Welcome New August 2021 Members!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 11 new business members in the month of August. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the links below.

American Cancer Society
CBD Pros USA
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society
Gotcha Covered of Plano-West
Hissho Sushi
Logotology
Marketwave
Monday Distribution
Session Pilates
Vilbig & Associates, PLLC
Willow Insurance Agency

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 membership@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.

Leadership Plano Announces New Class

 

Leadership Plano Announces New Class Participants

One of the Plano Chamber’s flagship programs in Leadership Plano. After a hiatus of one year due to the pandemic, LP, as it is known, is back in high gear ready to welcome the 36 members of Class 38. Participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including government, the corporate setting, non-profit organizations and small businesses. They represent broad diversity in age, ethnicity and race and share a common goal of wanting to learn more about their community and how to get involved.

Throughout its history, LP has helped to develop the leadership skills of many civic leaders who have served our community through more than three decades of growth and change. Leadership Plano has made a tremendously positive impact on the Plano community and beyond. Its graduates serve in numerous elected positions and on non-profit boards throughout North Texas. This program provides a solid foundation for service and also significantly affects the lives and careers of the participants.”

Spanning nine months from September through May, the program is designed to increase community awareness and leadership skills. The opening retreat, a two-day orientation weekend beginning September 11, 2021, at 7 AM at the Plano Chamber, focuses on individual leadership styles and techniques. From October through May, the class spends one day a month examining specific aspects of the community such as education, government, local business and economic development, health and human services, criminal justice system, the arts, and more. Each of the sessions is highlighted by presentations from city, corporate and civic leaders who share information about their organizations as well as practical leadership experience and tips.

Gaining a broad perspective of the Plano community equips participants to become well-rounded leaders ready to apply their skills in a variety of ways. Leadership Plano provides a foundation for long-term involvement in Plano and assists in launching a supportive community network of colleagues and friends. It is often said that LP graduates have an open door policy for fellow grads and work to support each other in their charitable and career endeavors.

See the names of the members of LP Class 38 below:

Leadership Plano Class 38 List with Affiliations

Gregory Arp, Plano ISD Albana Mansoor, Vizient
Jarvis Archibald, Children’s Health Kathy Marcum, Plano Chamber of Commerce
Ann Bacchus, Attorney Jenna Maynard, Community Volunteer
Mary Barnes-Tilley, Collin College Amy Pagan, City of Plano
Colleen Campbell, Assistance Center Michael Presbitero, Attorney
Catherine Caso, Junior League of Collin County Dylan Rafaty, C-Hear, Inc.
Michael Casavant, JP Morgan Chase Laura Rhetta, UBS
Diana Charbonneau, Toyota Financial Serv. Nicole Ritter, Baudax Bao
Kavita Doddamane, Dentist Dorly Roy, Goldenlight Creative, Inc.
Meryl Evans, Self-employed Cassandra Shead, Shead Realtors
Eddie Franklin, Jr., Self-employed Camille Smith, Women’s Non-profit Alliance
Matthew Fuhriman, Capital One Rekha Suryanarayana, It’s a Sensory World
Frank Gallovich, Frank J. Gallovich Insurance Susan Swan Smith, My Possibilities
Michelle Giltner, Heritage Farmstead Museum Kathy Taylor, Plano YMCA
Julie Godfrey, The Barre Code Brittnea Ussery, Plano ISD
Elisa Klein, MKC Create Faryal Virk, Communities Foundation of Texas
Claire Lick, Texas Health Resources Nicole Warhoftig, City of Plano
Diane Lowery, Stackpath Cody Weaver, Coldwell Banker

Welcome New July 2021 Members!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 17 new business members in the month of July. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the links below.

Aimbridge Hospitality
AlleeOops Photography
Arcpoint Labs of Plano
Centennial Montessori Academy
Chili’s Grill and Bar
Dean Insurance Group
It Starts With A Vision, LLC
Morgan Stanley – Lester Wigler
North Texas Disability Chamber
Rock Your Life Conference for Entrepreneurs
Special Strong West North Dallas
Spray-Net North Texas
Star Contractors, LLC
Suburban Yacht Club
T-Mobile Experience Store
U.S. Renal Care – Plano/Dexter
UT Southwestern Clinical Center

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 membership@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.

The Declassified Intern Survival Guide (volume 2)

Just started an internship? Wondering how to stay on top of your work or maybe build professional connections in the office? Well then, you’ve come to the right place! Welcome to the Plano Chamber’s “Declassified Intern Survival Guide”. My name is Venessa Odera, and I’m a Special Projects Intern here at the Chamber thanks to the sponsorship of JPMorgan Chase as part of the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program. Through this blog, I hope to help any seedling interns navigate their experience by sharing the things that I’ve learned during my time here. Let’s get started!

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Staying “Linked-In” (get it?)

Want to create meaningful business connections? Whether you’re just starting an internship, or you’ve already been working for a bit, it’s always important to build connections with the people you meet. Each interaction that you engage in has the potential to positively affect you in the future, so I have compiled a few useful tips that I’ve learned to help you begin your networking journey as an intern.

  • Be engaged.

When meeting new people, no one enjoys hearing plain responses like “yes”, “no”, “that’s nice”, or the conversation shattering “mhmm”, among others. Not only is it not conducive to building a genuine connection, but it may also cause others to view you as uninvested or disinterested. Instead, you should be an active participant in office conversations by making eye contact, asking follow-up questions, and keeping positive body language (avoid crossing your arms or slouching). As Morihei Ueshiba once said, “A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind”, and in my experience, even if you’re super nervous, the “fake it till you make it” method usually produces the best results.

  • What’s in a name?

My personal motto is that “you don’t have to remember names forever, just long enough to add them on LinkedIn”. Because many office interactions are either brief or total one-offs, following up on these exchanges with a message on LinkedIn increases the chance that people will remember you and want to interact. Continuing these interactions outside of their initial context creates an opportunity to easily broaden your network. However, I would also like to stress that if you engage with someone on multiple occasions it IS important to remember their name in addition to any other things they share about themselves. By doing this you will be able to maintain contact with new people and build on previous conversations.

  • Learn from your coworkers.

You may be working alongside other employees, but it’s important not to forget that your coworkers have much more experience. This is the perfect opportunity to learn about the profession you’re interested in from people who have been in the field for years. Not to mention, even if someone’s position doesn’t match your interests, you can still obtain a better understanding of their professional journey and the things they learned prior to assuming their current position. In the wise words of Harper Lee, “many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.”

 

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While my time as an intern at the Chamber has drawn to a close, I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to share my experience and the lessons I’ve learned during my summer here. It’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown professionally in such a short amount of time as a result of this experience. I sincerely hope that these lessons I’ve learned will help you too as you start your journey as an intern.

 

Signing out,

Venessa Odera

 

 

The Perfect Post

Hi, my name is Avni Vallab, I am a summer intern at the Plano Chamber of Commerce, and this is the final installation of a series of summer blogs updating you on my summer internship! Special thanks to FedEx Office for sponsoring my internship; this was a fantastic experience, and I truly appreciate your support!

This summer, one of my big responsibilities was creating content for the Chamber’s social media channels. After a full summer of content creation, I have successfully learned the intricate art of social media marketing. So today, I’m going to give you a special look at what it takes to create the perfect social media post.

One of the biggest challenges in creating social media content is consistency. Getting posts up on a regular basis is key to increasing awareness about your company. Consistently posting is a great idea in theory; however in reality, it is incredibly difficult to come up with content! So I scoured the internet searching for obscure “social media holidays”. Aptly named, a “Social Media Holiday” is a small, relatively obscure holiday that no one really celebrates (like national fried chicken day) but can make great content for the Chamber as it allows us to highlight different business sectors throughout the city. Once I know what the post will be about, next is to create the post.

The magic of 21st-century technology grants us a variety of websites to create complex social media graphics while having little knowledge of Photoshop or graphic design. The best part of social media marketing comes here, where I really get to be creative. I pick between a myriad of colors finding the palate that best works for the event I am highlighting. Next comes the body of the post, where I find the fine balance between making sure my message is clear with bold text, and making sure I’m not overwhelming the reader with text that is obnoxiously loud. Finally comes the graphics, where I insert people and objects into the post, often making this the center of the post, because pictures truly do speak louder than words!

Next is the dreaded editing stage, in which I come to realize a good chunk of the text is probably spelled wrong, and the spacing of my text is never quite even. After a first and often second round of edits and feedback, my post is finally ready! The last step is to get the post up and out for the world to see. I come up with a creative caption, hit post, and anxiously wait to see how well the post will perform!

Check out some of the amazing posts I got to create for the Chamber this summer!

This summer, through interning at the Plano Chamber, I got to lean into the creative aspects of social media marketing. Not only that, but I learned to marry the technical elements of getting a concise message across along with the creative aspects of a fun, bright post. I’m so grateful to my supervisor Katie Gimenez for giving me the freedom to help create content for the Chamber. Katie’s encouragement truly allowed me to develop my knowledge of digital marketing. No matter what career I pursue in the future, having a thorough understanding of marketing is valuable in every field, and I was so lucky that the Chamber helped me hone that skill.

To future Chamber interns: I highly recommend you take advantage of your time at the Chamber to learn from Katie and all your coworkers, their years of experience have resulted in troves of advice on how to navigate the professional workplace. Even further, I would recommend you try your hand at digital marketing, even if you aren’t technologically skilled, diving right in is the best way to learn! Canva is a great website to easily create stunning graphics, social media holidays are a great way to churn out more content, and a good Google Sheet goes miles in keeping all your planned posts organized!

Creating content for social media is like solving a puzzle. You start with a few pieces you know you have, and you slowly add on element after element. Sometimes certain aspects won’t fit exactly right. But after a series of trial and error, constantly fixing each component, suddenly everything fits together perfectly. The persistence to creatively problem solve is what makes the perfect social post, and the perfect mindset to solve any challenge life throws your way!

 

The Declassified Intern Survival Guide (volume 1)

Just started an internship? Wondering how to stay on top of your work or maybe build professional connections in the office? Well then, you’ve come to the right place! Welcome to the Plano Chamber’s “Declassified Intern Survival Guide”. My name is Venessa Odera, and I’m a Special Projects Intern here at the Chamber thanks to the sponsorship of JPMorgan Chase as part of the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program. Through this blog, I hope to help any seedling interns navigate their experience by sharing the things that I’ve learned during my time here. Let’s get started!

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First Day Jitters

So, it’s your first day. You’re most likely feeling like a big ball of nerves, and that’s okay! Going into a new situation like a job can unsettle even the best of us. However, there are a few tips that I think will help assuage some of that anxiety.

  • Write a list of things to bring on your first day.

Even if you were not told explicitly what to bring to the office, writing a list can jumpstart your brain to think of things you might have forgotten otherwise. For example, my list included a charger, lunch, lotion, watch, etc. These things may seem trivial, but when you’re at work for 7 hours they become necessities. Plus, if on the first day you realize that you need other things that aren’t on your list, then you can simply add them on later.  For instance, in order to fend off the frigid air conditioning of the office, my list grew to include a jacket, as well as paperwork and other things requested by my supervisor.

  • Plan out your morning routine.

Just because your internship presents a new situation does NOT mean you should wing it on the morning of your first day. Focus on the things you can control, so that means you should plan out your morning the night before. How far away is the office? What time will you leave? What time will you wake up? Do you shower in the morning, or make breakfast, or will you stop for coffee? All these factors impact the duration of your morning routine. Personally, I set alarms about 10 to 15 minutes apart, so that I can have a gauge of how much time has passed between each activity. If you plan it out beforehand, then you can set mental timestamps and make sure you’re not late to work.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! (seriously)

Although speaking up when you don’t understand something may be daunting, trust me when I say that no one will look at you as inept or unqualified just because you need help. An internship is meant to be a “professional LEARNING experience” where students like yourself are able to learn more about a career path that interests you. Especially on the first day, asking questions is necessary in order to not only learn more about the company you’re working for but your coworkers, and the responsibilities you’ll have as well. Not to mention, asking follow-up questions after an informational spiel shows that 1. You were paying attention and 2. You have intellectual curiosity and personal initiative.

  • Have fun!

Take every interaction and opportunity with a positive attitude! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you’ll never be able to recreate the situation you’re in right now so take advantage by absorbing the new things you learn and building your network. As Billy Cox once said, “The two things in life you are in total control over are your attitude and your effort”.

 

Return to Office: In-Person Work After a Year of Covid 

 

Hi, my name is Avni Vallab, and this summer I am a special projects intern at the Plano Chamber. I am a rising Senior at Plano West Senior High School and I will be writing a blog to keep you up to date with my work as an intern. A special thanks goes out to FedEx Office for sponsoring my internship this summer!

This past year marked a transition from the physical to the virtual world. In-person school was replaced with hours on end of mindlessly staring at a bright computer screen. After 9 grueling months of online school, I was sick of staring at a screen. That’s why once I learned that I was accepted to the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program I was thrilled. Once I learned I could be interning with the Plano Chamber of Commerce, and in person, I was ecstatic! 

After months on end of being locked up at home and staring at a screen, I was finally getting to go to an office in person, I couldn’t be more excited. That was until the morning of my first day when I realized I had to be awake at 6 am. The transition from not having to go anywhere on a regular basis, to having to regularly wake up in the early hours of the morning and make a commute, was jarring. 

If on your first morning, you’re not so nervous you can barely eat, you’re not doing it right. What if I’m not wearing the right clothes? What if I can’t find the office? What if? What if? What if? I was considering every possibility from not packing enough lunch, to getting helplessly trapped in the elevator. Before I knew it my first day came to an end faster than I could have imagined. Within the first few minutes of entering the office, my nerves quickly disappeared as I learned everyone in the office was friendly and open to help. 

I went with the flow observing everything going on around me. I was always listening, taking in the important conversations and meetings that were happening every second. The opportunity to engage in a professional work environment is an invaluable experience that I knew most high school students don’t get. I wanted to make sure I took full advantage of this experience by engaging and learning at every step. 

2 weeks later I have comfortably settled into my new office. My cubicle quickly became littered with personal items, and I learned the ins and outs of my new office. One secret I quickly learned was that even in sweltering 99-degree weather, bring a jacket because the office is frigidly cold. Additionally, getting trapped in the elevator actually happened more often than you think, so always take the stairs just to be safe. 

To any interns nervous about starting their new internship, relax! You’re going to feel nervous and sick to your stomach, but that’s normal. No matter how your day goes, at the end of that day, you will go home. So no matter how awkward or nerve-racking your first day is, it will eventually end, and before you know it you’ll love coming into the office every day to see your coworkers and get to work! 

Summer Grind: Interning at The Chamber

Hi reader! Welcome to the Plano Chamber intern blog run by Venessa Odera and Avni Vallab. We are both rising seniors at Plano West and were chosen to be Special Projects Interns here at the Chamber, as part of the 2021 Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship. A special thanks goes out to FedEx Office and JPMorgan Chase & Co. for sponsoring our internships!

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Going into a situation filled with uncertainties, it was important for us to establish constants and routine. For example, we interns start our day by meeting in the building lobby before our daily trek to the second floor- a journey that becomes less nerve-wracking with each repetition.

A normal day at the Chamber includes a split of individual work and informative sessions with our coworkers, describing what their positions entail and giving advice that they believe would benefit us. One instance of this was our recent meeting with Carole Greisdorf who is the current Program Director of the Leadership Plano. Not only did she share her journey to this career path, but she also used her experience to convey valuable advice about positivity and adaptability.

Every Monday morning at the Chamber, the whole staff sits down for a team meeting. We all file into the polished conference room and break down what we accomplished for the week, and what we aim to achieve for the coming week. We interns give updates on our big projects, and smaller ones such as booking guests for the podcast episode we will host later in the summer. These staff meetings are the best place to see how the well-oiled machine of the Plano Chamber works. Each staff member is integral to the functioning of the Chamber in their own special way. Not only that, but everyone works collaboratively, reaching out to co-workers if they need help with a project or advice on how to move forward with a client or event.

At the end of these meetings, we all walk away with new ideas of how to improve a project or new tasks on our plate that we hadn’t previously thought to consider. We spend the next few hours working away at our projects, periodically calling out to a co-worker on how to best tackle any problems that may arise with our work.

After a full morning of informational meetings and individual work, we interns meet up for lunch. Cramped together into one of our cubicles, we scarf down our lunch while frantically stressing over college applications and going over the tasks that need to be completed in the office for the rest of the day.

After lunch, we return to our respective cubicles to continue our individual work. Often this entails creating graphics for digital marketing campaigns or managing data for big upcoming projects such as new teacher bags for Plano ISD teachers or the Plano Families First Job Fair.

Before we know it our day ends, we pack up our bags and leave for the front door where Judy at the front desk greets us with a smile and waves goodbye, the perfect way to end a great day.

Welcome New June 2021 Members!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 16 new business members in the month of June. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the links below.

Adaptation Financial
ASAP Pain & Spine Center
Cassandra Shead Realtors
Cavalieri Designs
Cheeky Monkeys
Copy Tech Systems Inc.
Dallas IVF – Plano Fertility Center
Dallas Mavericks
ECP Legacy Group
Fairfield Inn & Suites By Marriott – Plano
GenesisCare USA
New York Life – Gina Estermyer
Norma’s Cafe
Pure Plumbing
Rhodium Talent Advisors
Texas Substance Abuse Education / Tapping Knowledge

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 membership@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 May 2021 Members!

The Plano Chamber was thrilled to welcome 16 new business members in the month of May. Learn more about each member business and the services they offer by clicking the links below.

Caring Senior Service
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Collin County
Denbury Inc*
First Source Title
Goodwill Industries of Dallas
Issil Beauty Spa
Jal Dennis Investment Services
Lime Painting Of North Texas
Painting With A Twist/ Color Me Mine
Passionate Home Care Services, LLC
Plano Athletic Club
Prelude Clubhouse
Resilience-Building Leader Program LLC
Sergeant Fifty-Five, Insurance
TT Electronics*
Urgent Care Of Texas

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 membership@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.