Category Archives: Chamber News

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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You Own It!

“You own it!” This is a phrase that has several meanings. It can be, “Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a new house or car,” or it can mean that you own the outcome or decision you just made. Unfortunately, our culture today is allowing an attitude of deflection and denial to creep into our thought processes, which is preventing us from taking responsibility for our choices. I don’t want to go as far as the victim persona, but there is a shift toward not taking responsibility for our own decisions. We are quick to blame other people: “They said this first,” or “They did this to me first.” Instead of owning what we do and say, we deflect and deny. When my kids were teenagers, I was quick to point out that they owned their decisions, actions, or words. It didn’t matter what their friends did; it…

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McAllen Chamber Seeking Nominations for Prestigious Man & Woman of the Year Awards

We have all had the opportunity to be associated with individuals from the McAllen area who have distinguished themselves for their outstanding volunteer service to our community, and sometimes these members of our community don’t receive the recognition they deserve.  Every year, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Man & Woman of the Year Selection Committee selects two outstanding volunteers to receive the honor of McAllen’s Man & Woman of the Year. To distinguish these deserving individuals, we ask for your nominations to make this recognition a reality for McAllen’s most deserving people.  If you know individuals you feel need to be recognized for their acts of exceptional kindness and tireless energy, or someone who has organized a program for the betterment of our community, given their time and talent to teach, lent a helping hand to those in need, or just made the special effort to ensure that “good things…

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Why Business Cards Still Matter

Many of my staff members think I am “old school” when it comes to certain things. For one, I still keep a paper calendar to track my meetings. My paper calendar has never crashed, been deleted, and is easy to find (it sits on my desk). The Chamber staff can look at it any time to see my schedule. I have kept a paper calendar for the last 31 years and that will not change. What many of you/us have already discovered is that technology can be an “X” factor in many things, but in building personal relationships and connecting with people, what is old is new again. Another one of my “antiquated” systems is the use of business cards. Lots of people probably think, “There is an app for that.” Here is an interesting side note: the average person has 21 apps on their smartphone but only uses five…

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Nature Birding Giveaway 2018

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is giving away a guided birding tour to one lucky winner. Winner will be picked on Sept. 10, 2018. Please enter your name, phone number and email address on the entry form. One entry per household. Winners will be given a choice of hotels and birding guides. Good luck.               By submitting a form you agree to posted terms and conditions.  

Four Myths About Customers

If you say it long enough, people begin to believe it. An idea or a belief starts and gets repeated and repeated, and before long, it becomes a “fact”, and then becomes a myth. A myth is a belief or story that is imaginary or fictitious. In our current political climate, many politicians claim certain things as truth even though they are untrue, and after time, more and more people begin to believe the claims. Once a myth is born, it’s hard to un-spread. I see it every day at the Chamber. Many business owners come to believe certain things about customers because they have been told certain myths since they started their businesses. Here are four myths that need to be corrected: The customer is always right. You see these types of signs in a lot of businesses: “The customer is always right.” Sounds good, and the attitude does…

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Two McAllen Chamber Innovation Grant Winners Are H-E-B Primo Pick Finalists

A Bit About Our Champions The companies and individuals that make their way through our Innovation Programs, and who are chosen as recipients of our Innovation Grant, are always a special breed. Their passion for innovative products and their ability to turn an idea into a reality is not easily found. But once you have found a true trailblazer, you’ll know. There’s a reason why Cappadona Ranch and Nuts & Cows have been chosen as Primo Picks finalist – their products and their passion. Cappadona Ranch Established in 2012 by Victoria Barrera Cappadona, Cappadona Ranch has developed from a simple family treat into the growing juggernaut that it is today. Developing a variety of healthy, home-made products from mesquite beans, including Mesquite Bean Jelly, flour, coffee, and more, Victoria has turned a food forgotten to history into a Texas favorite. Essentially discovering the value and tastiness of mesquite beans by…

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McAllen Receives 76 Awards at 25th Anniversary of Annual Texas Festival & Events Association Conference 

  McAllen hosted statewide festivals and events representatives for education and networking sessions The City of McAllen hosted the 25th Anniversary of the Texas Festival and Events Association Annual Conference this past weekend, bringing in festivals and events representatives from around the state as diverse and far away as Tomball Mud Fest; Ft. Worth Main St. Art Festival; Grapevine’s Grape Fest; Plano Balloon Fest; Poteet Strawberry Festival and even others closer to home, including Weslaco’s Texas Onion Fest; Fiesta Edinburg; Brownsville’s Mr. Amigo,  Laredo’s Washington Birthday Celebration Association,  and George West Storyfest and of course, as well-known as San Antonio’s Fiesta Flambeau Parade and St. Mary’s University Fiesta Oyster Bake. The conference featured informative, entertaining and educational sessions, to help give organizers and event coordinators the tools and tips to better host their events.  Topics ranged from Social Media Do’s and Don’ts; Niche Marketing; Event Security and Credit Card Usage…

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Tips on Mentoring and Coaching

Coaching and mentoring a person in the business world can be a challenge. Today’s business world has become lean and requires many people to do two or three jobs, just for the business or organization to survive. So, many times, if I mention coaching or mentoring to a business person, I get the look and expression of, “I don’t have time.” If you are lucky enough to have a business coach or mentor at your workplace – be thankful. If you are in a position to help with coaching a person in business – give it some thought. I would also suggest to you that mentoring and coaching is a two-way street. The other person has to be really interested in learning. I have seen circumstances in an organization where the person who really needed the coaching stopped listening. If you want to begin implementing mentoring and coaching in your…

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McAllen Sports – Trophies, Signage, and Really Big Murals

by Roda Grubb It’s fitting that we highlight a McAllen Chamber member who has played such a prominent role in our local sports scene – especially now that the McAllen Youth Baseball Complex has finally opened. Featuring 11 gorgeous baseball fields, an additional Miracle Field which complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards, a concession area, and plenty of parking, this facility is sure to make a lasting mark like McAllen Sports. Jorge Salcines opened McAllen Sports in 1979, following in his father’s footsteps but choosing to do it his way. “I grew up in the business, working at International stores, my father’s department stores, since I was 13,” Jorge began. “After college, I worked there until I got married. Then, I quit my job, and opened my business.” At one point, McAllen Sports grew to include seven sporting good stores and two department stores in McAllen, Harlingen, and…

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Five Ways to Think Like Your Clients

Selling Can Be a Challenge Even the most successful salespeople reach plateaus and struggle to find ways to push through to the next level. One of the most basic elements of selling is the ability to put yourself in your client’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Once you begin to understand what your client’s burning problems are and how you can help to solve them, you are on your way to building a solid relationship that goes beyond selling and enters the world of problem-solving. The hard part is sensing what your clients are thinking. With a little time, research, and empathy, you can gain key understandings about your clients. Here are five ways to start thinking like your clients and walking in their shoes: Why your company or organization? Remember, you are not the only person out there selling a solution. What your organization brings to the…

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The Four Key Things People Look for in a Leader

There is no magic formula to becoming a leader. Many people believe that great leaders are born and gifted with leadership abilities. I, however, would suggest that great leaders can be developed, and must learn that leading takes time, focused effort, and commitment. Many times, people confuse charisma with leadership and think the more charismatic a person acts, the better the leader. False enthusiasm and fake charisma are a trap and are the wrong way to lead genuinely. So, what do people want in a leader? There have been countless surveys and studies done to find the key characteristics people look for in one. Consistently, this research has shown that there are four major traits people expect in a leader: Honesty. We want to follow people who are worthy of our trust. Why would anyone follow someone else who is willing to lie, cheat, or take shortcuts? At our most…

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McDONALD’S EQUALS SUCCESS

In McAllen, the name McDonald’s is synonomous with the word success. However, it takes a lot of hard work, long hours and many years to maintain that success. Fred del Barrio was 18 and going to school half days, which caused his father to say, “Get a job!” Reluctant to go job searching when he already brought in money from washing teachers vehicles, Fred found himself discussing his situation with his older sister’s boss at McDonald’s. Before he knew it, he had a job at McDonald’s. “I still remember my first day,” said Fred. “After an orientation and getting issued my uniform, I went to the kitchen to start my training, working a 4 to 7 o’clock shift. I remember all these timers going off all over. At 7 o’clock I headed to the time clock to punch out, but was stopped on my way. It seems I still had…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – BRITO CONSTRUCTION

Satisfied customers. That’s what most pleases Miguel Brito, co-owner of Brito Construction. Though the company does all forms of construction – home construction, residential remodeling, commercial finish-outs and residential developments – Miguel’s favorite is residential. “Commercial is often easier because doing residential means working with individuals who can be more detailed and finicky,” Miguel said. “But, I like that moment when I give the family the keys and see them happy.”  The company started 23 years ago when Brito’s father came from Venezuela. His brother joined him from Mexico. “My Uncle Juan found a piece of land at Bentsen and Pecan,” Miguel said. “We bought the land, developed the streets, and built the 181 lots by phases. It was called Bentsen Heights.” Today, Miguel and his cousin, Pilar Brito, run the organization. Building at least 30 to 35 homes a year, among their other projects, they have a staff of…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – ALBERT & JORGE SUAREZ

Albert & Jorge Suarez, Co-owners Koko’s Mexican Restaurant   Love sometimes leads people to do things that surprise all those around them. Take the story of Albert and Jorge Suarez, co-owners, Koko’s Mexican Restaurant on north 10th Street.  At 49 years of age, Carmen Mery Suarez, the beloved mother and wife of the Suarez family was gone. Though she and her husband, Alberto Z. Suarez, had a clothing store, her dream had always been to follow in her brother’s footsteps and open a restaurant. Jorge had worked in his uncle’s restaurant, and found he had a talent cooking. “A few months after my mom died I  went to Jorge and said, ‘Let’s open a restaurant. I’ll be the waiter and you be the cook,’” Albert said. “I was 21 and he was 18. We started out with 10 tables in downtown McAllen.”  Expanding to 28 tables across the street, then…

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