Author Archives: Stephanie Hawk

Four Key Elements for an Effective Briefing

Meetings can be a huge time “killer.” I am amazed at the amount of time many businesses and organizations spend in meetings. There is a fine line between communication that is needed and a waste of time. The other side of the coin is, “I am working in an organization that doesn’t communicate.” So how does a company manage effective communication versus wasting time? Many organizations have allowed their email system to become their “default” method of communication. Emails lose so much in tone, texture, and meaning. I have found emails to be the least effective way to communicate anything beyond just basic information. So how does a person grab someone’s attention without crossing that line of wasting others’ time? The military initially developed the concept of briefings – a process designed to give participants critical information, without wading too much into the “weeds.” Unfortunately, today, the military has modeled…

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Four Kinds of Words

Words are powerful. Because we are bombarded daily with so many words, we forget the powerful impact they can have on our lives. People can be flippant with words, not realizing they have the power to increase or decrease. Words have the power to set ideas into motion, movements and businesses. Words can start a relationship or destroy a relationship. Words can bring hope or despair. Words can inspire, mend, and heal. Words are important and how they are used does make a difference. Words of encouragement, that are sincere, almost always matter. You may say something encouraging and you may think it did not register with the person – but it did. Those words of encouragement come back to people in their darkest hours when hope seems lost. Integ­rity is the key to our words. When we say “yes” it should be “yes” and we should honor our commitment.…

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2018 McAllen Chamber Innovation Grant Winners

For 11 years the McAllen Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Chamber’s Innovation Grant. The Innovation Grant Awards program is designed to help inventors and entrepreneurs move their ideas one step closer to the marketplace. This program has grown every year and there are two key traits that have emerged as we engage these successful entrepreneurs. Every one of these winners exhibits two key traits that seem fundamental to their success. First, winners ask the “why” question. “Why does something have to be this way?” The successful entrepreneur never lets go of the “why.” They think about it, they research it, and they ask lots of questions concerning, “why?” Second, the successful entrepreneur never quits. It sounds simple, but it is an attitude that is the make or break for success. It does not matter how many times they are told no, the successful entrepreneur just keeps going. All the…

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Tech Upgrades Mean Blazing Internet Speeds at Incubator & TechSpace

In the Rio Grande Valley, coworking spaces have become a vital component of the local business landscape. Being able to share ideas, physical space, and creativity with like-minded and passionate individuals in a collaborative environment is fantastic for established businesses and startup companies alike. However, with more people come more devices, and the sheer amount of devices and technology connected to a single source can consume enormous amounts of bandwidth. But luckily for your business, there’s the McAllen Creative Incubator and TechPlace coworking space. As the McAllen Creative Incubator and TechSpace recently added more room for coworking, it was also the perfect time to perform a tech upgrade to the network and add extra capacity. Now, the McAllen Creative Incubator and TechPlace sport a blazingly fast 1GB per second connection to the Internet! This means that Wi-Fi speeds in the Incubator are faster than almost anything around! This boost to…

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Bigger & Better: McAllen Business Expo 2018 Recap

What do you get when you bring together over 150 businesses, thousands of attendees, 140 door prizes, fantastic networking opportunities and one singing Killer Bee all in one gorgeous convention center. The 2018 McAllen Business Expo, of course. This year’s expo was one for the books with business leaders from a diverse range of industries attending this spectacular event to represent their unique brands. Now in its 20th year, the expo started with a bang – the MegaNetwork event. Business owners from all over the Rio Grande Valley came together to share insight, experiences, and generate referrals. The energy was lively as attendees at the networking event eagerly shared “war stories” and connected with local influencers. Plenty of valuable advice was shared and newer business owners had the perfect opportunity to raise their profile. Suffice to say that the networking event did exactly what it was supposed to do -…

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Perspective is Everything

In the past, I’ve written about two secrets for success in small business; those two secrets were “have to” and “I can.” Another secret to true success in small business, and really anything in life, is your attitude. How a person thinks ultimately translates into words and actions. Attitude is such an intangible aspect of our behavior, but also so critical to so many things in life. As I was sitting outside thinking about dogs and how they act, I began to think about attitude and the difference between how a dog views the world and how a teenager views the world. Here is what I think a dog and a teenager may think…but I am not too sure about the teenager. Dog: “I get up at 5:30 a.m. and I am so excited. I am wagging my tail as hard as I can to get these people up and…

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The Value of Work

Geoffrey Owens has been in the news recently. For those of you who don’t remember, Geoffrey Owens is an actor who had a recurring role on The Cosby Show throughout the mid-80s and the early 90s. He has also been on several TV shows since then, including Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, and Built to Last. For the last 15 months, he had worked at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey because the job gave him the flexibility to pursue acting and directing gigs. Last week a fan recognized the actor at Trader Joe’s, took a picture of him working the cash register, and posted it on social media. What was shocking were the Internet “trolls” who tried to shame him because of his desire to work and support himself while pursuing his dreams. Therein lies the “rub” and what our culture has to…

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McAllen is Booming: City Earns Top Spot As Boomtown

It’s a great time to live and work in McAllen! Our gorgeous city was recently recognized by personal finance site MagnifyMoney as one of the Top 10 biggest boomtowns in the nation when categorized by: population and housing; workforce and earnings; and business growth over a five-year period. Even more amazingly, McAllen was ranked #1 out of the 100 largest metro areas in the nation in terms of rising salaries. Growing work opportunities, rising wages, and a flourishing workforce has made McAllen the South Texas city to be in. The study focused on the five-years between 2011 and 2016. During this time frame, McAllen’s civilian labor workforce grew by 8.7 percent, its unemployment rate decreased by 10.9 percent, and median worker earnings soared by 18.4 percent. Amazingly, revenues in McAllen rose by 19.1 percent during these five-years. McAllen’s metro population during this period also grew by a substantial 9.4 percent…

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The Law of the Harvest

The Law of the Harvest is the principle that states that you grow and reap where you focus your attention and efforts. We discuss with new chamber members how the Law of the Harvest is key to their membership. Small business owners are managers, HR specialists, customer service reps, finance gurus, chief strategists, marketers, and janitors; they do it all. The challenge for small business owners, with so many things on their plates, is how to grow their business. If a small business does not invest the time and effort to grow their economic pie and business model, they will wake up one day and there will be no business. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce helps solve one of the most fundamental questions for a small business, “How do I effectively and efficiently grow my business?” This question can be answered by being a part of the McAllen Chamber of…

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Flying Cars

I know lots of people thought that by this time in history we would have flying cars. Those of us who grew up watching The Jetsons on Saturday morning were certain that by the early 21st century we would all be traveling in flying cars. While we are not there yet, we are getting closer. Two key companies that have taken the lead in developing Personal Air Vehicles are Uber and Lilium (a German company). The challenge is “to deliver a safe, cost-effective, reliable and quiet aerial commuting solution using technologies and infrastructure that are available in the near-term.” The problem is that the complex ecosystem has to be put in place all at one time. Here are just a few of the difficulties: aircraft management, pilot management, skyport management, power and electric management, skyport operations, and communication infrastructure management. So, there are lots of moving parts that have to…

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An Experience, Not an Appointment de Sanchez Day Spa and Salon

In need of rest and relaxation? Perhaps it’s time for some “Me-time!” In this unique, stand-alone day spa and salon just south of Pecan on 15th Street in McAllen, one has the choice to use all the facilities before a hair, skin care or body treatment appointment. Come early and luxuriate in separate male or female areas with a jacuzzi, steam room or dry sauna using the spa’s handy lockers, deluxe robes and relaxing ambiance to put you in a state of calm before your appointment. Experience the moment and give in to the opulence. Not only can you get hair treatments, there’s also a master color lab, and a variety of massages available: hot stone, four-handed massage, as well as cupping. Have a Salt Scrub, or Parafango, a detox treatment. A separate men’s salon with hair and nail treatments was added a few years ago to the delight of…

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As the Unemployment Rate Decreases, Opportunity and Hope in the RGV Increases

Change is happening in McAllen. The work for a better tomorrow over the past year has produced record-breaking results that have improved the quality of life to the citizens of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area. It is our privilege that the McAllen Chamber of Commerce provides the backbone necessary to build a strong, sprouting business, and when more businesses plant their roots into McAllen’s soil, more jobs become available to our citizens. While we all share in this success, it wasn’t an easy win to obtain. Thanks to our programs—such as the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grant, 1 Million Cups, and IdeaPlace powered by Wells Fargo to name a few—that foster ambition, reward innovation, and inspire hope, local entrepreneurs both inexperienced and experienced are realizing their true potential. Because of our dedication to nurturing these small businesses, job vacancies have been created, effectively decreasing the unemployment rate throughout the metro…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Programs

Innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship are driving our economy in the 21st century. McAllen is building the infrastructure and networks to foster innovation, creativity, and startups. Ideas and innovation drive wealth creation in communities. Our goal at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce is to provide technical support, connections, funding and a vetting process that allows entrepreneurs to explore ideas without wasting a lot of money. We are creating the culture and working to lower the transactional costs for young companies and the success is paying off. We have worked with over 160 startups and have assisted in securing 16 patents, nine trademarks, and seven copyright protections filings. We have created 36 jobs, but more importantly, we have helped young McAllen companies generate more than $4.5 million in revenue over the last five years. We have assisted three finalists in the H-E-B Primo Picks Competition, and we have more coming. It is…

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An Oasis in Life’s Stormy Weather Cryo Body Perfections By Roda Grubb

Out of pain comes gain ― if you let it. Though this saying has been around for ages, Margret De Bruyn, Managing Director of Cryo Body Perfections, knows it for a fact. After a major war with an 18-wheeler, De Bruyn, a pilates instructor, weightlifter, and health advocate living in San Antonio, was in major pain due to back injuries and pinched nerves. “I’m allergic to painkillers and nothing was working to help stop the pain except ice treatments at the chiropractors,” De Bruyn explained. “When a tri-athlete friend suggested I try a new treatment that had helped her called cryotherapy, I thought, ‘Why not?’” Hoping for immediate results, it wasn’t until the following morning she discovered she had miraculously slept all night and had been able to get out of bed in 20 minutes instead of 45. The more she underwent cryotherapy treatment, the better she felt. She found…

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Four Key Elements to Leading

If you have followed the news for the last several months (or maybe it has been years), you may have noticed a huge drop in civility and leadership. We see people in leadership positions insulting and degrading people with whom they disagree. We seem to think voicing our thoughts and opinions on social media is synonymous with having an impact. We “exaggerate” our involvement and activism, and yet we don’t even get off the couch to try to make a real difference. True leadership requires more than voicing one’s opinions and thoughts. There are four key parts to leading: History. What a person brings to the table when leading is an accumulation of strengths and weaknesses that have developed over a lifetime. There are no shortcuts to effective leadership. It takes time as well as success and failure. Our desires for instant gratification and to solve problems quickly do not…

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