The DRC is working to raise our region’s international profile in order to attract more international companies, flights, and talent in partnership with our regional allies. Sarah Carabias-Rush and Melissa Maguire share about the team behind this important work.
Sarah Carabias-Rush, Senior Vice President – International Engagement
- Tell us about your team and its work for the Dallas Region. My small team covers the world, representing the Dallas Regional Chamber and this dynamic region. We are responsible for raising the Dallas Region’s profile abroad in an effort to:
- attract more U.S. and North American headquarters and other facilities of international firms than other markets around the country;
- attract international talent, helping our businesses in the region grow;
- support new direct, non-stop air service abroad; and
- become known as the best U.S. location for business. As Dallas Mayor Rawlings often says, we are helping “Dallas take its rightful place on the global stage.”
- What do you enjoy most about your work? I love helping a company evaluate its options in a consultative way and ultimately getting the win for the region. I enjoy working with all of our regional partnerships within the economic development arena, and building and creating partnerships abroad to find the win-win. I am an avid traveler, so seeing the world and marketing to bring the world to Dallas is so much fun. Lastly, it’s a joy coming to the office every day to work with fantastic colleagues, members, and partners. I’ve been at the DRC for 15 years; this team is very much like family.
- What is your team’s trajectory for 2019? In 2019, we aim to grow our program in a meaningful way – better engaging our members and investors, and supporting their efforts to raise their own corporate profiles with new sponsorship opportunities. We are leveraging a number of external-facing tools to help us grow our team without adding headcount. We will be in each of our key target markets and aiming to engage with business media, companies, and their site location influencers in those markets. And, we will be putting on a series of events aimed at the local business community interested in international issues such as immigration reform, trade policy, and region or country-specific issues.
- How does your team celebrate a win? We run at a crazy pace – so I try to reward our team with time with their friends and family, celebratory floral arrangements, and special treats from around the world. For the big wins, we’ll open a bottle of champagne and toast with the entire DRC team.
- What is a skill you (or your team) are trying to master? My team and I are always trying to learn something new – Melissa and I are just built that way. Currently, I am trying to work on new place-making marketing strategies, learning new management techniques, how to better parent a rambunctious 3 year old, and touch-up my Spanish language skills. I’ve been trying to learn some French and Japanese this year – it is so hard to learn a new language. Pronunciations are hard to learn as an adult – teach your kids a language early!
- How can someone win a “gold star” with you? For me, it’s all about work ethic, initiative, and attitude. I don’t mind mistakes – but how did you try to fix your mistake? Did you take responsibility for it? Are you always looking toward personal growth? Also, I’ll never turn down a good cup of coffee or tea, a super dark piece of chocolate, or a book/audiobook/podcast suggestion.
Melissa Maguire, Director, International Engagement
What do you enjoy most about your work? I love that every day is different. We often have multiple projects going on at once, each with its own focus, so it keeps my brain stimulated and my mind occupied all day. I also spend a lot of time away from my desk, either traveling to a foreign market or out in the community meeting with members to gain insight into issues affecting their business. I don’t think I could ever work a job that kept me at a desk all day.
- What does your team offer DRC members? We travel a few times per year to target markets, with the goal of recruiting international companies to the region.These trips come with opportunities to travel with us and help tell the story of the Dallas Region’s thriving business community. Of course, not everyone can get away from work for a week or two at a time, so we also offer local opportunities to get involved, such as serving on our International Task Force or attending DRC- or partner-hosted events. International opportunities are usually country-specific, and require a demonstrated knowledge and involvement in those countries of focus, but we welcome input from any DRC members with international experience throughout the year.
- What is your favorite project your team is working on? Our 2019 work plan is pretty aggressive, but I’m particularly excited about hosting quarterly events related to hot topics in international business, such as immigration policy and country-specific trade policy. I have a background in event planning and execution, so I’m excited to use that ability here at the DRC. These quarterly events will offer our members a chance to hear the latest news and viewpoints from policy experts, network with other businesses experiencing the same issues, and engage with relevant DRC departments to help keep their needs and wants top-of-mind for us.
- What is a small thing that makes your day better? I love it when foreign companies visit us and bring us snacks from their home country. In my opinion, the best are Tokyo Bananas from Japan. They’re basically Twinkies made with banana crème filling and banana-flavored spongy dough. They’re sooo good! They also have a sort of cult following in Japan – they’re everywhere in airport gift shops, they have ads all over the public transit system, and they’re even an exclusive flavor of KitKat. (I don’t recommend the Tokyo Banana-flavored KitKats – they’re not the same!)
- What is your favorite way to start the day? I have a pretty solid morning routine that gets me amped for the day. I arrive at the office, grab a coffee from Starbucks downstairs (I’m trying to cut back, I swear), then settle in at my desk to catch up on the news. We get a “News You Need to Know” internal compilation of top headlines each morning, so I usually start by reading those articles before moving to national publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. Everything changes so quickly, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest in economic news, political happenings, and sociocultural trends occurring at the local, national, and international levels.
- What movie or TV show title best describes your team? I’ve admittedly never seen it, but “Lost in Translation” seems pretty apt. We are almost always emailing with people from at least four different countries each week; it’s hard to keep our strings uncrossed and sometimes, yes, things get lost in translation. If we’re going on laugh factor alone, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is also very relevant to us, especially when we’re traveling abroad! You definitely experience the widest range of human emotion when traveling on international business missions. (A little French wine always helps!)