TAKEYA GREEN, ONCE a member of the Houston Texans cheerleader dance team, has joined a different squad — and she means business. The Rice University MBA graduate was recently awarded the AT&T Future Executive Leader of Distinction Award in Honor of Randall Stephenson from the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
Chicago-born and -raised, Green made her way to Houston as an undergrad for a job in the petrochemical industry, holding various engineering roles with companies including Dow Chemical, LyondellBasell and Olin Corporation. “I liked being a chemical engineer, but what was missing in my career was a sense of business and knowledge of compensation,” says Green, who decided to enroll in the MBA program at Rice University to pursue a new career path and a “fresh start.” During this time, Green familiarized herself with Houston and made brand new friends, especially at her fitness club.
“One of my fitness instructors, a former Texans cheerleader, convinced me that I had the potential to be an NFL cheerleader and encouraged me to try out,” says Green, a former high school athlete who had little experience dancing. “Surprisingly, I learned that I liked dancing more than athletics!” It took multiple auditions to be accepted as a Houston Texans cheerleader for the 2018-2019 season. “Besides practicing religiously, I think they picked me because I looked different, not like the typical cheerleader.”
Green as a Texans cheerleader
Green and her now-fiance this summer in Greece
This spring, after graduating from Rice with her MBA, she was offered a job at Citibank, where she works as an investment banker in sectors such as traditional oil and gas as well as clean energy. “The past few years have been full of surprises including the TBHF distinction, which I only knew about a few days before the announcement.”
The Texas Business Hall of Fame selected 44 recipients for the prestigious statewide award, the largest number of scholarships ever awarded. The awards are given to outstanding scholars and veterans who have shown an early inclination for entrepreneurship and innovation. The honor is specifically designed for a member of a historically underrepresented group who shows promise in making an impressive contribution in an executive leadership role, and Green was a front runner. “Receiving the award was a real honor and gave me a sense of validation,” says Green.
Besides a new career, what’s on the horizon for Green? “My boyfriend and I took a much-needed trip to Greece this summer, and he proposed in a stunning setting with a sunset ritual and live band. It was surreal!”
A year of pleasant surprises, indeed.