What do you want people to know about you?
I have an unbelievable history … from teaching eighth-graders to running the Colleyville Chamber of Commerce nearly 30 years ago to running the Arts Council over at the Bedford Boys Ranch [Park] to working for a state [representative], to working for the town of Westlake and doing the marketing for the town, and the Westlake Academy Foundation and running it, then going to Westlake [Independent School District] and running their foundation and then working for county Commissioner Gary Fickes as his chief of staff for nine and a half years. ... I’ve been over at Tarrant County College-Northeast campus, working there as their coordinator of events and community relations for about a year and half, and then there were changes there. So then I started thinking, ‘What do I want to do next?’ And then this [position at the chamber] came up. ... And I decided I could do this. This would be a great way to work with an organization from the concept of helping to rebuild, helping to grow, helping to serve, more than expecting anything for myself.
You’re not afraid of change?
No. Yes, it’s scary, but you learn to adapt over the years. Because after awhile you get to a stage that you look at things and you start going, ‘You know this really isn’t for me anymore; I need to step out, or I need to do something different.’ It’s like when I was working down in Austin for a state rep; it was like, ‘I’m ready to go home, I’m ready to come back up here.’ So that was more or less the reason I started looking to try to come back up here and do something. … Everything I’ve done, I wouldn’t trade any of it, because it has all educated me, and taught me many things that I’ve been able to carry forward and share with others and use in an environment. It’s given me information that I’ve been able to call on. … I love to connect people. I love being able to say, ‘So you’re looking for something? What would you like to find? Oh, well why don’t you come over here; I want you to meet so and so.’ It’s things like that; it’s very important to me, as I’ve learned about myself over the years and all the different types of jobs I’ve had.
What experience do you have that will help you with this position?
I’ve learned about relationships and listening and … not having the fear to step out and do what needs to be done. I don’t know if it’s fear. It’s sort of reviewing and then going, ‘OK, well it would be great to look at some changes along the way.’ So maybe it goes back to the initial question, am I afraid of change, and no I’m not. It’s not being afraid to do what needs to be done by working and listening to people and hearing what they’re saying.
What do you foresee as some challenges in your new position?
I don’t think I look at it as challenges; I think I look at it as opportunities. I think I look at it as there are all kinds of possibilities that could happen here. ... The opportunities are going to come in membership, people respecting and believing in the chamber. What I am loving seeing right now is the partnership between the chamber and the city. Where we are right now is amazing, and I said it to Jerry Ducay, the city manager, the other day and the board, with all this construction on [SH] 26, we as a chamber need to be helping these businesses whether they are members or not. We need to work with the city on how can we help them keep their doors open? What can we promote to get people to go and help them encourage chamber members, encourage citizens, encourage anyone to go in and do business with these businesses on [SH] 26? There are definite obstacles, but I know Grapevine and the Northeast chamber and the H-E-B chamber have all been through this because of the big highways. But here you’ve got this road going through the middle of town, and it’s really hard. We need to be in this together to really support these businesses, and the city’s come up with some really good ideas and we need to help them share that. Because yes, we do have members on [SH] 26, and we would love more, but we have to know that the people have to get through this time frame. ... It just becomes a partnership.
What goals would you like the chamber to accomplish?
It would be great to definitely see our membership grow again. If we’re really reaching for the stars it would be great to see it double. I’m not going to go there yet. … I’m going to shoot low so when we shoot past it, it sounds even better. ... But I really applaud this board of directors. They have taken this on with the intent of keeping the doors open. They have taken on having to sell a building, find someplace to go, create events, hire a new president, and they’ve done it. They’ve done a great job.