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.