Melissa Maguire, Director, International Engagement
If you check out the #DRCbeyond hashtag on social media, you’ll primarily find documentation of the Dallas Regional Chamber’s outbound international trips to foreign markets. But outbound trips are only half the picture – we frequently and regularly host inbound foreign delegations and companies in the region.
In just this first quarter of 2019, we have hosted inbound visitors from South Africa, Finland, Portugal, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Finland, and Norway. Some of these companies and groups are OK with “going public” about their visit to the region, making a splash in the news or tagging us on social media. Others prefer to keep it confidential, using cryptic project code names (Project Electric Boogaloo, anyone?) and sometimes even refuse to reveal the company name to the DRC.
Companies and delegations that visit the Dallas Region are here for a million different reasons and bring with them a variety of questions and concerns. Inbound groups have asked such specific questions as “What universities in the region offer degrees in water engineering?” and “What is the region doing to be more diverse and inclusive?” On the lighter side, we have also been asked a series of tickling questions that reflect the Dallas Region’s reputation abroad, such as:
- Who inspired the character of J.R. Ewing?
- Answer: Probably any one of the many real-life DFW-based oil magnates.
- Do people ride horses to work?
- Answer: No, unless you count the Fort Worth Stockyards daily cattle drive at 11:30 AM or 4 PM.
- Does everyone own a gun?
- Answer: Texas doesn’t even crack the top 25 for states with highest gun ownership. We rank 30 out of 51, if you count Washington, D.C.
- Isn’t DFW just desert and cactus as far as the eye can see?
- Answer: The small potted cacti at Whole Foods are the only cacti I’ve ever seen in Dallas.
Just as we learn more about the countries we visit, we also learn a lot about our home community when we see it through someone else’s eyes. Inbound international delegations prompt us to dig deeper into our trade relationship and learn more about our shared economic and diplomatic history. The questions they ask nudge us to look into topics and issues in our region that we hadn’t previously considered, particularly industry-specific or social questions such as the above-mentioned diversity and inclusion question. Who knew both Dallas and Fort Worth scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights and Campaign Municipal Equality index in 2017? I didn’t! And I’m a better DRC employee now for having learned that.
When a company passes through town, we get to reach out to DRC member companies across a variety of industries to bring experts to the table. I’m always amazed by how specialized many of their products and services are; I am not an expert on building highways or developing software or treating diseases, but I have gotten to know so many knowledgeable experts in this region who love sharing their knowledge with visitors. I get to end almost every day knowing more than I did when I walked in the door, and that’s the real beauty of the Dallas Region’s business community – we’re constantly learning from each other and sharing what we know. We love a little cooperative competition, or “co-opetition.”
I think #DRCbeyond captures the spirt of co-opetition well. We look beyond the DRC’s walls to learn more about our own community, which in turn makes us better spokespeople for the 200+ cities that make up this great region. We get to think beyond statistics and seek expertise from our partners who simply know more than we do about their field. Above all, we get to spend time in the business community learning about what economic forces drive our member companies to succeed. All of this knowledge allows us to be the best DRC we can be and provide quality service to our members.
Regardless of where and how you go beyond, the DRC wants to go there with you. Inbound companies and individuals are always looking for ways to learn about the business community from the business community. We would love to work together with you to host meetings in your offices, giving you the opportunity to present your business to visiting companies.
Member companies who are interested in going beyond with us should reach out to Sarah Carabias-Rush, SVP International Engagement, to discuss ways to maximize membership through inbound delegation hosting.
Webinar: What Brexit Means for U.S. Cross-Border Business
Thursday, March 21, 2019 | 11AM-12PM
Hosted by Santander Corporate & Investment Bank U.K.
Eight Years Later: Lessons Learned from the 2011 Triple Disaster and the Way Forward
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | 6PM-7:30PM
University of Texas at Dallas
Hosted by the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth.
DRC Member Happy Hour
Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 5:30PM-7:30PM
Corrientes 348 Argentinian Steakhouse
Hosted by the DRC. For members only.
EuroTech Talks: GDPR
Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 6PM-8PM
Bottle Rocket Studios
Hosted by the French American Chamber of Commerce of DFW, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., and the Finnish American Business Guild.
Global Perspectives with Mike Leavitt
Thursday, April 4, 2019 | 5:30PM-7PM
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.