Category Archives: Chamber Communications
Over the last few weeks, a number of issues have been raised concerning the new policies and practices the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees and Superintendent Mike Miles are implementing in an effort to move the district and our students forward. This morning we issued a letter with the Dallas Citizens Council to the Board of Trustees showing the support of the broader business community for the very difficult changes recommended by Superintendent Miles.
We are dedicated to making our region the most economically prosperous region and the most desirable place to live and work in the United States. To accomplish this goal we must have an excellent urban school district that provides our children with the quality education they deserve.
There will be false starts and missteps along the way, and we’ve seen some. There will also be some who disagree with the fresh ideas and changes. But we stand by the Board of Trustees and Superintendent Miles, and for their bold plans to provide our children with the quality education they deserve, and a school district of which we can be even more proud.
To learn more about the letter submitted to the Board of Trustees, click here.
Thank you for your continued support of the Dallas Regional Chamber, and our efforts to improve the quality of life throughout the region.
Ambassador (r.) James C. Oberwetter
By Erica Mulder, Communications Manager
Exports in Texas are making a big impact on the global economy. The Dallas Morning News reported today that Texas refineries and petrochemical plants are leading the state’s growth.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2009 and 2012 Texas exports grew from $163 billion to more than $265 billion. Of that total, one-fourth of the exports came from DFW. Here’s a more detailed view of the region’s
2012 Export Profile.
The Dallas Regional Chamber is hosting an event that will explore the various aspects of our export economy as well as this region’s global competitiveness. Thursday’s Economic Outlook Series event features Richard M. Daley, former mayor of Chicago, Bruce Katz, Director of the Brookings Institution Global Cities Initiative, and Maher Maso, Mayor of Frisco and President of the Metroplex Mayors Association . They will lead a discussion on best policy, practices and innovation around the world and why businesses need to be thinking on a global scale.
Still need to save your seat? Register here.
By Tara Vornkahl, Program Coordinator, Economic Development
The Economic Development department at the DRC has been busy! We’ve noticed an upswing in leads and interests from consultants and companies interested in the Dallas area for corporate location, and this year Corporate project leads generated in first quarter 2013 are double than the same quarter in 2012. In addition to this exciting increase in interest, the past month was highlighted by marketing trips to California and New York, a welcome reception celebrating companies and executives who recently joined the Dallas area business community and welcoming a new member to our team.
On the Road Again
The DRC economic development team continues to be focused on outreach to companies and consultants, and has been on the road talking about “Why Dallas.” The Dallas Regional Chamber and five DFW Marketing Team members travelled to Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area at the end of March. During their visit, they met with seven companies interested in learning more about the DFW Region and potential opportunities for investment as well as five consultants whom were updated on the Dallas market. Of those visits, five projects have been initiated. DRC staff also traveled to New York & New Jersey in late April where they had 5 meetings with consultants and companies interested in the Dallas area for corporate location. Upcoming marketing trips and conferences include attending the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors conference (SIOR) and a DRC staff marketing trip to California in May
Corporate Recruitment Campaign
Development is well underway for the corporate recruitment outreach campaign, which will kick off in Q2 2013. The Dallas Regional Chamber has partnered with D Custom to create and implement an outreach campaign that will actively recruit companies to move to or expand in the area in order to boost job and GDP growth and drive the economy. The campaign will include direct mail, email, and custom pieces aimed at gaining company interest in the Dallas market. Continue reading
Guest blog by Demri Henry, The Center for Sales Strategy
- Create a blog and graciously share information that matters to your business and your customers – this means regularly share insight, expertise, real world scenarios and stories that will suck your readers in and keep their attention until the end of the post. Give them information they can use and commit to providing valuable content. Keep it real…no nonsense here.
- Create premium content that your customers will download in exchange for their email address – premium content is valuable information that reinforces your company’s particular expertise. This might make your executive team a bit uncomfortable at first…do it anyway, your customers will need you to collaborate, solve, plan and execute the services and solutions your company delivers. This only reinforces your company’s value and why they need you!
- If you’re charged with business development – showcase your area of expertise by regularly contributing to your company blog, industry blogs, and social media groups like LinkedIn. Contributing means starting a conversation AND joining a conversation. This is not a sales pitch, rather it’s a dialog aimed to share ideas, opinions, expertise and experiences. If you’re an expert, your conversation will spotlight it!
- On your blog’s contact form ask your visitors an important question about their business. Don’t make it a required field to subscribe to your blog or download premium content, some folks might still be sizing you up. Let them and continue to earn your way into a conversation. The ones who answer the question have just identified themselves as a hot lead and potential customer!
- Rapid Response – as soon you receive a request for your opinion, or more information, respond as soon as possible. That means immediately if you’re sitting in front of your computer or have access to your mobile device. The idea here is to catch them while their request is top of mind, and they’re still online receiving emails. As soon as they move on to their next responsibility, your valuable feedback will have to wait in line behind all their other emails, scheduled calls, meetings and regular interruptions. Too much lag time can quickly cool down a hot lead.
- Lead with a valid business reason – if someone is seeking your advice, opinion, expertise, or insight, always write their challenge or question in their exact words in the email subject line. Don’t get chummy with a “hi, hello, or thanks for asking” Get down to business and entice them to open your email with a subject they’ll recognize, and means something to them!
- Introduce, Restate, Answer and Offer – when responding to a request for information or advice, introduce yourself along with your position in the company, restate their challenge or question, briefly answer it and then offer a brief 30-minute conversation to dive a little deeper. No one wants to read a freakishly long e-mail, especially if it’s your first conversation. Long emails risk being placed in a crowded folder until time permits. In some cases (many cases) they’re trashed immediately. If you don’t believe me, think about how you handle freakishly long emails from people you’ve never met!
- Repeat – circle back to step one. Regularly and graciously share your expertise, insight, opinions, and real world experiences to your new prospects, and the masses, through your company blog, social media, and direct email when appropriate. Then follow steps 2 through 8 again and again and again.
Generating quality leads is arguably the most difficult and important step in the sales process.
Inbound Marketing not only provides your sales team with a proven lead generating machine, when done right it also arms your sales team with strong valid business reasons to successfully approach each prospect. These 561 words will generate quality leads for you!
If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to register for the Inbound Marketing Forum next week, led by the Center for Sales Strategy. You can register HERE.
By Trisha Windham, Director, Education & Public Policy
This Saturday, be sure to take a few minutes out of your day to cast your vote in the Dallas ISD Board of Trustee elections. The quality of our local education system and the future of Dallas ISD leadership makes a big impact on the business community, so remember to make your voice heard. as well as the mission of the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Quality education and leadership are fundamental in achieving the mission of the Chamber, and ensuring the Dallas is the most desirable place to live and work in the country. Progress is being made, making it a more crucial time than ever to elect quality leaders to the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees.
Unsure of who to vote for? Check out EducateDallas, a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to promoting quality school board leadership in Dallas, and learn more about the candidates they are endorsing.
By Trisha Windham, Director of Public Policy & Education
You know what’s crazy? Not exercising your right to vote in local elections. Bear with me just a minute and I’ll tell you why.
General elections in November turn out voters. On average, most of these elections end up with about 60 percent of our Dallas registered voters making their voices heard at the polls. Now, don’t get me wrong – these are very important elections and we should have even more of our voters show up for these, too. But when you flip the page and look at local government races, in particular school board races, you’ll find that voter turnout drops into the very low single digits.
So here is what kills me: local government has just as a profound impact on your life as any other form. Local government is in charge of your streets, your sidewalks, our property values, the speed limit on my block, where your favorite restaurant and grocery store can operate, and, most importantly, the education of our children. Your kids, my kids, our neighbors’ kids, the kids down the street – you know, your future neighbors, friends, employees, and local leaders. And yet, sometimes only 2 percent of us learn about candidates and make the time to cast a ballot each spring.
That is CRAZY.
School board trustees are elected in Dallas via single member districts. Of the 9 DISD trustees, three are up for election each May and then they serve a 3- year term, which means they will have at least three years to set the budget for our school district, to hold our superintendent accountable, to establish the vision and goals for our public education system, and to set tax rates within the school district. So, in layman’s terms, they prioritize where your tax dollars go, they ensure that our superintendent is doing best by our kids every day so students can grow into successful, contributing citizens, and our school board members have a major impact on how much you pay in property taxes. In even simpler terms, they make decisions about the two most precious things in most of our lives… our children and our money. So, every single one of us has at least one BIG reason to care, and to care a lot.
Education reform continues to be a widely discussed subject within every level of our government – from our school boards to the President of the United States. We know that great teachers changing lives in our classrooms is the key to success, but we continue to debate how to make that happen. Here at the Chamber, we believe that every level of our district is responsible for moving our district forward, but change has to start at the top first and our leaders must be courageous as they push forward sometimes difficult policy changes in a relentless pursuit to do what’s best for kids. Mayor Rawlings recently said that our ‘moment of truth’ is upon us. We owe it to our kids, at the very least, to put in the effort and go vote in these important races.
By Penny Lynch, Communications Manager for the DRC
This week I would like to introduce you to Tara Vornkahl. Tara is the key ingredient for Dallas Regional Chamber’s Economic Development and Innovation departments. Read on and learn what her team doesn’t know about her.
Why is it Important to be a team player?
Not to be cliché, but two (or three, or four…) heads are better than one. Whenever I am working with a group, which is almost daily at the DRC, I’m pretty much guaranteed to learn something new or in some cases, a more efficient way to do things.
What do you miss most about being a kid?
I really miss having the “I can dig a hole to China” mentality. One summer, I couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7, I was dead set on digging to China…starting in my mom’s garden in the back yard. I am still a very optimistic person to this day and when I want to do something, I make sure that it happens. However, my dreams crashed and burned when I got a geography lesson on where China was.
What do you love most about the Dallas Regional Chamber and why?
Aside all of the great events that we get to be a part of, I just love the general work culture at the Chamber. I feel very blessed, especially being a Midwest transplant that knew no one in Dallas, to be a part of an organization that truly cares for one another. Everyone here has made me feel welcomed and appreciated from day one, and that has truly meant a lot to me. I am challenged every day and I am always learning something new, which is something that is very important to me when working in an organization. AND I have an incredible view of the City of Dallas…and Ft. Worth when it is a clear day.
What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?
It was actually a commercial on KERA. It started off as a man telling a story of how he met the love of his life growing up in Brooklyn (the voice was paired with an animated rendition of the story) and how they grew up, got married, and were always inseparable. The story quickly turned into how he lost his wife in the September 11th attack and how he has had to cope with the loss of her since then. Whenever I hear stories of families of either survivors or people who lost their lives that day it gives me chills and I can’t help but get emotional.
What something your team doesn’t know about you?
One thing that I can think of that I have never mentioned is that I am published in a text book called, Business Research Methods. It’s a chart from a study my senior project group and I did. And no, I did not receive any royalties.
If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?
Oddly enough I have always been fascinated with the Cabrini Green housing authority in Chicago’s North side (most of it is shut down now). Whenever I was in the city when I lived in Illinois I always wanted to go there and take pictures and talk to the residents there and hear their stories. Being a woman and taking a stroll in that neck of the woods while being alone, it would be best if you were immortal.
What is Economic Development and why is it important to the Chamber?
I’m going to do my best to not give a bland text book definition of Economic Development. In my mind, Economic Development could be like an award winning pot of chili (vegetarian chili of course) or mystery meatloaf that you find in a questionable cafeteria. In order for that chili to be award winning and yummy, there has to be just the right amount of ingredients that cohesively work together. In this case those ingredients could be public policy, education, critical infrastructure, business development (retention and expansion), a strong workforce, healthcare, public safety, and of course a regional culture. A successful and sought after region cannot be created if those ingredients do not blend well together. There cannot be a healthy workforce without strong education institutions. There would not be good education, public safety, infrastructure and healthcare without productive individuals in office. And there most certainly would not be a vibrant culture if a good mix of people did not want to live in a particular region. All of this combined (if combined efficiently and effectively) is what can potentially draw in businesses that bring in employment opportunities to a region; thus, developing the economy. No matter which way you look at it, it is all tied together. The Dallas-Fort Worth region has been successful in their economic development efforts because all of the above parts work so well together here.
By Amb (r.) James C. Oberwetter, president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber and Clint McDonnough ,immediate past chairman of the Dallas Regional Chamber
There should be no misunderstanding: the Dallas Regional Chamber stands with Superintendent Miles and for the difficult decisions he is making to improve education throughout Dallas ISD.
When it comes to education, the focus should always be on doing what is best for the 160,000 Dallas ISD students who deserve and seek a quality public education in the community. Superintendent Miles has that focus and continues to put the students first.
Students are coming to Dallas ISD from more challenging circumstances and in greater numbers than ever before. Measurable progress was made before Superintendent Miles arrived, however to continue to move the needle new tactics and strategies are needed. Change is hard and uncomfortable, but necessary if we are to establish a first-class education system.
The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, the superintendent and his senior leadership team have taken a number of courageous steps in the past year. All are aimed at putting the highest quality human capital at work in the Dallas ISD. The difference between schools with effective change oriented leadership, versus those who accept the status quo is the difference between success and abject failure. The outcome of change-minded, accountable principals in every school: raised student achievement.
While the superintendent and his staff must continue to meet with, communicate with and work with community partners, the Dallas ISD needs to take the next difficult steps. They must not be distracted from the task at hand, and continue to implement changes that improve results for students. Those of us at the DRC are confident that Superintendent Miles and his team will continue to use the data available, reviewing what is working locally and nationally, to make solid decisions for our students.