Author Archives: Stephanie Hawk

The American Dream

From the very beginning, the United States was founded on the concept that anyone could become anything they wanted. It was never a guarantee, but it was the concept of a “fair chance.” The dream meant a “fair chance” to achieve what a person desired, no matter where they were born or the circumstances of their birth. Government is not supposed to block a person’s path, and everyone should be offered a fair chance to compete.   What we have seen in the last decades has been an eroding of that confidence in the American way. Here are some examples of the erosions: Well connected and wealthy families cheat to get their kids into prestigious colleges and universities. Cheating to win. Doors to jobs and opportunities seem to open for people who have the right family connections and right school ties. Connections to win.  If you are not born in America…

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Five Decision Making Traps to Avoid

There has been a lot written about decision making and what goes into the process. Bad decisions made by businesses get scrutinized repeatedly – they even become urban legends. Here are several examples: Ross Perot passed on buying Microsoft for $50 million in 1979; IBM allowed Microsoft to retain the copyright of the DOS operating system.  In 1999, Excite (a popular search engine in the 90s) passed on purchasing Google for $750,000; Western Union turned down purchasing the telephone patent for $100,000; In 1970, NBC and CBS passed on Monday Night Football; and, last but not least, Edwin Drake failed to file a patent for his oil drilling process in 1858 (he developed the process of using pipes to keep water away from the drill bits and ushered in the modern oil business).  Here are five traps that can happen during the decision-making process:  The First Idea Trap. We tend…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Core Values

One of the critical things that drives the success of a business or organization is the set of core values of that organization or company. Core values are the foundational stone for success and provide the “North Star” for businesses managing change and disruptions in the marketplace. Without clearly defined core values, an organization bounces from situation to situation, without really understanding why it has chosen to do things a certain way. Core values become the guiding principle and standard by which situations, customers, and even how internal matters are handled. Core values become “red lines” that are not negotiated or compromised. Everything can be traded and compromised, except core values. Easy to say, but much harder to do.  A person’s core values need to match with his/her business or organization’s core values. Without a close match, there is internal stress created, which results in a mismatch between an individual…

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Get Your Tickets NOW! MXLAN Is Coming

MXLAN is McAllen’s five-day interactive arts and music festival that celebrates the past, present, and future culture of our region. Our goal is to make the event an authentic experience that ignites a spirit of adventure, experiences, and kinship. We will bring thousands of visitors to McAllen to engage in unique experiences that celebrate our region’s ties to Mexico, but also the emerging Latino experience for the Rio Grande Valley and our unique food, music, and culture. Here is just a short list of some of the activities happening:      Friday, July 26th at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 27th at 11:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m., Sunday, July 28th at 10:00 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. The Mindgames Chess Festival, powered by the McAllen Independent School District, will feature chess and video game competitions. $3,600 in winnings (100% guaranteed). Note: Both schedules merge after Round 2. Online Registration is $50 + $2.00…

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A Celebration of Culture: McAllen’s MXLAN Interactive Arts and Music Festival

MXLAN is McAllen’s five-day interactive arts and music festival that celebrates the past, present and future culture of our region. Our goal is to make the event an authentic experience that ignites a spirit of adventure, experiences, and kinship. We will bring thousands of visitors to McAllen to engage in unique experiences that celebrate our region’s ties to Mexico, but also the emerging Latino experience of the Rio Grande Valley and our unique food, music, and culture. Here is just a short list of some of the activities happening:   Wednesday-Sunday The MXLAN Mercado is free and open to the public from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM. We will have over 150 Mexican Artisans and exhibitors. If you miss shopping and going to Mexico, this will be your chance to see and spend some money on some unique and one-of-a-kind gifts.       Wednesday 8:30 PM The Neon Run,…

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Weddings and Funerals

Weddings and funerals are signature bookend events. One demonstrates a commitment that goes beyond one’s self, and the other tells the tale of a life and how it was lived. Last week, as I sat in Ruben Cardenas’s funeral, I was reminded about one of Ruben’s life focuses on making an investment and impact in our community. He instilled the same message in his children, Dr. Carlos Cardenas, Oscar Cardenas, and Diana Albrecht. Each echoes that same DNA that was so important to their father and his life.   Ruben Cardenas was the McAllen Chamber’s longest-serving volunteer – 59 years (a record that will never be broken). Ruben could be direct, blunt, and forceful, but he was committed to making McAllen world class. As I sat there, I began to reflect on how a person can genuinely measure their effort and impact. Moreover, my thoughts turn to the two most…

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Why “RANTS” Don’t Work

Going on a “rant” never works. It seems like every day someone on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or some other social media platform vents and calls out a person or group. This almost always backfires and usually does more damage to the person doing the “rant” than to the person being “attacked.” The person doing the “ranting” may feel good after the post for a short period but, long-term, people begin to question the “ranter’s” mental state and stability. La Croix’s CEO, Nick Caporella, has a history of lashing out at a wide range of people and groups. Two years ago, he went after short-sellers of his company’s stock prices. Everybody who was questioning the stock value was a “perpetrator and self-serving manipulator.” The “rant” was done in all caps, with vast claims of the “best year ever.”  Many financial observers labeled the outbursts bizarre and even bordering on deranged.…

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Results or Relations

“Results or relations” is a modem leadership and management challenge. I have had the opportunity to work with both kinds of leaders and managers. Both styles are effective in the right setting. Both styles can blow up in the wrong setting. There are leadership situations that call for relationships in order to accomplish the objectives. The ability to carry an idea forward depends on the relationships to make it happen. As Stephan Covey explained, there have to be enough deposits in the emotional bank account to make “stuff’ happen. The people who have the relationships have deep Rolodexes and have built these relationships over the years. The results leaders have the ability to get things done efficiently and fast. They perform at a high level. They are great under pressure and know how to deliver. The teams they work with are well run and focused. These teams are usually small…

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What Is Your Personal Brand?

Businesses understand the importance of branding and marketing their “brand.” It is an easy way for customers to understand what the company is all about, what the company stands for, and its purpose. The hard part for many people is to recognize that we each have a personal brand. The personal brand is what we are “all about” in life. To develop a personal brand requires reflection, thinking about, and writing down what is important to you. Here are five basic steps toward developing a personal brand: Core Values. Everything we do starts with what we believe and how we see the world. Surprisingly, most people don’t take the time to reflect and develop their critical core values. Those values can be found in traits, strengths, interests, and beliefs. Reflecting on what makes us engage at a high-level reveals where a person’s passions lie and what gets us motivated and…

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Why Capitalism Matters

Last week I wrote about the voting trends for the 2020 Presidential elections and how each party is going to need to appeal to people outside of its base. The fact that 44.6% of the people in the United States identify as being Liberal/Progressive was a surprise to me. There is a growing movement to support the “Green New Deal,” which propels key socialist ideas to the forefront of the political discussion. However, why does this failed economic system keep coming back to life when there are so many examples of the system failing – think Cuba and Venezuela? Socialism does not work because it fundamentally ignores human nature and behavior. Collectivism may appear to work at the beginning, but human nature and behavior begin to take over and all people are left within this socialist system is a “shell government” of tyranny and misery. There are three critical drivers…

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The Examined Life

Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” This is still true today and may even have a more significant role in success than at any other time. Our world is hyper-connected and fast-paced. We go, go, go, and yet find no time to stop, think and reflect on what we are doing, what we are saying, who we are or whom we want to be. I see, at least once a month, people in elected positions and high business positions making unethical, illegal or immoral decisions. There should be a moment of pause in our culture for us to question and to stop and wonder what was going on in their lives to cause them to make such bad decisions. Socrates’ quote is a reminder of the modern-day challenges we face. Finding and keeping your true identity or your “True North” takes time, effort and reflection. Here…

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How Do You See the World?

What type of lens we use to look at the world determines what we choose to see and think about what is around us. Our “lens” brings certain things into focus, while other things become blurred. We are quick to look around us and to measure our success by what we want to see. Here is a story of a young man learning a lesson about riches and poverty: One day a young man of a very wealthy family took a trip to the other side of the world to see how other people lived in poorer countries. The young man’s grandfather had sent him on this journey of discovery. The young man spent a couple of days and nights on a small farm in a rural part of the country watching this very poor family scratch out an existence on a small plot of land. On his return trip…

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Nancy Millar Bids Farewell to the McAllen Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Millar, Vice President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, announced her retirement last week after 22 years of working at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Those of you who have had the pleasure of working with Nancy over the years understand the insight and enthusiasm she brought to the table on every project or event she worked on and developed. She truly has a deep love for McAllen. Nancy is a person who can stretch a dollar and get the biggest “bang for the buck” in marketing and advertising. She has a keen understanding of how to pull a marketing plan together and how to execute. What I grew to appreciate about Nancy is how she worked with limited resources and was still able to drive economic growth in McAllen. When an organization is flush with cash and can spend large sums of…

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5G and Its Importance to the RGV

This last week, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce hosted its first Entrepreneur Summit and one of the presenters, Jon Roberts from TIP Strategies, discussed the importance of 5G and the next big-business boom. There has been a lot of conversation around artificial intelligence (AI), bio-engineering, robotics, and the North American Energy Boom, but the most significant change is coming with 5G. The techno-revelation is built on a foundation of moving and processing information quicker and at lower costs. The rollout of 5G will be the infrastructure foundation to make all this happen. The 5G infrastructure will be able to carry previously prohibitive volumes of data and will allow a smarter and more connected world. Whether you are talking about driverless cars, flying vehicles, AI, intelligent appliances, advanced manufacturing or superfast data communication, 5G will power all of it and be the game changer.    The rollout of 5G is in…

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