-Day Startup. She raised funding, secured venues and vendors, obtained donations and managed marketing campaigns for several inaugural Startup Aggieland events, including Startup Aggieland’s first Startup 101; Startup Aggieland’s Open House & Launch Party; Startup Aggieland’s Plaid Party; several ESociety events; and Startup Aggieland’s inaugural Elevator Pitch Competition last semester. She is currently responsible for planning Startup Aggieland’s Inaugural Investor Day 2014 with Mark Cuban. She has raised money in support of Ideas Challenge and for other A&M programs, including student scholarships and faculty awards.
In collaboration with Assistant Director and Executive Professor Don Lewis and CNVE Executive Director Richard Lester, Shelly drafted and co-authored a $300,000 TOP Grant for Startup Aggieland. She is now working with Professor Lewis on design and implementation of a project she initiated in 2011– the new Startup Learning, Living Community for Hullabaloo Hall. She also assisted in a recent redesign of the Think Tank at Startup Aggieland and with overall design, naming and structure of Startup Aggieland. Shelly sourced most of the furnishings in Startup Aggieland with “shopping trips” to A&M Surplus– loading and hauling much of it alone.
Prior to working for Startup Aggieland, Shelly was Vice President of Communications from December 2011 through June 2012 with Aggie Angel Network, Inc. AAN is a non-profit Texas corporation providing early-stage investment opportunities for SEC-accredited angel investors in startups led by Texas A&M University faculty, former students and students; and also in ventures based on patented IP developed at TAMU. Since 2000, Shelly has been a founding member of the Board of Directors for Lake Conroe Lighthouse, Inc. and has served as president of the endowment fund since 2002. She was elected the first woman president and later treasurer of a 32-year-old non-profit Texas corporation with 823 individual and commercial members.
In 1986, Shelly founded a Texas corporation that produced and distributed a monthly glossy newsstand and subscription magazine. Distributed internationally and the first of a new genre, the magazine garnered many awards and accolades. In 1991, Shelly won First Place in a Business Plan competition staged by Mays Business School’s Center for Entrepreneurship– leading to her corporation’s successful private stock offering with a venture capital firm in San Antonio.
Headquartered in offices at a Northgate-area bank building, Shelly’s company helped to co-found the local AD Federation Club and sponsored the founding of an Entrepreneurship Club in Student Activities. A member of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, her company provided full-time and part-time jobs for many people in Bryan-College Station. During that 20 years, Shelly served as a consultant for Texas A&M University and for state agencies within the A&M System.
Shelly launched her first business at age 10, a lemonade stand, and made serious money staging large neighborhood carnivals at age 11 and 12. She produced and sold a neighborhood newspaper at age 13. By age 14, she took her first job working as a graphic artist for the Kolb Agency. From age 13 through college, she worked two jobs year-round while running her own small businesses– selling golf balls from golf course lakes and recycling glass and aluminum from neighborhood construction sites. After college, she worked at several well-known advertising agencies, serving as a Production Manager and later an Art Director, then as Creative Director and Head of Marketing for a Hanna Barbara toy manufacturing subsidiary. She has worked as an Art Director and Editor for other publications; and as a cost engineer and consultant for energy firms and resort developers.
Her diverse experience as a corporate officer and board member for various companies and non-profits, as a technologist, published book author and editor, magazine publisher and editor, and as a business owner makes it possible for Shelly to mentor a variety of student startups in various matters from raising capital to business formation. While not a lawyer, Shelly has studied business law at Texas A&M and completed continuing education coursework in corporate board and non-profit law. In her limited free time, Shelly does some political consulting for candidates seeking statewide and local office, as well as some consulting for public school districts on bond offerings and strategic partnerships. Shelly’s idea of a good time is doing fun work with fun people who make a difference!
Shelly is a lifetime member of her local A&M Club as well as a Century Club member of the Association of Former Students. She also is a supporting member of the 12th Man Foundation, KAMU-TV, Corps of Cadets Association and the WFSN. She is a contributor to the endowed professorship for Rodney Hill in the College of Architecture. She has earned ten ADDY and IABC awards as well as a Downbeat Music Award. Shelly received a President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Points of Light Foundation and President George H.W. Bush, but– the single recognition that she is most proud of receiving is as namesake for Startup Aggieland’s Bulldog Brenckman Award, hand-sculpted by Professor Rodney Hill, AIA. This award is presented annually by Startup Aggieland’s Board of Directors to a selfless student who has committed an extraordinary amount of time and made a significant impact in helping other students at Startup Aggieland.
From Seed Sumo:“Shelly is one of the most hardworking and selfless people you will ever meet. She does a tremendous job of connecting people within the entrepreneurial community.”