Author Archives: Stephanie Hawk

Being Centered

There are lots of challenges in the workplace. Finding the balance between being “all-in” and productive and keeping your life in balance is hard, especially in today’s world of being connected to work 24/7 every day. The productivity experts tell us that finding a balance or “being centered” is critical, not only for strong performances, but also for living a life that is filled with joy and fulfillment. So how does a person find that balance in a world that appears to be going faster and faster every day? The answer lies not in just one solution, but in a variety of thoughts and processes that bring our focus to how we think and our attitudes. Like most things in life, there is a discipline to achieving “being centered.” Here is a list of some of the key elements, based on what several experts have written and discussed: 1) Sleep.…

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Turning Ideas into Reality: Innovation & Entrepreneur Programs

The McAllen metro area and its surrounding communities are evolving. We are in the midst of growing opportunity, cutting-edge technology, and favorable conditions for new businesses. City leaders and your team members at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce are absolutely ecstatic about the possibilities that lie before us. Perhaps what makes these prospects so exciting is that the individuals who make up our community have stepped up to the plate. Many of you are ready to turn your business dreams and products into a reality. There is a sense of great potential in the air that seems to draw people to McAllen and we are eager to help those who are ready to contribute to our great city. It is because of this reason that we have created a number of programs, services, and partnerships with other local organizations to provide innovators and entrepreneurs the support, connections, and funding they…

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Ode to Cliff

This is another installment of my “Ode to Cliff” columns. Cliff was the mailman on the television series Cheers, who sat at the end of the bar, spouting off the origins for sayings that were never right, but sounds vaguely familiar to someone I know. Better Half. It is not uncommon to introduce our spouses as our “better half.” I do it all the time. The phrase comes from the Middle East where a Bedouin had insulted a prince and the prince had ordered the Bedouin to be put to death. The Bedouin’s wife pleaded with the prince not to kill her husband. The wife stated it was not her “whole” husband who had insulted the prince, but just half of her husband. She asserted that she made up the other half of her husband (the better half). She had not insulted the prince and the husband, she argued, was…

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Getting Straight A’s in Life

I was never a straight A student in school. I was always a little envious of those students who made school look easy and got straight A’s. Every year, I would begin the school year with the goal of doing all the right things to make A’s – it never seemed to work out. Education experts will tell you the best ways to improve your grades include sitting in the front row, never missing class, completing all your assignments before class (that was really hard), taking good notes, starting early and working hard – all great ideas and suggestions. I thought, what about getting straight A’s in life, what would it take? Here are some thoughts: Action. People who make A’s in life are “doers” and not “talkers.” The people who make things happen eventually win. Shakespeare said, “Action is eloquence.” Loving what you do makes action so much easier.…

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Show Me Your Scars

I recently sat through a seminar on how to relate to the millennials at work and how to engage them in meaningful work and fulfillment. Half-way through the presentation, I began to feel that I had become more like my father and that I now carried his attitudes toward younger workers. Don’t get me wrong; I love what Millennials bring to the workplace with their excitement, social media savvy and the ability to work in teams or as part of bigger groups. I can also see some of my own attitudes, when I was in my twenties, in this generation. They have a sense of being in a hurry and thinking experience is overrated, just like I did at that age. In the seminar, it was even suggested we, older workers, could be mentored by the Millennials. But I return to that classic line I was told in my twenties,…

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

http://mcallen.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Baseball-Video_FB-720_V3-1-1.mp4 The McAllen Chamber of Commerce and McAllen Convention Visitors Bureau are proud to announce that this year’s Cecil Fielder New Years Invitational baseball tournament was a huge success. The event, which took place in mid-January brought over 60 teams from all throughout Texas as well as several international teams from Mexico. We’re also ecstatic about McAllen hosting the 2018 Cecil Fielder Texas State Championships at our newly developed 12-field baseball complex. The state tournament is set to take place from April 21-22nd and will bring in anywhere from 80 to 100 teams. Registration space is still available. We hope our Chamber members and local business owners are ready for the crowds! With 14 sporting events bringing in over $3.3 million to the local economy in 2017, we know this year is going to be even better. McAllen. Great place. Great sports. Great people.

Some Words of Encouragement

The economic and political climate today can cause a person to stop and wonder: “What is going on?” Uncertainty and a sense of chaos can be destabilizing, at so many different levels, for a person. Psychologists have found that when a person believes things or situations are out of a person’s control, there is increased stress, anxiety, angst, worry and all the other symptoms that come with uncertainty. Here are some words of encouragement. One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t tell me worrying doesn’t work, 90% of the stuff I worry about never happens.” Our community and our region are primed to achieve unprecedented growth and opportunity. We have so many good things working in our favor, but we sometimes overlook them because of all the negative rhetoric coming out of Washington and Austin. So here are a few facts that I hope you will find encouraging: The median…

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New Year, New Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Did you promise yourself that 2018 will be the year that you stick to all of your New Year’s resolutions and finally get into the best shape of your life? You are not alone. The health and wellness industry is big business in McAllen and around the globe. Current projections indicate continued growth over the next few years. One of the leading nonprofit research and education resource centers for the wellness industry, the Global Wellness Institute, has commissioned multiple landmark studies that have found some truly intriguing business statistics including: The global wellness industry was a $3.7 trillion market in 2015. The industry grew by 10.6% between 2013 to 2015. The healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss sector accounted for $646 billion. The fitness and mind-body sector stood at $542 billion. Preventive and personalized medicine, as well as public health, stood at $534 billion. 1 2 3 4 5 6…

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Customer Service and “Add-on Sales”

Over the years, I have written about the importance of customers to a business. A business wants to keep their customers and they want them coming back on a regular basis. A business works hard to gain a customer and if a business will do the “right things” for their customers, the business is building the foundation for long-term success. Getting a customer is expensive. I am always surprised by all the great lengths and expenses business go through to get a customer to walk into their store or business, and then the business drops the ball on customer service and/or miss out on a “add-on” sales opportunity. You want to make it easy for your customer to do business with you. For small businesses to survive against the big box stores and online competition, they must deliver a customer experience that the customer cannot get from a big box…

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Job Opportunity: CVB Sales Manager

Are you ready to take on the invigorating challenges of marketing one of the fastest growing, vibrant, international communities in Texas? The McAllen Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes visitor-related activities, facilities, and events in a dynamic region that sees tens of thousands of visitors annually. We’re looking for an experienced, capable, and dynamic individual to join our team today! McAllen Chamber of Commerce Job Description Position: CVB Sales Manager, Visit McAllen Reports to: VP and Director, Visit McAllen Minimum Education/Experience Requirements: College degree preferred Two years of experience in hospitality, customer-facing, account management, or event sales Knowledge of relevant computer applications Knowledge of principles and practices of sales including negotiation, influencing ability, and sales training Knowledge of customer service principles Knowledge of basic business principles Experience in making presentations Proven ability to achieve sales targets by overcoming objections Any work related experience resulting in acceptable proficiency levels is an acceptable…

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Great Leaders Protect and Develop

Great leaders are always looking out for the people they lead. It is easy to spot the poor leader in an organization or business because everything is about the leader. You see it in the “gold parachutes” that executives have when the company is sold, or when a merger takes place. The key executives are taken care of beyond anything that is reasonable, and the rest of the company employees are left to see their benefits cut and layoffs. It is no wonder there is such a frustration sometimes toward businesses. It appears the most basic contract of trust and protection is broken. The top people get all the benefits, while the rank and file suffer. The great leaders look out for everyone in the business or organization. They are willing to give things up for the good of the whole group. The great leaders spend their time building and…

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Ambassador of the Year and the GAC Meeting

Every year we honor the Ambassador of the Year. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors play such a huge role in the success of the Chamber at so many different levels. The Ambassadors are really our “boots on the ground” and do such a fantastic job of connecting and welcoming new Chamber members and representing the business community to newcomers and existing businesses that are developing and reaching new markets. There are over 100 active ambassadors with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and they come from every business sector you can imagine. The ambassadors are the folks in the blue coats that show up to “make a difference.” The ambassadors take time out of their schedules to connect and welcome new businesses. They also are developing an extensive network of business contacts that enhances their networks. To earn the Blue Coat, an ambassador must bring in over $2,000 in new…

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Dollar General vs. Amazon

“Amazon and the internet are putting me out of business!” claimed a local small business owner. I listened as this small business owner lamented the current retail climate and the future. I had heard this refrain before, when Walmart was expanding at an exponential clip in the 1980s and 1990s and changing the retail landscape. The reality is that no one factor forces a small business owner out of business. What Amazon and the big box retailers are doing is giving customers a choice. Your customers will not put you out of business, as long as you are their best choice. The successful small retail business understands what it means to compete against an Amazon or a “category killer”. The one key trait that I see over and over again in the successful small business is the willingness to change. John Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And…

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What Retail Looks Like in the Next Ten Years

Last week I wrote about the success of Dollar General as they compete in the digital era. The company serves the poorest areas with small markets and declining population mix. On paper, the company should be a failure, but for the last 27 years they have been profitable and are expanding faster than any other retail store in the country. First, Dollar General has a relentless focus on controlling costs and enhancing efficiency. Second, they understand their customer and what they want and how they want it packaged and at what price. “The internet is going to kill retail” is a constant refrain I have heard the last several years. However, it is important to remember that internet sales are only 11% of the total retail market. The percentage is growing, but brick and mortar retail is not going to go away anytime soon. But the world is changing and…

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Chamber Talks

Chamber Talks is Friday, December 15 at the Double Tree Hotel. Registration starts at 10:00 AM and the program starts at 10:30 AM. Carlos Sanchez with The Monitor will be hosting and will act as moderator. You don’t want to miss this event with the Governor of Tamaulipas Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca and Congress Henry Cuellar. This event will give the business community some insight into what may be several key trends for the RGV and Northern Mexico. The event is $15, and you can make a reservation by calling Gerry Garcia at 28-2871. A special thanks to the sponsors helping to underwrite the event:IBC Bank, Mcallen EDC, CIL, and the City of McAllen. Special thanks to The Monitor for being a media partner.