James O. Guillory Jr. Q&A

James O. Guillory Jr. ('13) (Photo by Ahna Hubnik)James O. Guillory Jr. ('13)
Houston

Choosing UNT
Location, location, location. Not too far from home, but not too close. Plus, it was near a major market but had the separation to still be a college town with a student-focused environment. My older sister went to TWU and I really enjoyed Denton. I'm proud to serve today on the UNT Alumni Association Board of Directors and College of Business' Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship Board.

Filing for the degree
When I finished all the work for my bachelor's degree in 1997, I had ambitions of going to graduate school. I didn't file for my degree because I wanted to retake some courses and increase my GPA. I started my company two years later and never returned to school. I filed for my degree in 2013. It was important to me that my parents know I completed what I started, what they paid and sacrificed for. I also wanted my children to recognize that it can be done, by any means, and should be done.

Finding strengths
I decided to study accounting because I knew it was a good foundation for a job. I was getting B's and C's and a professor once suggested, "Maybe you should consider another degree." I took it as someone saying, "You can't do this," and pressed on, but I realize now he was telling me to look at my strengths. I was making A's in economics and marketing; that's what kept my interest. He taught me it's important to be honest with yourself.

Family
I have four daughters, Madison and Morgan Guillory, and twins Kayla and Kourtney Lien. The twins are UNT seniors studying finance, and I make it to Denton as often as I can to spend time with them. I credit my parents, Lou Anna and James O. Guillory Sr., for much of my success. If they hadn't modeled hard work and the benefits of entrepreneurship, or had the capital to leverage against my first bank loan, it might have taken me a lot longer to get my first hotel on the ground.

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