By: Abe Benavides, Associate at Bracewell LLP
The 2016 LEAD YP class reconvened on August 17 for a “Lunch and Learn” event with Virginia Schaefer, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at the Dallas Regional Chamber. After laying the groundwork of how federal, state and local policy interact with one another, Ms. Schaefer discussed how the DRC advocates for public policy on behalf of its members and the wider regional business community. Ms. Schaefer shared her role in working with various governmental bodies to help advance the DRC’s policy priorities.
The LEAD YP class spoke about an array of issues, from transportation funding to healthcare policy, that directly affect DRC members and the economic vitality of the region as a whole. Ms. Schaefer also outlined public policy events hosted by the Chamber, including the biennial “DC Fly-In” to connect Dallas region business leaders with the North Texas congressional delegation, as well as the upcoming 85th Texas Legislative Session Preview with Speaker Joe Straus on September 13.
Ms. Schaefer ended the “Lunch and Learn” by emphasizing the opportunities for young professionals to get involved in the legislative process and policymaking. Noting that younger voters are typically an underrepresented group at the polls, the class discussed the importance of voting, especially in local elections where turnout is low and the impact on daily life is high. Finch Fulton, LEAD YP class member and Account Supervisor at VOX Global, also highlighted a public policy survey he created for DRC Young Professionals, which will be used to help inform the Dallas Regional Chamber’s legislative agenda for the upcoming session.
All YP members are invited to attend the upcoming event, “Unprecedented Presidential Elections: A Look Inside the 2016 Race to the White House,” at the Belo Mansion on September 13th from Noon to 1:30 PM. For more information, contact Cindy Brugge, Manager of Leadership Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Finch Fulton, Account Supervisor, VOX Global
The 2016 LEAD YP class met on May 18 for a panel discussion regarding Relationship Management and Business Development. James Baril, Senior Vice President, VOX Global; Stacey Relton, Director of Business Development, Strait Capital Company, Ltd.; and Henda Salmeron, Broker Associate, Dave Perry-Miller & Associates shared their tips and experiences in cultivating and maintaining professional relationships. Ashley Vander Linde, Regional New Business Manager at Cigna, moderated the lively discussion on behalf of the LEAD YP class. An excerpt of the discussion, edited for space and clarity, follows below:
James Baril (JB): Focus on making relationships that are lasting and authentic. The benefit of my job is that we don’t have to sell every day. You have time to get to actually know the people you work with. The clients often can’t pinpoint the actual challenges they’re facing – you have to actually get to know them to understand their problems. And don’t forget to treat those who aren’t in power with respect. If you work with them over a long enough period of time, you will likely be answering to them one day.
Henda Salmeron (HS): I routinely deal with people that are facing the three most stressful times in their lives: getting divorced, losing their jobs, or losing their homes. I don’t really sell houses – I’m helping them with their challenges. The turning point for me was sitting down and talking through who I like to work with and why. I came to the U.S. from South Africa in the 90’s, so for me, I get the most out of helping people who are immigrants. They put so much trust in me to help them. So, find who you want to work with. You don’t have to work with bullies, no matter how wealthy they are.
Stacey Relton (SR): I agree. You can’t be afraid to say no.
JB: And listen to people. You don’t have to try to be selling products, but you can help your clients find the solutions to their problems. Once you’ve gotten to that point, don’t be afraid to ask people for their business. Let them know you want to work with them on the solutions. Lastly, don’t underestimate yourself. You’ve got to value yourself.
HS: Always be ready to recognize opportunities to help and always follow up with people. Don’t forget the value of handwritten notes. I have made mistakes in the past – not being organized with my contacts in the beginning. I divide my contacts by city and keep my top 25 contacts close.
SR: You can have too many people in your database. You’ve got to clean them out and organize them – into A, B, C categories for example. I also flip the corner of business cards I receive to remember to follow up the next day.
JB: Don’t get caught in quid pro quos. Be more interested in what you can give. If you don’t look for the business, and focus on helping others, the business will come.
HS: Exactly. One of the ways Taylor Swift got big was by promoting and complimenting other musicians on Twitter. The fans of those musicians gave Taylor Swift a chance because of this and became loyal to her, too.
Special thanks to Stacey, James, and Henda for their great insights and to Ashley Vander Linde for moderating the panel.
Find our panelists on LinkedIn:
Stacey Relton, Director of Business Development, Strait Capital Company, Ltd.
James Baril, Senior Vice President, VOX Global
Henda Salmeron, Broker Associate, Dave Perry-Miller & Associates
By: Cindy Brugge, Manager of Leadership Programs
For two weeks, the DRC’s Young Professionals program offered an interesting opportunity to its members. Eight local CEOs hosted conversations about leading a company, being a catalyst for growth, and the top qualities they look for in young leaders. We couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing lineup of CEOs who joined us.
These CEOs come from diverse personal backgrounds, industries, and leadership development experiences. Some lead small organizations that have won national awards, and others oversee very large corporations with many employees. They all shared their own unique perspectives and stories, but we saw a common thread woven throughout many of their messages. Here are five lessons and tips shared through the CEO series:
1. Be confident. We consistently heard, “Have gumption. Believe in yourself. Push through.” One CEO reminded us that even if you fail, you still win. You learn far more from a daring failure than a refusal to step out into the unknown.
“When you walk into a room, have self-confidence – believe that you deserve to be there. BUT also be a giver – believe that you have something to offer others and make every effort to give of yourself to the needs in the room.”
2. Be self-aware. The typical barrier that can arise out of confidence is cockiness. The difference lies between self-deprecation and humility. Own your mistakes and grow from them. Don’t let them define you.
One CEO shared that he could have really benefited from mentorship but as a young person was too hard-headed and couldn’t listen to the advice of others. He said that as he has grown, he has realized how wrong he was and that now he submits to the support of a mentor and an executive coach.
“Leadership is about influence. If you are going to influence others, you have to be relatable. In order to be relatable, you must be more self-aware.”
3. Work Hard. This was the resounding message that ran true for every conversation. CEOs shared their stories of long hours:
“I never want my employees to think that they work harder than their boss. I want to lead by example. Look around at people in the height of their careers. If you want to make it to the top, hard work is the only way to make it there.”
“What separated me from the rest? I was willing to work. I got my first job at 15 and haven’t stopped since then. I just had the drive to keep going.”
“Get there before your boss and team and don’t leave until after they’re gone.”
“If you work 9 to 5, you will have a fine life, but you won’t accomplish the great things you were made for.”
4. Value change. Be first to volunteer for that new project that your boss wants to try. If you’re getting bored, don’t quit; implement fresh ideas and reinvent yourself. One CEO actually encourages his employees to switch departments or move to new countries within the organization as a way to help keep his employees motivated and focused.
“Change is good. Be comfortable with being uncertain.”
5. Treat people with respect. Don’t forget that in order to lead, you must have someone who is willing to follow. Be the facilitator, rather than the dictator. Let someone else speak, and value their opinions.
“My final instructions: Be nicer.”
If this list sounds overwhelming, take heart and listen to the words of Hilltop Securities CEO Bob Peterson: “Any loser you know can be a leader. Everyone is capable. Leadership is a choice… It’s a process… It’s a journey.”
By: Abe Benavides, Public Finance Associate, Bracewell LLP
LEAD YP gathered on April 19 for an early morning seminar regarding time management. Robert Hunt, Owner of Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas, engaged the class in a lively discussion about the habits, techniques, and tools that can be used to prioritize tasks and efficiently manage time. The audience left the seminar with several key takeaways to apply to their professional and personal lives.
“The seminar gave me a lot to think about with my time management habits,” said Tania Foster, Government and Community Affairs Coordinator at Texas Health Resources. “I especially appreciated Robert’s advice to create a ‘To-Don’t’ list, to make active efforts in avoiding actions that impede my time.”
Several class members were struck by Mr. Hunt’s lesson that prioritization and goal-setting are inextricably tied to the purposeful completion of tasks with a goal in mind. Logan Perryman, Financial Reporting Senior at Westwood Holdings Group, noted, “The first step in effective time management is deciding and prioritizing the things that are important to us and that bring us passion.”
Joel Ginsberg, IT System Administrator at Crown Imaging, shared these sentiments, “Robert’s insight that discipline is built after finding your purpose taught me the lesson of ‘swallowing the ugliest frog first’ (doing the hardest task first) and encouraged me to be more proactive in working toward my goals.”
The morning ended with a call to action by Mr. Hunt for the LEAD YP class to lean on each other as resources and to hold one another accountable in implementing their new time management strategies.
The LEAD YP class would like to thank Robert Hunt for sharing his time with the group. Learn more about Robert Hunt and Renaissance Executive Forums at their website.
By: Abe Benavides, Public Finance Associate, Bracewell LLP
Leadership Dallas Alumni and the current LEAD YP class mixed and mingled on March 23 as part of a meet-and-greet session. A key component of the LEAD YP program consists of class members being paired with a mentor from the DRC’s Leadership Dallas program. As a part of the LEAD YP application process, future class members express their professional goals as well as their aspirations regarding a potential mentorship relationship. The meet-and-greet was the first opportunity for mentors and mentees to get together, share stories, and discuss goals for the upcoming year.
The LEAD YPers were also fortunate to participate in a seminar on personal branding, led by Valerie Sokolosky, a leadership development and executive coaching expert with Valerie & Company. Valerie’s “Make your mark, Make it count!” presentation was an invaluable experience for the LEAD YP class to learn from the same curriculum that her corporate executive clients have benefitted from throughout her career. While class members come from a wide array of professional backgrounds, Valerie’s message of personal brand management and professional presence was applicable to the group as a whole.
Throughout the evening, class members were encouraged to share both their personal experiences as well as preconceptions regarding the various components of one’s “brand,” including demeanor, confidence, appearance, and attitude. Valerie also shared her experiences in implementing her strategies across c-suites nationwide.
All YP members are invited to attend the General Membership Meeting on May 17 from 7:30 to 9:00 AM at the Dallas Regional Chamber. For more information, contact Cindy Brugge, Manager of Leadership Programs, at email@example.com.
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