Today@Sam Article

Michelle Guzman Receives SWBC Foundation Award

June 14, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

By Tory Josey

Michelle GuzmanMichelle Guzman recently received the Texas Business Hall of Fame’s SWBC Foundation Award which is a significant achievement that recognizes a current graduate student that has excelled in their profession. In a recent interview, Guzman shared her thoughts and experiences, shedding light on what this nomination means to her, the key milestones that led to this point and her future aspirations.  

“As individuals, we often find ourselves as our own harshest critics, and I’m no exception,” she said. “But this award has boosted my confidence as a leader and will encourage me to continue doing my best for my team.”   

This recognition has boosted her confidence as a leader, reaffirming her dedication to guiding, supporting, and empowering her team. The acknowledgment serves as a testament to her commitment to excellence and motivates her to continue striving for greatness. 

Several key milestones have marked Guzman's career, contributing to her nomination. Her participation in SHSU’s Executive MBA Banking and Financial Institutions program was a pivotal experience, providing her with invaluable knowledge and connections. Professional certifications such as her certified public accountant license, critical infrastructure and resilience for banking and RMA–credit risk further underscore her expertise and dedication to her craft. 

Guzman's tenure at First National Bank Texas, where she currently serves as the accounting deputy controller, has been instrumental in her career. Guzman has witnessed and contributed to the bank's substantial growth from $384 million to $4.3 billion in total assets. She has also navigated regulatory and legislative changes that had a significant impact on the banking industry, as well as weathered some of the most challenging times in financial history that impacted the bank and the surrounding communities. 

Joe Burnett, executive vice president – market manager at First National Bank Texas, lauded Guzman's contributions to the bank and expressed pride in her recognition.  

"Guzman is a continuous learner and accomplished professional. I am proud she is on the First National Bank Texas team and elated she was recognized by the Texas Business Hall of Fame," said Burnett. 

Reflecting on the influences that have shaped her career, Guzman credits her parents as her first major role models. They provided a positive environment that served as an example of how Guzman would later manage her team.  

“They exemplified how teamwork, perseverance and dedication to one another is the foundation to any relationship, personal and professional,” Guzman said. 

She mentioned how James Bexley, who sparked her interest in banking during her time at Sam Houston State University, and Edgar Rhode, who introduced her to the accounting department and First National Bank Texas, were instrumental in defining her career path. 

Guzman also acknowledges the invaluable mentorship she has received from various leaders at the bank, including the chief executive officer, chief operation officer, chief financial officer and supervisors who have supported her growth. Jill Vaughan, the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking, has been a mentor and friend, providing guidance and inspiration. 

"We are very proud of Guzman for receiving this wonderful honor as a result of her outstanding achievements academically as a Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking EMBA Student,” said Vaughan.  

Looking ahead, Guzman aspires to continue growing within her position at First National Bank Texas. She aims to inspire others in the accounting and banking industries to engage with their communities and promote financial literacy. Her goal is to become a chief financial officer, a pursuit that requires continuous dedication and self-improvement and understands the importance of humility and self-reflection. 

"I’ve had a few hard discussions with myself and there are a few things that I know: I love accounting, I love banking, I love working for First National Bank Texas, it’s ok to be passionate about the work you do and regardless of what happens, always give yourself some grace," Guzman said, underscoring the need for compassion and perseverance. 

Guzman's nomination to the Texas Business Hall of Fame is a testament to her significant contributions to the banking industry and the Texas business community. Her journey is marked by dedication, resilience and a commitment to excellence. 

- END -

This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office:

Director of Content Communications: Emily Binetti

Asst. Director Content & Social Media: Emilee White

Communications Manager: Mikah Boyd
Telephone: 936.294.1837

Communications Specialist: Campbell Atkins
Telephone: 936.294.2638

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to