by Mike Siegel, Texas Care Alliance
On November 9, YP descended upon City Hall to gain a better understanding of how our local government works. Timing the visit to within 36 hours of passing a $1.025 billion city bond seemed to be an excellent strategy as each department was eager to host us and discuss their key initiatives.
Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates greeted our group and provided background on herself and our city government. She also discussed the growing economy in Dallas and the associated demographic shifts that are occurring. Council Member Gates concluded by highlighting the challenges of representing a diverse constituency with diverging opinions on future plans for District 13.
We proceeded to observe a City Plan Commission meeting, which primarily discussed requests for zoning changes or new business permits throughout Dallas. Thanks to our host for the day, YPer David Nevarez, we even got a shout-out from the Chair of the Commission at the start of the proceedings. With small business owners and local residents in attendance to plead their cases, it was exciting and encouraging to see local democracy in action. The key takeaways: there are more bars coming to Deep Ellum, and don’t try to open a bail bonds service in a residential neighborhood.
We then had the privilege to meet the staff who works with the plan Commissioners. They shared their perspective on the Plan Commission’s accomplishments, such as widening sidewalks to help make Lower Greenville more pedestrian friendly and the destination it is today. The team also discussed its “Neighborhood Plus” program to help revitalize parts of south and east Dallas.
Our group met briefly with Parks & Recreation and was excited to hear the plans to connect the 50+ miles of trails in metropolitan Dallas, as well as the long-awaited Oak Cliff deck park adjacent to the Dallas Zoo.
We then headed down to the basement of City Hall, which is apparently the safest place to be in the event of apocalypse, to see the 311 and 911 centers in action. While much of the publicized staffing shortages of last year have been alleviated, it was no less impressive to observe the staff handle such difficult calls on a routine basis.
We wrapped up our day with a stop at the Transportation Management Center. The team demonstrated its power to adjust traffic signals to better control flow and showed us the feeds of the cameras they have observing traffic patterns throughout the city. If you want a quicker commute, talk to these guys.
For more photos of our day, please click here.
by Amie Kromis, Skanska
The LEAD YP class was honored to have Tony Bridwell, an industry trailblazer with nearly three decades of executive leadership experience, speak about leadership as well as his new book, The Newsmaker: A Leadership Story of Honor and Love.
Fun fact: the book is designed to be a three-hour read, perfect for a flight from Dallas to New York.
Bridwell outlined how we each have the power to create significant or adverse experiences based on our reactions and decisions. While researching his book, Bridwell realized he needed an understanding of what love looks like from a leadership standpoint. He wanted his characters to explore love and leadership and the controversy that usually results when they’re combined.
It’s estimated adults make more than 35,000 daily decisions, consciously and unconsciously. Through those decisions and experiences, we form biases that influence our values and beliefs. Essentially, how we think determines and drives behavior. However, if an outcome isn’t working, we always want to change the behavior when we should instead change our thinking or bias. We often don’t think, we just do. Bridwell challenged the LEAD YP class to identify our biases in order to shape our perspectives.
Just as Bridwell challenged us to review our thought patterns to change an outcome, I want to challenge you to do the same and lead from love. Whether that’s gaining more empathy or becoming more vulnerable, do something to move your leadership experience from adverse effects to significant impacts.
by Jonathan Reale, BKD LLP
The 2017 LEAD YP August program featured several breakout sessions with guest speakers specializing in parks and recreation, education, and transportation. In each of these segments, LEAD YP participants had the opportunity to engage in conversation on pressing matters pertaining to each focus area.
The education breakout session was led by Kim Caston (Richardson ISD, Board of Trustees) and Liz Morse (Richardson ISD, Director of Government Affairs). LEAD YP participants were briefed on the current state of affairs within the education sector, which include the challenges the industry is facing and how those challenges impact education on a local and national level. Caston explained one of the challenges she faces locally is getting the voters in the state legislature to emphasize equity and not equality, meaning not all school districts (and their demographics) should be “painted the same color.” She illustrated intriguing statistics surrounding the education sector within the state of Texas, which included the following:
Morse noted that despite the continually rising property tax levels in the Dallas Region, school districts are receiving less funding as a result of the current state legislation and tier funding structure. As a result, schools have to dip into their general funds (i.e., savings) to pay their teachers appropriately and run the day-to-day operations. Morse advised LEAD YP contact their local or state representatives and speak out on education funding.
Parks & Recreation
Jesse Moreno (Parks & Recreation Board, City of Dallas, Council District 2) keynoted the parks and recreation breakout session. In this session, the LEAD YP class learned about a few of the city’s new initiatives, current challenges of the department, and the process of issuing a municipal bond. Moreno started the discussion by detailing some of the department’s current initiatives and upcoming plans, which include increasing the safety at all city parks through the “Dallas Park Rangers” program as well as the opening of three new parks in downtown Dallas. He further elaborated the importance of the parks and recreation department along with the economic benefits it provides, including a 1:7 rate of return on investment (for every $1 invested, the city sees a $7 return on that investment) on city parks. Moreno also described the current challenge of getting sufficient state funding to ensure the department can complete maintenance and provide safety at each of the city parks.
LEAD YP heard a transportation update from Jaynie Schulz (Urban Design Advisory Committee, City of Dallas, Commissioner/Committee Chair), obtaining a brief overview on the process of zoning and the ways it can be modified, in addition to some of the department’s current initiatives. Schulz explained that the key to successful zoning is trust and strong relationships between the city and its community. Participants asked questions regarding current zoning changes within different communities in downtown Dallas and how those changes are approved and regulated.
by Sara M. Davis, Oakwood Worldwide
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone
across the waters to create many ripples” – Mother Teresa
This year, the YP Service Committee created additional opportunities for our YPers to roll up their sleeves, have some fun and connect with other members all while serving our great city of Dallas and those who reside here. Over the course of three events, we’ve had more than 60 young professionals wake up extra early on Saturday morning to volunteer their time.
Just a quick recap:
August 12th at Trinity River Audubon
There’s no doubt it was a hot one, but with more than 20 volunteers on hand, we had a great time picking weeds, laying gravel and cleaning up the butterfly garden at the Trinity River Audubon Center, located just south of downtown Dallas. If you haven’t visited this hidden gem, we highly recommend you take a trip to explore its 120 acres of nature.
July 29th at North Texas Food Bank
Teaming up with Leadership Dallas Alumni (LDA), we had 50 volunteers turn out to donate their time at the North Texas Food Bank. The team spent the morning networking and sorting peaches and plums. In just a few short hours, we created 1,068 sacks of fresh fruit that will provide more than 3,000 meals.
April 8th at Bonton Farms
The weather could not have been more perfect for a day at Bonton Farms, our first service event of 2017. Our YPers jumped right in, wrangling chickens, torching weeds (yes, Calvin used a blow torch) and Julio actually got into the chicken coop.
Last but not least, we are thrilled to feature a service component at the highly anticipated 4th Annual YP Summit. We are proud to partner with the North Texas Food Bank for a friendly competition among the four YP committees. Our goal is to more than 1,000 canned food items, which will provide roughly 500 meals to those in need. The North Texas Food Bank is a nonprofit relief organization that provides access to more than 190,000 meals each day for hungry children, seniors and families through a network of more than 1,000 programs and 200 partner agencies in a 13-county service area.
Whether it’s one hour of service in your community or one donated can, our ripple casts out further than the eye can see! Please stay on the lookout for upcoming service opportunities in our bimonthly newsletter!
by Zachary Jones, Gardere
The May session of the 2017 LEAD YP program featured a group activity and a panel discussion on negotiation.
YP LEAD candidate Luis Herrera opened by heading a negotiation exercise. Each class member received two dollar bills and a set of secret negotiation instructions that dictated the member’s negotiation style. Class members then paired up to negotiate with one another over the dollars, with the goal collect as much money as possible. After the first round, class members found a different partner to renegotiate. The group discussed the results and negotiation tactics. Regardless of any one person’s negotiation style, everyone agreed that the second round was easier because of the preparation and experience obtained in the first round. This exercise demonstrated preparation and planning are often the most important part of a successful negotiation.
After a sponsored lunch by Tropical Smoothie Café, the class enjoyed a panel discussion on negotiation.
The panel, comprised of three lawyers and a lobbyist, provided insight from the point of view of a negotiator who had to fully consider and understand a client’s goals and expectations prior to undertaking a negotiation. Understanding these elements, and general preparation, was among the main strategy the panelists identified as the starting point for having a successful negotiation. Additional key strategies included: effective communication, speaking from one point-of-contact, and patience with the other side and the process in general.
With respect to overall negotiation strategy, the panel members generally discarded the concept that a negotiation is always a march to the middle. Negotiation strategy should depend on the facts of the situation, the subject matter, and the parties’ positions. These elements similarly apply when determining whether a negotiation was a success. The panel noted that when considering whether a negotiation is a success, keep in mind that a deal can’t be “too good” or “too bad” for one side, or the deal won’t get done, and thus parties should expect to give up something during the process.
The panel members then described their “deals gone bad,” providing the following takeaways to avoid similar fates:
• Don’t fail to understand the other side’s priorities;
• Don’t lose credibility with the other side;
• Don’t fail to do due diligence or do the extra work; and
• Don’t fail to prepare.
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