Cultivating excellence

Black Excellence Gala speaker Esther Calloway shares inspirational story

Esther Calloway was a Midwestern State University student for three years, coming here right after graduating from high school in Dallas in 1997. But before she could graduate, she left MSU Texas to go home to her family after the death of her father. Calloway was to return to the MSU Texas campus to speak at the Black Excellence Gala which was scheduled for Feb. 25, however, the Gala was canceled because of the inclement weather. 

It would have given Calloway, who is now a talent booking agent in the music business, the opportunity to share her inspirational message with students to never doubt who they are. “I want students to hone in on how to cultivate excellence by activating their own excellence.”

Twenty-five years ago, MSU Texas was not the only university Calloway was accepted to, but it was just the right distance away from Dallas, and a friend was attending here also. Calloway fell in love with the faculty, her fellow students, and the campus. It was the college experience she was looking for.

Calloway said the Black student population was not large then and they all became friends. She was involved in the Black Student Union and was a founding member of the As One Gospel Choir on campus, which practiced at the Baptist Student Union. “There was so much opportunity to create what was needed,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to create community.”

One such community for Calloway was the sorority she pledged, Delta Sigma Theta, a sorority of college-educated women who are dedicated to public service with a primary focus on the Black community. “Being part of that gave me insight into what long-term sisterhood was about. Those sisters are who I’m still close to. It redefined friendship for me,” she said.

Calloway changed her major a few times before finding her place in business administration. “That’s the one that stuck,” she said.

She is now an entertainment professional and owner of the boutique booking agency, E. Calloway Management LLC, based in Dallas. She is artist regional operations manager of Central North America at the global concert company, Sofar Sounds. She is also an active member of The Grammy Recording Academy – Texas Chapter.

Calloway also wrote the self-help book, The 61 Day Challenge to Better Habits, a guide to helping people develop healthy new habits.

This is not Calloway’s first trip back to MSU Texas. She recently came to tour campus with her 17-year-old daughter, Madison, who has been accepted to MSU Texas. “The campus looked amazing,” Calloway said. She was also happy to see Wichita Falls had a Chick-fil-A.

Now, Calloway says her mission in life is spreading the love of God, and ensuring that Madison and young women around the world have the tools to build healthy habits that create a successful and fulfilling life.

Calloway was disappointed in herself for not finishing school. She wonders if she had, maybe she would have gotten where she is today a little faster. But from that experience, she wants students to know it’s OK to change their minds. “Just keep going,” she said. “I want my main takeaway for students to be to never doubt who they are,” she said. “I want them to take advantage of being here. They’re here for a reason.”