Author Archives: Stephanie Hawk

Ethics and Business

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Ethics is talked about when something bad happens. Just this past week, Equifax announced that the private information of over 143 million people was stolen by a computer hacker. There is no doubt the information is being sold in the “dark market” of the internet. What compounds the problem of the security breach. I am not drawing the conclusion the executives knew about the breach before they sold their stock, but it does raise serious ethical questions. Stories like this seem to happen several times every year. Ethical decisions are made by businesses every day. The strong ethical of an organization builds a culture of strong ethics so that when a situation occurs, there is no doubt what the right things to do is. People in strong ethical organizations do the right things, even when they are not required to do it. Ethics in business is part leadership and part…

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Doing the Right Things at the Right Time

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Doing the Right Things at the Right Time Our world seems to go faster and faster every day. We are more connected and more aware of what our friends and business competitors are doing today because of connectivity through social media. The pace seems to increase all the time and I constantly hear, “I don;t have the time to get everything done. I am so overwhelmed by how little time I have.” Here is the secret truth many of us don’t want to hear: you are not going to get everything done. True success lies not in doing everything we can do in a day, but rather in doing the things we should do. All things are not equal. We think success is striking a balance between competing activities or efforts. The challenge is understanding that not all activities being performed at a particular time are worth our efforts. Sounds…

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Some Economic Points

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We have all heard the saying, “That dog just doesn’t hunt,” which, loosely translated, means this idea or business is not working anymore. In the economy, things change. Sectors and businesses rise and fall. New products come and old products go. The invention of double-knit fabric killed 50% of the nation’s dry cleaning stores. One of McAllen’s first successes was getting McAllen Block Ice Company in 1906. Refrigeration then killed the icebox and the block ice business. The airplane replaced the train. The train replaced the stagecoach. You get the picture; new ideas replace old ideas. Here are some key economic points: Only people have expenses. I have a house payment and a car payment. I have bills that I have to pay and I am responsible for covering those expenses. Governments and businesses don’t have expenses, they pass their costs on to consumers and taxpayers. The profitable businesses not…

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Back-to-School: McAllen’s Education Labor Sector Meets the Challenge

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McAllen has some major labor sectors that drive the city’s economy and employment opportunities. Health services, government, and retail make up the three largest clusters. Of these prominent industry clusters, government employees make up nearly a quarter of McAllen’s work force. While this might be expected because of our proximity to the border and the presence of federal employees in our community (i.e. Border Patrol), you might be surprised to find that employment in public schools makes up an overwhelming percentage of government workers. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all government employees work for elementary and secondary schools. Between 2006 through 2014, the education sector was the fastest growing amongst McAllen’s industry clusters. McAllen ISD itself employs 3,445 personnel and 1,675 teachers that service 24,254 students across more than 30 campuses. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted several important facts about the employment opportunities available for educators…

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Business Expo At The McAllen Convention Center

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You don’t want to miss dynamic seminar at the McAllen Chamber Commerce’s Business Expo Thursday, September 14, 1:30PM-3:30PM at the McAllen Convention Center. Jan Latiolais Hargrave teaches you the ways in which your body communicates to the world around you. Her information could help you to “read” your customers, your family, your students, your associates, in fact, everyone around you. Author of Let Me See You Body Talk, Freeway of Love, Judge The Jury and Strictly Business Body Language, this popular speaker, distinguished educator, talk-show guest of The Lifetime Channel, Fox News, The Maury Povich Show, The Montel Williams Show, Great Day Houston, E-Entertainment Television and The Ricki Lake Show, describes for you all “hidden messages” you use in your everyday life and shows you how to stop the lies and uncover the truth-in any conversation or situation. Working with thousands in the field of personal growth and self-expression through…

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Four Types of Meeting “Problem Children”

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I participate in a lot meetings and I run a lot of meetings. Meetings can be advantageous or a total waste of time. It really comes down to how a person leads a meeting. A successful meeting has two key elements: 1) it has an agenda with a start time and end time and 2) it has a purpose or expected outcome for the meeting. Our staff meetings are every Monday and they typically don’t last more than 10 minutes. The staff meeting is to inform and to highlight key things happening that week. I am amazed at the amount of time wasted in many meetings. Remember, on occasion, there are people who will subvert your meetings or have an agenda that is contrary to the organization or the purpose of the meeting. Not everyone has a sinister plot to destroy a meeting, but problems develop with people who use…

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The Health Service Sector in McAllen Sees Unprecedented Growth

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It may not come as much of a surprise that the health service sector in the McAllen metro area is one of the leading industries of the region. But when we begin to look at the sheer numbers and affect the medical field has had on the local economy and job growth, it’s quite difficult not to be left astounded. Since 2000, the health service sector (in addition to the education sector) has grown by more than 150%. As the two fastest growing industries in the last 17 years, education and health services account for 47% of all net jobs added to the McAllen House Market Area (HMA). Amazingly, during the 12 months prior to March 2017, these two sectors once again had the highest job growth at a fantastic 4.9%. That is a positive increase of 3,200 jobs during that 12 month time frame. This expanded the total number…

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Why Men Are Not Working

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There is a growing trend in the United States that could have far reaching ramifications for our labor force over the next ten years – fewer men are working. Social scientists are still trying to understand the underlying reasons for the decline. The year 2000 now appear to be he high watermark for work and employment for men in the United States. Here are a couple of underlying causes: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averaged 2.3% annual growth from 1948 to 2000. After 2000, it has averaged less than 1.5 percent. Slower growth and more technology mean fewer new jobs. Jobs that were lost in 2001 and in the 2008 “great recession” are not coming back. In 2017, we finally reached pre-2008 job numbers. The job market is taking longer to come back. For every officially unemployed American man between the ages of 25 and 55, there are another three who…

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The Power of Pain

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The power of pain has such a great influence on us and our decisions. Human nature tells us to build systems and processes to avoid pain. We want things easy. The 21st century and technology have made things easy and mostly painless in the United States. As humans, we don’t like pain and we avoid it every day. Do I get up off the couch and go do something physical or do I just keep sitting? Do you allow emotional impulses to direct your decisions? If you have teenagers, you know that most teenagers look for the easy way forward. When asked why they made a certain decision, they will respond, because “they felt like it.” Unfortunately, that attitude of making decisions based on how you feel at the moment has carried forward into adult life for many people today. We are unwilling and unable to make sacrifices or to…

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Six Traits to Get Through Hardships and Trials

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There were a couple of college courses I did not want to take because the teachers and their reputation for being really hard and and demanding. Unfortunately, I went to a small college and there was no getting around the courses — there were no passes. There are no passes with trials and hardships in life. We don’t get a pass on dealing with hard things, difficult situations, or troublesome events or issues in life. We think other people have it so easy, but in reality, we all have experienced, or are going to experience, hardships and trials. Some people seem to deal so much more effectively with hardships than others, and I sometimes wonder what their secrets are in handling such difficult situations. Here are six key traits people have that help them handle hardships and trials: Faith. In our culture, we want to believe that if we are…

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Let the Games Begin: Economic Opportunity is Abundant During TAAF Games of Texas

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Summer may be nearing its end over for many of us, but that doesn’t mean McAllen is quite ready to call it quits. Starting July 27th, our great city will once again host the Games of Texas. These state championships, held annually by the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation, have a long and storied history. Local efforts to write another page in that story will go a long way toward continued economic growth and unity for both McAllen and the rest of the Rio Grande Valley. The approach that originally brought the Games of Texas to McAllen was unique because of our city’s unified front in bidding to host the games. While other cities have traditionally sent only their Convention and Visitors Bureau as representatives, McAllen sent a team that not only included representatives from our CVB but from our school district and city hall as well. That cohesive unit allowed…

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Tips on Networking

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Social media is a great tool, but it should not take the place of building relationships. Many times we think that, by surfing Facebook, we are connecting with people, but in reality, we are just cyber “stalkers.” We don’t know people, we just see the shell of what they want to present to the world. In this hyper-competitive world, true connecting and building relationships is becoming a lost art. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is all about accelerating connections and building relationships. It is never easy, but it is a critical touchstone for success. When you start connecting with people, start with a clear understanding of your objectives and outcomes. If you are planning to attend a networking event, start with the goal of producing two solid leads for your business. With that goal in mind, research your contacts that were made at the networking event and follow up. In…

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Spreading the Word: McAllen Business and City Leaders Help to Promote McAllen in Mexico City

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The #SeeYouInMcAllen marketing campaign has been a remarkably orchestrated initiative that has further increased the visibility of the City of McAllen across multiple regions including the South Texas Triangle – which stretches from Laredo to Corpus Christi and back down to McAllen – as well as Northern Mexico and our own amazing Rio Grande Valley. But our sights have been set even higher. That’s why representatives from the City of McAllen, La Plaza Mall, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the McAllen-Miller International Airport all joined together in Mexico City to promote the excellent international destination that is McAllen. This McAllen group was supported by a number of Mexican businesses and organizations, including generous backing from Aeromar Airlines, which offers a direct flight to McAllen from Mexico City –  the only international destination of its kind. McAllen is Happening Known as McAllen Day, the event was…

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A Look Into Our Past Tells Us of Our Future

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The story of McAllen goes back more than 100 years. From a dusty little border town to the international metropolitan destination that it has become today, the history of our city not only offers us a glimpse into our past but reveals the perseverance that has made our community great. A perseverance and tenacity that endures and is the foundation for future success. Our place along the Rio Grande borderland has inextricably tied our past, and future, with our neighbors to the south. From the first Spanish settlements that were established in 1749 to modern times, our cross cultural heritage runs deeps. City leaders at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, the City of McAllen, and McAllen Economic Development Corporation believe that through some contemplation of our past, we can understand the road ahead. Small Beginnings McAllen was situated in a no-man’s land in the late 1800’s. It wasn’t until the…

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Eat. Play. Stay…And Live…in McAllen!

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McAllen is happening and our beautiful region continues to see meaningful growth and economic trends that point towards prolonged prosperity for the area. Through aggressive initiatives and marketing campaigns – such as #SeeYouinMcallen – city leaders from the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, McAllen EDC and City of McAllen offices are working diligently to promote McAllen businesses for shopping, playing, eating, and staying. While our primary goal with these marketing campaigns will continue to focus on drawing in tourists from various regions including northern Mexico, the South Texas Triangle, and our very own metropolitan area, it is worth noting that our marvelous city of McAllen is not only great to visit but to live in as well. Undoubtedly, our ability to thrive and remain a dynamic city not only depends on drawing in travelers but also attracting a permanent population of productive, innovative and skilled workers to enhance our civic and…

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