Transform your Career, Leadership, and Life.

The origin of your success already lies within you! Let us help you discover your passion and purpose!

Career Coaching

Finding Joy & Meaning in your work

At Origins of Success, we believe you possess everything you need for a successful career and life. The origin of your success originates within you. Our unique services empower you to unlock your true potential and purpose and realize the life you’ve always dreamed of having. Take charge of your destiny today!

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Complimentary Consult

Get a 60 minute consultation

Contact us to recieve a complimentary no-obligations consultation where we will identify the correct path to take to get you confidently to that next level.

Empowering Women in Higher Education

Your goals and dreams are waiting. We can help you and your organization bring them to reality.

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions makes it challenging for aspiring women leaders to find role models and mentors who can guide them in their careers. I truly understand the intricacies and hurdles women leaders face because I have and continue to live them daily. Origins of Success, takes a boutique and comprehensive approach to empower you to overcome your current leadership challenges and hone a personalized set of dynamic leadership skills and strategies that will help you thrive. My coaching goes beyond professional development; it encompasses personal growth, resilience, and self-assurance.

Higher Education Consulting

Providing outside expertise to isolate institutional blind spots and lend valuable insight and support.

As a lifelong community college educator with years of professional experience culminating in serving as the president of two community colleges, I have witnessed first hand what works and what doesn’t and learned how to pivot accorindingly. I have developed a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by many post-secondary institutions and and the complexities involved when offering a dual workforce development and academic transfer mission. My passion for students drives my desire to help institutions offer data informed programs and services that foster student success.

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The Origins of Success logo depicts a nautilus. Nautiluses have been in existence for hundreds of millions of years.  They have survived five mass extinctions—all unfazed. While the nautilus cephalopod and humans are vastly different organisms, I selected the nautilus shell as a logo because I believe that there are comparisons between the nautilus’s remarkable ability to thrive by continuing its growth and how we, as humans, also thrive through continual growth, adaptability, learning from our past, self-development, and balance. 

Continual Growth

   – Nautilus: Nautiluses are known for their unique method of growth. They have a spiral shell with internal chambers. As the nautilus grows, it creates new, larger chambers, leaving the smaller, older ones behind. This adaptation allows them to maintain buoyancy at different stages of their life.

   – Humans: Like the nautilus, humans also have the capacity for continual growth throughout their lives. Whether it’s acquiring new skills, gaining knowledge, or developing emotionally, humans can adapt and expand their capabilities over time.


   – Nautilus: The nautilus adjusts to its changing needs by creating new chambers in its shell. This adaptability is crucial for its survival, allowing it to navigate different depths in the ocean.

   – Humans: Personal growth often involves adapting to changing circumstances. Humans who seek improvement must be adaptable, open to learning new things, and adjusting their perspectives to overcome challenges.

Learning from the Past

   – Nautilus: The abandoned chambers in the nautilus shell serve as a record of its past growth. Each chamber represents a stage in its life, and the nautilus can learn from its history.

   – Humans: Reflecting on past experiences is integral to personal growth. Learning from successes and failures helps humans make informed decisions and improve their future outcomes.


   – Nautilus: The nautilus doesn’t stop growing until the end of its life. It actively engages in self-development by creating new chambers, allowing it to remain buoyant and survive in different environments.

   – Humans: Similarly, individuals who seek personal growth are on a continuous journey of self-development. Whether through education, skill-building, or personal experiences, humans strive to become better versions of themselves throughout their lives.


   – Nautilus: The nautilus maintains buoyancy and balance by adjusting its shell’s structure. This equilibrium is crucial for its survival.

   – Humans: Achieving balance in various aspects of life, such as work and personal life, is a common goal for those seeking personal growth. Balancing different facets contributes to overall well-being and success.

Like the nautilus, you, too, can change, evolve, and thrive.  Your origin of success already lies within you.  Like the nautilus, you can take charge of your destiny today and move from the old to the new!

Dr. Kays CV


2001 Ed.D., University of North Texas-Denton, TX

Major: Applied Technology, Training & Development

Minor: Computer Education & Cognitive Systems, Distance LearningEmphasis

Dissertation Title: The Effect of Psychological Type, Economic Status, and Minority Classification on the Pass/Fail Rates of Vocational Nursing Students

1989 M.Ed., Midwestern State University-Wichita Falls, TX

Major: Counseling

1984 B.A., Midwestern State University-Wichita Falls, TX

Major: Psychology

Minor: Sociology

Professional Licensure and Certification

Licensed Professional Counselor

Certified Professional Life Coach

Professional Experience

2016-Present President, Kilgore College (KC), TX

2022-2023 Special Advisor to the Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board(THECB), TX

2011-2016 President, Stanly Community College (SCC), NC

2008-2011 Vice-President of Student Learning and Success, Guilford Technical Community College(GTCC), NC

Teaching Experience

2013-2021 Wingate University, Ballantyne, NC-Ed.D. Program in Community College Leadership,

Teaching/Learning & Student Success and Student Services

2009-2011 Guilford Technical Community College, NCIntroduction to Human Service Technology

2008 Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX-Graduate, Communication Skills for HumanResource Development

2003-2004 University of North Texas, Denton, TX-Graduate and Undergraduate-Curriculum Design,Advanced

Facilitation Strategies and Leadership


2022 Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction

2021 Commission on Community College Finance-Appointee of Texas Speaker Dade Phelan

2018 Arthur F. Beyer Distinguished Alumnus, Midwestern State University

2016 Stanly Community College-Faculty Innovation Center Naming Dedication

2006 Tom Natale Distinguished Leadership Award

2006 Distinguished Alumna West College of Education, Midwestern State University

1999 Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

Select Professional Activities

2004-Present Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Appeals Committee Member 2023-2025; Board of Directors Executive Committee 2018-2020; Boardof Directors 2015-2020; Served as peer evaluator on 12 Onsite Committees (Chaired 5) and 1 OffsiteCommittee

2016-Present Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) Chair, Chair Elect, Legislative Committee Chair

2020-2023 National Center for Inquiry and Improvement Rural Leader Learning Community

2022Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board College Needs & Opportunities Steering Committee

2021-2022 Texas 2036 Higher Education Finance Simulator Advisory Group

2017-2020 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Community and Technical College Leadership Council

Select Workshop/Conference Presentations/Briefs

2023 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Annual Conference-Panelist-Texas Commission on Community College Finance-Denver, CO

2023 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Annual Conference-Presenter-Scaling 8-Week

Terms for Institutional Transformation-Denver, CO

2023 Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) Board of Trustee Institute-Presentation-8-Week

Course Journey-Lakeway, TX

2022 Texas Lyceum-Panelist-Educating a Well-Rounded and Reliable Workforce-Longview, TX

2022 Educate Texas Fall Policy Convening-Panelist-Regional Workforce Alignment: Report from Members of the Texas Community College Finance Commission-Houston, TX

2022 Kilgore Chamber of Commerce Women in Business-Panelist-Lessons Learned from Women

Who Have Broken the Glass Ceiling-Kilgore, TX

2022 Community College Association of Texas Trustees Annual Meeting-Panelist-K-12 Partnerships and Pathways, Houston, TX

2022 Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) Board of Trustees Institute-Panelist-Texas Commission on Community College Finance-San Antonio, TX

2021 National Center for Inquiry and Improvement-Rural Community College Leader Series    

Acting Boldly to Build Financial Solvency View the PDF

2021 Texas Guided Pathways Conference PresentationExpanding Horizons to Support Students Who

Never Knew They Had a Choice-Dallas, TX

2021 Texas Economic Development ConnectionPanelist-Developing Your Texas Workforce-Webinar

2021 Grantmakers for Education Conference PanelistNew Insights to Advance an Equity Agenda in Higher Education and Postsecondary Pathways-Webinar

2021 Aspen Institute College Excellence Program National Symposium PanelistGuided Pathways-Webinar

2023, 2021, 2017 E4 Leadership Kilgore Presenter-Myers Briggs Type Indicator Workshop-Gilmer, TX

2021 Grantmakers for Education PanelistSupporting Rural Communities: Emerging Lessons Learned & Opportunities for the Future Webinar