Small Business Saturday – Share Your Photo to Win!

 

Small Business Saturday

Together with American Express, the Plano Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us in uniting communities and supporting your favorite local retailers on Small Business Saturday and year-round. Did you know that over 99% of the businesses across the state of Texas are small businesses? This is all the more reason to patronize these establishments, because when small businesses succeed, we all do.

As we gear-up to celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 25, we want to hear from our Plano Chamber MVPs – our members!

Do you have that favorite local hot spot that is your “go-to” for a unique experience? And on a fun note, would you like to win a $50 gift card? Then join us in supporting our community by not only saying that you shop small, but showing that you shop small. Keep reading to find out how to spread the Plano love!

Please share your photos on social media, using the hashtag #LovePlano #ShopSmall. These photos may be featured as a finalist and win a $50 gift card!

Follow these steps for the perfect #LovePlano #ShopSmall photo:

  • Pick it up! The #LovePlano Cutout that is! #LovePlano Cutouts will be available at the Plano Chamber Business Center – don’t forget to get one. *Friendly reminder that our offices are closed Thursday, 11/23 – Friday, 11/24 for the holiday.
  • Make it creative! Showcase your favorite small business by featuring their storefront, interior, or even their logo in your #LovePlano Cutout. Take it near or from afar, take it as a selfie or with other shoppers…just make it unique and fun!
  • Share it! Upload your photo to Facebook (make sure to make your post public, so we can see it), tag the Plano Chamber’s Facebook page, and be sure to use #LovePlano #ShopSmall. The deadline to post your photo is Sunday, November 26, so post early or miss your chance to win!
  • Vote! The top 4 finalists will be selected and announced on Monday, November 27. Encourage your friends to vote for your photo before the contest ends at 5 PM on Tuesday, November 28.

Have questions? Please reach out to Tracy Bartholomew, Director of Membership Development.

Share Your Video! #PlanoChamberMyChamber

PlanoChamberMyChamber Blog Banner

The Plano Chamber of Commerce is excited to join Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives (TCCE) and chambers statewide in celebrating Texas Chamber of Commerce Week, which runs Monday, October 16 through Friday, October 20.

This week celebrates the often unseen work of local chambers of commerce, outside of networking events and ribbon cuttings. As we celebrate this week, we want to hear from our organization’s MVPs – our members!

How has the Plano Chamber impacted your business? Have you sharpened your professional skills at our educational seminars? Do you attend Public Policy Committee meetings to stay up-to-date on important legislation affecting business? Did the Plano Chamber connect you with a big client or job? Keep reading to find out how to share your story!

Please share your brief testimonial video on social media, using the hashtag #PlanoChamberMyChamber. These brief videos (15-30 seconds, suggested time) may be re-posted to our social media and possibly featured at an upcoming Chamber event.

Follow these steps for the perfect #PlanoChamberMyChamber video:

  • Introduce yourself! Let us know your name and your company name, if you’d like.
  • Keep it simple. Start by stating “My Chamber is ____.”
    • For example: My Chamber is strong. My Chamber is vibrant. My Chamber is diverse. My Chamber is my connection to the business community.
  • Make it personal! In 1-3 sentences, share how the Plano Chamber has helped your business, why you choose membership with the Chamber, how many years you’ve been a member, etc.
  • Wrap it up! Please end your video by stating, “That’s why the Plano Chamber is my chamber.”
  • Share it! Upload your video to Facebook (make sure to make your post public, so we can see it), tag the Plano Chamber’s Facebook page, and be sure to use #PlanoChamberMyChamber.

Have questions? Please reach out to Katie Gimenez, Director of Marketing and Communications.

WELCOME NEW SEPTEMBER 2017 MEMBERS!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 22 new business members in the month of September. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the link below.

Membership Thank You

Chen Malin LLP
Connect Hearing
Dan Greer – Merrill Lynch
DK Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration
Express Weight Loss Clinic
Functional Health Centers Plano
Imagecare Dental Group
LGS-Crestcom
M Wilcox Design
Make Your Mark Studios
Martin Commercial Roofing
Mirora Translations US LCC 
Nielsen’s Painting and Remodeling 
Novara Solutions, Inc*
Ovation Health & Life Services, Inc
Proforma Green Marketing
Scooter’s Coffee
Sunrise Funds Network
The Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club
Tree House*
USA Mobile Drug Testing – Plano
Vote Brian Chaput

Are you interested in learning more about the Plano Chamber of Commerce and what your business can gain from joining the Plano Chamber? CLICK HERE for information about member benefits, services, and programs or contact Tracy Bartholomew, Director of Membership Development, at tracyb@planochamber.org.

Don’t forget to visit the Plano Chamber Business Directory the next time you are looking for products, services, or a fun night out with friends! Remember to support local businesses and Shop Plano First.

WELCOME NEW AUGUST 2017 MEMBERS!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 26 new business members in the month of August. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the link below.

Membership Thank You

A Box Financial 
A+ Insurance Services
ActionCoach DFW
AFLAC – Bill Cunningham
Amanda Rider: Freelance Writer and Editor
B2B CFO
Blue Goose Cantina / Aw Shucks
BrightStar Care of Plano
Brown & Brown Insurance*
Crayola Experience Plano
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Inc.*
Dallas Nursing Institute
Dogtopia of Plano
Groggy Dog
Heights Venture Architects, LLP
LegalShield
Managing to Excellence Corp.
McKinley Home Maintenance
Metro One Loss Prevention Group Inc.*
Red Door Escape Room – Plano
Restore Cryotherapy Centers Southwest, LLC
The Glass Guru of Plano
The Mansions at Spring Creek 
Tommy Bahama
TransOcean Tourist LLC
Wing Daddy’s Sauce House

Are you interested in learning more about the Plano Chamber of Commerce and what your business can gain from joining the Plano Chamber? CLICK HERE for information about member benefits, services, and programs or contact Tracy Bartholomew, Director of Membership Development, at tracyb@planochamber.org.

Don’t forget to visit the Plano Chamber Business Directory the next time you are looking for products, services, or a fun night out with friends! Remember to support local businesses and Shop Plano First.

Taking Care of Business: An Intern Blog – Issue 3

As my internship at the Plano Chamber comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on the highlights and takeaways of what I experienced. Every time I walked through the glass doors of the Chamber, I was offered an opportunity to learn more about Plano’s businesses along with proper etiquette and professional workplace expectations. Events such as Business Interchange and Public Policy allowed me to meet the faces behind the local businesses where I shop and the movers and shakers of my city. Meeting the diverse Chamber members was definitely one of the best parts of my internship.

At the beginning of the summer, I had a pretty basic idea of what “business” meant, but over time my definition has transformed to become more detailed and in-depth. From what I have experienced, the business world is methodical with planning, impactful on its community, and purposeful with its constant innovation.

Not a lot of high schoolers can say that they spent their summer interning at their local Chamber of Commerce, which so happens to be one of the top Chambers in the nation. The people I met and all that I have learned will stay with me as I venture on into the next journey of my life: senior year of high school (dun dun duuun!).

Thank you to Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, Ms. Vicki Wait, Ms. Allison Venuto, and everyone at the Plano Mayor’s Program for granting high schoolers the possibility to not only develop the workforce skill-set they need for the future, but the opportunity to learn more about the City of Excellence. In addition, I could have easily been sitting at home on my computer this summer, but Cigna’s generous intern sponsorship made the transformation of my laptop to a cubicle possible.

Last, but not least, a big thank you to the Chamber staff for allowing a curious high schooler to attend their programs and work on meaningful projects. I can’t wait to apply all that I have learned towards my future goals.

The Chamber Staff with Extern Alice Micheal and Intern Supriya Anand
The Chamber Staff with Extern Alice Micheal and Intern Supriya Anand (Photo by Misty Hoyt)

 

Thank You Donuts!
Thank You Donuts!

 

Taking Care of Business: An Intern Blog – Issue 2

As an outsider looking in, the business world seems vast. There are so many components to consider when getting involved a company. As a young adult in the 21st century, where do I start? These past few weeks at the Plano Chamber have guided me to an answer: Education. I’ve seen that taking a back seat and learning as much as I can about the business world before I start will help maximize my success in the future.

I haven’t even graduated high school yet, and I’ve met local Plano business owners, shared my viewpoint on the millennial generation within the workforce, and learned tips and tricks on marketing a small business thanks to attending the programs that the Plano Chamber offers. Each program varies in size, purpose, and audience, thus accommodating to diverse needs of Plano’s business population. These three factors varied at two events I recently attended, the Plano Culture and Inclusion Alliance Meeting and the Plano First Luncheon.

The Plano Culture and Inclusion Alliance consists of invited professionals in the Plano business community congregate to share thoughts and ideas about diversity and inclusion practices in their companies. This event usually has 15 to 30 attendees along with a healthy lunch. PCIA is hosted at and sponsored by Cigna. A few days before the June 20th meeting, I got a sneak peek of who was attending through preparing the attendees’ table name tents.

Organizing the name tags for Plano Culture Inclusion and Alliance Group Meeting.
My own table name tent for the June 20th Plano Culture Inclusion and Alliance Group meeting

When I was first informed that the Cigna building was located at Dallas Pkwy. and West Plano Pkwy., all I could think of was: Isn’t there just a plot of grass there? I later discovered that yes, while there was a plot of grass in the area, there were also large corporate buildings at this intersection. I realized that I tend to disregard buildings like these because they don’t play a role in my daily life. I mean, they’re just regular offices, right? This preconceived belief of mine was shattered as I entered the Cigna building through its glass doors. The interior was modern and lively, and there were all types of people interacting, not just the corporate archetype I had constructed in my head.

Katie Gimenez, the Programs and Communications Director, and I were given our visitor badges at the front desk and then headed down a hallway towards a meeting room. Inside, the room was set up in a classroom style, with tables set up in lines that were facing the front of the room. During the lingering minutes before the start of the program, I grabbed a plate with a turkey sandwich and honey mustard, a light pasta salad, and a fresh sugar cookie. After a quick bite, I made my way up to the front of the room along with college interns Sai Pasikanti of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and Daniel Smith of Ericsson.

Let me back up a few steps. What were three millennials doing at the front of the room of curious business professionals? Sai, Daniel, and I were about to participate on an Intern Panel in order to provide insight and answer questions on our views of our generation within the workforce.

As I was walking up to the front of the room, a question popped in my head like bubblegum: Was the entire future of Plano millennials on our shoulders?!?! To answer my melodramatic question: no. The millennial generation is constantly evolving with the modern times, meaning that companies will have to consider much more factors than what we would discuss to accommodate this broad age group. Additionally, millennials even have branches, like my generation, Generation Z (born 1995-present).

Intern Panel- Supriya
(Left to Right) Supriya Anand, Sai Pasikanti, and Daniel Smith listen to a question being asked.

We were asked basic questions about ourselves first, like what we did at our organizations and how we planned to apply what we learned towards our future careers. With Sai and Daniel entering their senior year of college next year, it was a little daunting to hear how confident they were about their “future career” answers. My answer to what I wanted to do in the future was an entire field of study, pretty vague overall. Nevertheless, I still have time to figure my future out.

After these questions, the floor was open for the professionals to ask us their own questions, which revolved around our ideal work environment and key issues companies represented. My response to these questions was that I would want to work in a company that is dynamic and integrates modern technology with their field. In addition, growing up in a time period with social media and change, I can easily become aware what a company’s standpoint is on an issue thanks to the internet. Personally, a company’s stance on an issue can correspondingly put them in a positive or negative light in my opinion.

Lastly, we heard speakers Christina Flores of Capital One and Toni Howard Lowe of USAA present their company’s approach towards the topic of “The Impact of Changing Demographics in Plano.” Hearing the “behind-the-scenes” logistics from the presentations definitely broadened my viewpoint on the social standards a company has to consider for their employees.

The next major event I attended was the Plano First Quarterly Luncheon, which is an informational session that has business-to-business networking and a high-profile speaker with an attendance that can exceed 300! The speaker for this particular luncheon was the U.S. President of Merchant Services of JPMorgan Chase, Kim Fitzsimmons.

The preparation for this event was much more intensive than the Plano Culture and Inclusion Alliance. With over 200 guests registered, all hands were on deck at the Chamber. Name tags had to be stuffed, flyers had to be printed, and the attendees had to be entered into Chamber Master. Registration was even occurring the day before the event.

Before I knew it, my Outlook calendar was bolded under June 29th , the day of the luncheon. It was go time. After many weeks of hard work, the success of the event would come down to just a few hours. The Chamber staff and I collected all essential equipment and we made our way down to the Marriott Dallas/Plano at Legacy Town Center hours before to prepare for what was to come.

Everyone was given assignments to ensure the event would flow smoothly. The Chamber’s teacher extern, Alice Michael, and I worked on placing Best of Plano cards, question note-cards with a pen, and a Plano First table tent at every table. The remaining Chamber staff met with the Marriott staff to make any last minute necessary changes or to set up the registration table.

The calm before the storm: The tables are set, and all that's left is the attendees!
The calm before the storm: The tables are set, and all that’s left are the attendees!

I helped with registration at the start of the event, which consisted of greeting the attendees and assisting them with finding their nametag in the sea of plastic holders. It may seem small, but it was rewarding to see how the hours of work at the Chamber translated to the event; in this case it was seeing people pick up the nametags that I had put together.

Once they were seated, the attendees were given a three course meal. The courses consisted of watermelon and feta salad with tangy vinaigrette, seasoned chicken breast with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables, and (my personal favorite) light and delectable strawberry shortcake. After lunch, Kim Fitzsimmons gave a presentation on technology and JPMorgan Chase’s role and challenges. Overall, she was an effective speaker that brought valuable insight to the audience at this luncheon.

The Board of Director's Table + Food
The Board of Director’s Table + Food

To end my second blog, I just wanted to state that just by attending these two events, I have gained experience in and learned a lot about time management, event planning, networking, and Plano’s businesses. With a Chamber that organizes events like these, I can definitely see why companies of all sizes and types would want to come to Plano. 🙂

 

Thank you to the Plano Mayor’s Internship Program and a sponsorship by Cigna for granting me the opportunity to become a Special Projects Intern at the Plano Chamber of Commerce. I’m excited for what this summer has in store for me!

Taking Care of Business: An Intern Blog

Hello! My name is Supriya Anand and I am a Special Projects Intern at the Plano Chamber of Commerce for the summer of 2017. As an incoming senior at Plano West High School, I was granted this opportunity through the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program. I want to thank Cigna for sponsoring my participation in this unique program.  I will be writing an Intern blog throughout this summer to share my experiences and thoughts while in this unique position.

When I’m not interning at the Plano Chamber, you can find me working on my latest creative writing project, listening to David Bowie, The Cure, or other 80’s pop music icons, and bending a soccer ball like Beckham.

Fun Fact: I recently created a documentary revolving around individualism and the American dream within a local Plano theater, Rover Dramawerks, who are also Plano Chamber members.

I am currently interested in pursuing either Neuroscience or Management Information Systems after high school. I also want to learn more about the logistics behind starting and growing a business, in order to apply the knowledge towards opening my own company in the future.

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In March, I decided to research how I could get involved with a small business this summer and stumbled upon the Plano Mayor’s Internship Program online. Started in 2014 by Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, the Plano Mayor’s Internship Program provides sophomores and juniors in Plano high schools the opportunity of a summer internship with the purpose of building skills for the future workforce. Over 60 non-profits, small businesses, and large companies in the Plano area such as Minnie’s Food Bank, Ericsson, and Toyota of Plano participate in the program. Over 350 students applied, and only around 100 students were accepted… including me!

Plano_Mayors_Summer_Internship-1024x682
(From Left to Right) Paul Littlejohn of Capital One, Garrett Shipman of Alliance Data, and Mayor Harry LaRosiliere stand in front of the 300+ prospective interns, ready for Summer 2017!

Ecstatic would be an understatement of how I felt when I found out I had gained the opportunity to work in the Plano Chamber of Commerce. What makes an internship at the Chamber unique compared to other internships is that it would expose me to various industries of different sizes in Plano instead of one business. While I know that Plano’s business landscape is diverse and booming, I want to learn how local businesses became successful and what was required to maintain that success. I can apply the information I will learn from attending Chamber events, shadowing various employees, and meeting various Plano business executives towards determining what role I would like to take on in the future business world.

Now that I had the internship, there was something else I had to address: clothes. I had never really worried about what to wear in the past, but this internship required me to step my daily attire of “blue jeans and a shirt” up a notch. Would I need to wear a dress every day? With high heels? I decided to push my indecisive thoughts away and settled on black dress pants with a long-sleeved crème blouse for my first day. The outfit ended up being just right for the Plano Chamber, and I was relieved that I was off to a good start.

On June 12th at 8:25 a.m., I made my way up the winding staircase to the second floor of the Legacy Building for my first day at the Plano Chamber of Commerce. I was nervous because this was the first time I would be working in a professional environment, but elated nonetheless.

The first section of the day consisted of meeting with Jamee Jolly, the CEO and President of the Commerce. She led the new Member Services and Business Center Coordinator, Judy Webster, Plano ISD extern, Alice Michael, and I through orientation and a tour. What caught my attention during the tour was how modern the front desk, business center, and meeting rooms were. I was unsure of what to expect of the Chamber’s environment, and I was definitely impressed. At the end of the tour, I was introduced to my very own cubicle! Overall, I felt extremely comfortable in the Chamber’s work environment.

(From left to right) Alice Michael, Judy Webster, and Supriya Anand ready to take on business at the Plano Chamber!
(From left to right) Alice Michael, Judy Webster, and Supriya Anand ready to take on business at the Plano Chamber!

The rest of the day consisted of lunch at Lita’s La Mexicana Restaurant, training, and introductions to the staff. I learned more about everyone’s area of expertise, such as: Membership Retention, Project Management, and Communications. I noticed that each area required strong computer skills, so I was pleased to know that I could apply what I already knew with various Microsoft programs in the internship and learn more about other programs that are used in a professional environment.

On the second day of the internship, I had the exciting opportunity to have lunch with the past three Special Projects Interns at the Chamber, Karolina Pazdrazdis (2014),  Nick Hughes (2015), and Maria Martinez (2016).  While the past interns came from different backgrounds and ended up at universities all over the country, all of them exhibited passion and drive. The past interns offered me valuable advice on the internship, my senior year of high school, and college.

After two spring rolls and a bowl of fried rice, I learned that it was important to create a LinkedIn profile in order to connect with other Chamber members, to maintain a journal about what I learn and accomplish, and to get ready to become independent once college starts. In addition, I learned that the Chamber had moved to a more centrally located building in August 2016, so I was the first intern at the new location. In general, I found the lunch informative and reassuring that I was in for an exciting summer. I’m looking forward to next year’s Intern lunch and am already brainstorming of advice to give to the 2018 Intern.

All of the Plano Chamber Interns reunited!
All of the Plano Chamber Interns reunited!

Overall, the first few days of the internship were quite enlightening. I learned how interconnected Plano’s businesses were, even beyond their own field. I attended staff meetings and witnessed collaboration channeled towards projects that were outside of my personal realm, a school classroom. Business etiquette is one skill I’m taking in as I go and hope to improve by the end of the summer. I’ve already experienced so much, and am ready to learn from and engage with Plano Chamber Members this summer.

Another day at the office at my cubicle! This day I was analyzing the previous Plano Community Guides so I could brainstorm some ideas for the 2018 Guide.
Another day at the office at my cubicle! This particular day I was analyzing the previous Plano Community Guides so I could brainstorm some ideas for the 2018 Guide.

Thank you to the Plano Mayor’s Internship Program and a sponsorship by Cigna for granting me the opportunity to become a Special Projects Intern at the Plano Chamber of Commerce. I’m excited for what this summer has in store for me!

#TBT: 70 Years of Excellence – A Look Back

 

Happy Throwback Thursday (#TBT)!

Beehives, bell bottoms, and even Barney – this video, which premiered at our 2016 Annual Meeting, has it all! Take a trip down memory lane with some highlights from the Plano Chamber’s 70 years of excellence, including cameos by Willie Nelson and Alan Thicke, as well as throwback photos of some familiar Plano Chamber faces.

Thanks to our friends at Toyota North America for their support in creating this video.

Speaker Spotlight: Jim Falk

 

Jim Falk - SM
Jim Falk – President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

Jim Falk isn’t just one of DFW’s busiest guys, he’s also one of the most interesting.

In his role as President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth (WACDFW, for short), Jim leads his team in presenting around 100 events (primarily focusing on the international aspects of business, politics, culture and foreign policy) annually to the organization’s 4,000 members.

WACDFW event speakers have included Texas politicians such as the Honorable Rick Perry and Senator Ted Cruz, Ambassadors of countries including Russia, Kenya, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates, and even His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

When he’s not leading his team at WACDFW, Jim hosts the “Global I.Q. Minute with Jim Falk” podcast, serves as the state of Texas’ Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Morocco, and can often be spotted around Dallas riding his Vespa.

Read below to learn more about Jim Falk, our keynote speaker for the Plano First Executive Breakfast Series, which will be held on Thursday, February 25 at Gleneagles Country Club. CLICK HERE for additional information and to register for the event, sponsored by Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano. Deadline to register is Monday, February 23rd.

Speaker Spotlight: Jim Falk

What was your first job? Your most rewarding?

My first job was teaching swimming in Tunis but the 10+ years at the WACDFW have been by far the most enjoyable and rewarding.

How do recharge your batteries or relieve stress away from the office?

I am the “captain” of the WACDFW Cycling Club which now has about 20 members. Last year I rode over 6,000 miles and, in 2014, I rode to the top of one of the highest peaks in the Atlas Mountains, the “Oüka monster”.

What’s your morning routine?

I wake up early, ride my bike, read 3-4 newspapers. On days when we have events I dig deep into the subject to be covered to be sure that we are not missing a timely event that may have occurred overnight.

Where is your favorite vacation destination?

You would expect me to say Morocco as I am the honorary consul, but the fact is that my wife, Terrell, and I love Marrakech and consider it one of the world’s great cities for tourists. It offers a delightful mix of cultures. The views of the Atlas Mountains are spectacular and the desert is just a short drive away.

Don’t miss out on this exciting event! CLICK HERE to reserve your seat today!