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2016 CHAMBER BANQUET

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Mount Pleasant

EVERYTHING TEXAS BUSINESS OF THE YEAR JAN/FEB ISSUE 19 2016

2016 TOTAL RESOURCE CAMPAIGN BI-MONTHLY BUSINESS REPORT


Mount Pleasant

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contents:

6 Partners 4 LinkedIn for Business 5 Chamber Banquet 6 Shop Local 8

Chamber 3-Star Accreditation

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Everything Texas Business of the Year 10 Total Resource Campaign 12 Everything Texas Heartbeat: Karen Neeley 14

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Taking

To the next level New Partners Nov 1, 2015 - Dec 31, 2015

State Farm Insurance - Jason Reid American Red Cross – Northeast Texas

James Phillips Automotive, LLC Bo Rester - State Farm

Renewing Partners Nov 1, 2015 - Dec 31, 2015

AA's Tree House Learning Center Ag-Power, Inc. Best Fender Products Inc Buford Redfearn Insurance Agency Candlewood Suites CASA of Titus, Camp and Morris Counties Citizen National Bank Cliffs Paint & Body Shop Inc Cypress Bank Day & Night Foods Dellwood Park Assembly of God Church Dennis Cameron Construction & Equipment, LLC East Texas Children's Dentistry, P. A. East Texas Medical Center - Pittsburg Edward Jones - Frank Durrum El Chico Restaurant Electron Security Systems Esslinger Kwik Kar Oil & Lube LLC Glyns Western Wear & Boot Repair H & R Block Business Services Hale Electric Hamilton Jewelers, Inc.

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Hightower Financial Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Homeland Title Homer Holt Homer Metal Buildings, Inc. KSA Engineers Laura's Cheesecake Lesher & Associates M P Insulation Co. Martin Marietta McGuire Dyke Investment Group McKelvey Enterprises Inc Mid America Flight Museum Mount Olive Baptist Church Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic Mount Pleasant Country Club Mount Pleasant Lions Club Mount Pleasant Tire and Brake, Inc. NeTseO Trails Council Newman Electronics, LLC Next Step Community Solutions Niblett Rental Properties Olympic Systems Metal Buildings Peoples Communication, Inc.

Performance Trailers by Parker R & R Marine Rapid Furniture & Appliance Region VIII Education Service Center Robert C. Sikes, DDS Rutledge, Craig & Renea Sandlin Motors, Inc. Scott E Redfearn Inc Sisk Motors, Inc. Spruill Honda Kawasaki Stanley's Landscape Management, LLC Suddenlink Communications TexTrail Trailer Parts Thai Lanna Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics Watkins Urology Wood Air Conditioning, Inc. Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas Mount Pleasant


LinkedIn is a professional network and if you leverage it to your full benefit, it can be your choice professional network and a potential revenue source. LinkedIn is important for job seekers, but it is just as important for you, even if employed.

the conversation and develop the relationship further. 3. Using the “Congratulate” & “Happy Birthday” email from LinkedIn as a way to prompt you reach out to connections will create top of mind awareness in your network. 4. Link your company name in the expeUsing LinkedIn for Business rience section to the company page and it I want you to think of LinkedIn as your will make your profile have more color personal Rolodex with over 300 million throughout and add more creditability to users waiting to get to meet you. I am not your personal brand. saying you can easily walk up to the door You need to remember LinkedIn is about of each user, knock and introduce yourself creating connections and opportunity. to each user. You have an endless oppor- Don’t be someone that just collects contunity to leverage LinkedIn for business by nections. Create connections, and the creating relationships that expands your opportunity will extend from that. network, provides for referral opportunities and increases your professional brand.

engines. (And no, you don’t want to take the same content you publish on your website blog and publish as a post on LinkedIn.)

4 Things You Need to Know About LinkedIn

I could go on and on with the list of LinkedIn FAQs. I chose to list the ones in this post that I usually get when speaking or teaching on the strategies I mentioned above.

1. The publishing feature on LinkedIn notifies your connections with a “flag” alert when you publish a post. (This doesn’t happen when you share an update.) 2. Sending a well-crafted (non-sales oriented) follow up email to new connections provides the opportunity to continue

LinkedIn Frequently Asked Questions How often should I share an update? If you are planning to leverage LinkedIn as part of you marketing strategy, sales funnel or for job search, a minimum of once daily is what I recommend.

What is the difference between an update and publishing a post? A post is similar to a blog, with the recommended length of 300 words. Indexed by search

Should I make changes to my profile? Yes. Don’t think of your profile as a “fix it once forget it”, but a masterpiece you continually improve upon and add to as you complete new projects, have new opportunities and successes. Do I need to pay for a LinkedIn premium account? I recommend optimizing your profile and maximizing your use of the free features, before considering using the paid ones. The premium LinkedIn accounts have some benefits, such as InMail, premium search filters and analytical data, which could be helpful later on.

- See more at: http://rocksdigital.com/usinglinkedin-for-business/#sthash.6emFCCBc.dpuf

Lissa Duty Lissa Duty is Social Media Coach, Author, Speaker & Trainer. 20 years of marketing, administrative and management experience working to grow your business.

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Michael McMillan learned at an early age how to turn a problem into a solution. Both came in the guise of a beat up, weather-faded toy baseball bat. He’ll share his “Pink Bat” story at the Annual Membership Banquet on January 21st.

“A kid in the neighborhood who didn’t play baseball took the bat out of the garbage and when we went to the school yard to play, he was standing on the pitcher’s mound with the bat. He had made up a new game. If the ball goes inside the bat, you’re automatically out. If the ball goes A renowned speaker, author, and creative through the bat, it’s a home run, and you consultant, McMillan shares his unique don’t even have to run the bases. I motivational perspectives chronicled in his thought, ‘This is the craziest thing.’ I had books, which include Paper Airplane: A thrown the bat away, but he didn’t see it Lesson for Flying Outside the Box and his that way. He saw it as a new game. His newest release, Pink Bat: Turning Probname was Rat, so we called it Rat’s Pink lems Into Solutions. Bat game and played it the rest of the summer. That was one of the most fun “My grandmother gave me this plastic bat periods in my life.” for my ninth birthday. It was one of those toddler bats, but she didn’t see that. She McMillan’s childhood experience stayed just knew I loved baseball, and it was her with him throughout his life, and he startway of giving me a nice gift,” McMillan ed to apply the lesson of the pink bat to said. “It first came to be a problem when business and with people he worked with we started breaking windows in the neigh- over the years. borhood with it, and the bat was banned. It was originally red, but then it laid out“What’s exciting about this is it gets your side in the weather, and it turned pink. My brain thinking in a different way. That’s brother laughed at me, and it became an what pink bat philosophy is all about,” he embarrassment, so I hid it in the basesaid. “At a very young age, I realized that ment. But then, we came up with our own we have a choice to see the world how we game for it and pulled it out, and it bewant to see it, and we choose how we focame a solution. The bat hadn’t changed. cus on things.” The environment changed.” After writing the book, McMillan said busiThe boys played with the pink bat until one nesses from small storefronts to Fortune day when the plastic split and the ball 500 companies, communities and organiwent inside the bat. The worn out toy bat zations have adopted “Pink Bat Thinking,” ended up in the trash. Back to problem which makes the impossible possible. mode.

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“I get notes on a daily basis from people sharing a pink bat story and thanking me for sharing my childhood memory,” he said. During the Annual Membership Banquet, the Chamber will also present the recipients of the Citizen of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards. It will also announce the first Everything Texas Business of the Year. The Chamber will present its 2016 Executive Board: -Chairman Rob Hedges, Republic Waste Services -Chairman-Elect Trent Abbott, Guaranty Bank & Trust -Treasurer Vikki Goates, American National Bank -Vice Chairs Glen Calvert, Priefert Complex Designs and Tony Mize, Brookshire’s -Past President Richard Witherspoon, Herschel's Family Restaurant Pilgrim’s is the Presenting Sponsor and Hightower Financial is the Gold Sponsor for the banquet. Tickets are $25 for Chamber members. To RSVP, contact the Chamber office at 903-572-8567. More information is available on the Chamber Website: mtpleasanttx.com. Information about Michael McMillan is at michaelmcmillan.com


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The Chamber’s Shop Local Initiative is getting a makeover. Under the umbrella of the newly revamped Marketing Action Committee (MAC), the initiative will take on an expanded role in efforts to market Chamber members’ businesses and encourage customer loyalty. Within MAC, the Chamber narrowed its committees down to Shop Local, Tourism, the Golf Tournament, Education, and Special Events. Each committee within MAC has a chair and a task force. For Shop Local, the chair is Beverly Austin.

should come to your town, eat at a respush in November and December leading taurant and shop at a retail store, so we up to Christmas. are going to emphasize why we are Everything Texas to draw them in.” “The average person spends $700 around Christmas. If we could get all of the citiThe task force is creating a video that zens of Titus County to spend that $700 highlights those unique aspects of Mount here, we will reap the benefits. Our sales Pleasant and Titus County to educate tax revenue will increase, and we could Chamber members, the community, tour- do a lot more things for our parks, our city ists, businesses and families considering services and tourism efforts,” Austin said. relocating to the area. “We will have brochures that will educate the community on why shopping locally is “This video will help state why we are a important and helps us with our day-togreat place to visit, live, open a business, day living.” “We have a task force of about 20 people buy a home, educate your children, eat representing all of our members in out and shop,” Austin said. “We want to Austin, a business advisor with the Northhealthcare, restaurants, manufacturing, use the video as a tool to promote the east Texas Small Business Development and retail. We’re trying to make sure eve- Everything Texas brand and to connect Center, said it is crucial for a community ryone benefits from what we’re doing,” the dots to Shop Local.” to support its businesses. She said the Austin said. She said her task force has Shop Local movement has done more been meeting over the past year planning The new initiative will launch this month than any other movement to help busifor a January 2016 kickoff for the new with Shop Local Titus County signs and nesses. Shop Local Titus County Initiative. marketing brochures. The task force will present the initiative to local organiza“When you spend your money locally it “We want this to include a better under- tions, and the Chamber will utilize social helps that local business stay in business, standing of the Everything Texas brand media to promote it. hire more people, retain employees and because what we’ve discovered is that it invest in more inventory. As that business has a different meaning for everyone. It Shop Local has traditionally included cam- prospers, they, in turn, will invest in the depends on their perspective and person- paigns within the larger initiative, such as community.” al experience,” she said. “So from that, Eat Local, Grow Local, and Drive Local. Eat we realized that we wanted to embrace Local will continue as the April campaign that in this next campaign. Cities and and Grow Local will be the focus in June/ towns have a long list of things to offer July. Drive Local will also continue, and people. People want to know why they the initiative will culminate with a large

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The Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center met one of the long term goals it set in 2013, earning accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In November, the national organization announced the Mount Pleasant Chamber was among 17 in the nation awarded with an “Accredited with 3 Stars” rating, the second level of accreditation.

The Mount Pleasant organization drafted ber CEO in September, gave credit to forits current 3-year Strategic Plan in Decem- mer CEO Faustine Curry and the Chamber ber 2013. During the planning session, the Board of Directors. board identified five goals: "Achieving this 3-star accreditation is a 1. To be the voice of business in advotestament to their hard work, dedication, cating for public policy that benefits and passion,” Stedman said. “This honor business, economic growth, and the highlights the level of excellence with community. which this Chamber has operated and will 2. To focus on its members by serving continue to operate to serve the businessthe needs of business through proes of Mount Pleasant and Titus County." The Mount Pleasant Chamber and the 16 grams, events, services and connecothers recognized demonstrated “quality tions. The accreditation rating gives the Champrograms, clear organizational proce3. To focus on tourism and promotion. ber prestigious recognition. Hedges said dures, and effective communications” and 4. To foster leadership by identifying, the Chamber will share what that means “met operation and program standards in developing and positioning leaders in for the Chamber and for its members at the areas of governance, program develthe Chamber and the community. the Annual Membership Banquet this opment, governmental affairs, and tech5. To strive for Chamber Excellence by month. He also said when the Chamber nology,” according to a U.S. Chamber of maintaining a dynamic chamber maps out its next 3-year Strategic Plan for Commerce statement on the award. through governance, management 2017-2020, Stedman and the Chamber and resources. leadership will be looking at how they can The only program of its kind in the counreach the next level. try, U.S. Chamber Accreditation ratings Achieving accreditation was one of its include: Accredited, Accredited with 3 goals for chamber excellence. “We can earn up to a 5-Star Accreditation. Stars, Accredited with 4 Stars, and AccredThat’s a good thing because we have ited with 5 Stars. Chamber Chairman Rob Hedges said the something to strive for,” he said. honor is especially rewarding because “Accreditation validates a chamber as only a small percentage of chambers in having programs that benefit its local the nation receive accreditation from the economy and positively influence its com- national organization. munity,” said Raymond Towle, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber Federation Rela- “Over the last several years the staff put tions and Institute for Organization Man- in a lot of hard work and dedication into agement. “We applaud these organizagetting the accreditation,” Hedges said. tions for advancing the principles of free enterprise.” Katie Stedman, who stepped in as Cham-

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KATIE STEDMAN

Six local businesses are vying for the first ever Everything Texas Certified Business of the Year award. The nominees have received certification through a Chamber program that recognizes member businesses who have designated a product or service as “Everything Texas.”

CEO Katie Stedman. “It will allow us to highlight what makes a business unique within the context of our community branding.”

With the award presentation, Stedman said the Chamber hopes to increase awareness and excitement in the program The nominees for the award that the and friendly competition for the award, Chamber will hand out at its Annual Mem- which will be similar to the award given bership Banquet on January 21 are: East out for Citizen of the Year and Lifetime Texas Journal, Echo Publishing, Edison Achievement. Expansion of the program Phonograph Museum, Guaranty Bank & also includes additional marketing efforts Trust, Herschel’s Family Restaurant and by the Chamber for Everything Texas Certhe Mount Pleasant Country Club. tified businesses. The program started in 2014 to allow businesses the opportunity to create a prod“We’re inviting businesses to apply to beuct or service that fits with the Everything come certified, and we’re offering real, Texas concept as a way to spread the tangible benefits to them through this brand. The award is part of a Chamber certification,” Stedman said. “In addition effort to expand the program and draw to the Everything Texas Certified decal, we more participation among the 435 Cham- want to offer them a physical marker of ber members. some kind that allows those businesses to stand out in a way that is meaningful to “We want this to be part of the culture of their customers.” who we are as a Chamber,” said Chamber

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The Chamber is adding an Everything Texas Certified sponsorship into the Total Resource Campaign this year that would allow them to purchase newspaper advertising to promote a newly certified business similar to what it does with the ribbon cutting ads. “We want to be able to highlight what those businesses are doing,” she said. “We also want to feature those businesses in the Everything Texas Weekly, our email newsletter.” Plans are also in the works to add the Everything Texas Certified logo to the business listings in the annual magazine/ directory and on the Chamber’s newly upgraded website. When the certification program first launched, one of the first to get on board was Guaranty Bank & Trust which created an Everything Texas debit card featuring the Everything Texas brand with the Johnny Longlegs logo. Another was Herschel’s,


which created a brand new burger for its menu.

this way: “Every month we publish stories of and from the “Greater Geezerplex” area. Just add water and flour and everything we write can be transformed into a rich gravy. It tastes like who we are and where we’re from.”

The Mount Pleasant Country Club has added “The Everything Texas” to its menu - a 12 ounce New York strip served with five sauteed shrimp, and a Creole red wine butter sauce, garnished with spinach and mushrooms and served over mashed potatoes. The newly added menu item, creEcho Publishing has created an Everything ated by Chef David Rossignol, has been a Texas rubber stamp that they use to hit with Country Club patrons.

“Herschel’s does a fantastic job of marketing the Everything Texas Burger. They have the Everything Texas Johnny Longlegs logo on their menus, and whenever they cater an event, the Everything Texas Burger is what they feature,” Stedman said. “Businesses like Herschel’s are representing Mount Pleasant by using their Everything Texascertified product to promote “As people gain pride in their community betheir business and promote the branding of our community.” cause of the amazing businesses we are highSometimes businesses that aren’t product-based have a harder time determining what to feature as their Everything Texas item. As an example, Stedman said service-oriented businesses could certify Everything Texas Hospitality or Everything Texas Customer Service.

By drawing attention to the unique products and services offered by Mount Pleasant/Titus County businesses, the Everything Texas certification effort ties into the Chamber’s Shop Local Initiative.

lighting through this certification program, we “The two programs go hand in hope they will choose to shop here in Titus hand,” Stedman said. “As people County instead of somewhere else.” gain pride in their community be-

“We plan to educate our volunteers so that when they are talking to the businesses about certification, they go out armed with creative ideas for each business so that nobody feels excluded or unable to come up with a way to participate,” Stedman said.

stamp their outgoing mail. They have also printed several custom pieces like the Everything Texas playing cards to feature the brand.

cause of the amazing businesses we are highlighting through this certification program, we hope they will choose to shop here in Titus County instead of somewhere else.”

The Edison Phonograph Museum features the logo on their advertising and at their events. The museum features a unique offering of antique phonographs and makes for a one-of-a-kind tourist destinaFor the East Texas Journal, Everything Tex- tion, proving once again that the best of as embodies what the paper stands for Everything Texas can be found right here and the type of stories they publish. Hud- in our town. son Old, the paper’s editor, describes it

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The 2016 Total Resource Campaign is expected to take the Chamber to new heights. The theme for the fourth TRC is “Reach for the Stars.”

last year, so they blew the goal out of the water,” said Abbott, who is excited to move from team member to Chair this year.

“We based the theme on the Chamber recently receiving its 3-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” said Chamber CEO Katie Stedman. “We are so proud of this achievement and feel that it will propel the TRC teams to a whole new level of excitement and pride in promoting the Chamber during the campaign.”

“I learned a lot about the campaign by being a part of it. The Chamber has a clear strategy for how the funds will be used throughout the year to promote our community. To see the time and effort they put into this makes me excited to be a part of it and a part of the Chamber,” he said.

The strategy is the brainchild of TRC Consultant, Joyce Powell-Johnson. She In its fourth year, the TRC kicks off brought the TRC to Mount Pleasant in January 25 and runs through March 2, 2013 at the request of former CEO, with a wrap-up celebration planned Faustine Curry, who heard about her for March 3 that the community is program at a Chamber conference. invited to attend. “I started my first Total Resource TRC Chairman Trent Abbott, Chamber Campaign in the mid-90s when I was Incoming Chairman of the Board and on staff at the Tulsa, Oklahoma ChamPresident of Guaranty Bank & Trust, ber. We developed the method as a set the campaign goal at $160,000. way to raise revenue,” she said. In The 2015 goal of $145,000 was sur1999, she founded YGM, LLC, which passed by $15,000. works with more than 40 Chambers around the country, helping them de“They raised $160,000 in sponsorships velop total resource campaigns.

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The campaign works by building teams of volunteers who call on every Chamber member business to offer them sponsorship opportunities that are outlined for the entire year. “In the first year with a Chamber, I spend a lot of time on site with them working with the staff to design levels of sponsorships. We look at everything the Chamber does throughout the year. Every event, every publication, all the emails can have sponsorships,” she said. Most organizations that raise money have a philanthropic goal. With a TRC, Powell-Johnson said it’s about benefits and value to the sponsor. “What I and my clients have found is that the members get a good return on their investment of these dollars because they are marketing dollars,” she said. “This is a way for them as a member to spend a little more and be able to market their business along with participating in the Chamber.” Before she brought the campaign to


Mount Pleasant, the Chamber had 20 businesses that sponsored Chamber activities. The 2013 campaign generated 354 sponsorships. That number increased to 410 in 2015.

cate those funds in their marketing budgets early in the year. “It is a strong win for both sides,” Powell-Johnson said.

“We’ve seen them take huge steps forward by getting involved with the TRC. It builds team camaraderie. They go out and sell this, and it creates a positive impact for the businesses The TRC teams also visit with nonwith which they interact, for the proThe reason the TRC volunteer team member businesses to share the ben- grams the Chamber is providing and strategy works is that a small Chamefits of membership and encourage for the Titus County community as a ber staff does not have the time to go them to become Chamber members whole,” he said. out and visit with each member dur- so that the Chamber can work with ing a membership/sponsorship drive. them to promote and support their For the Chamber, the program offers Many times, they are limited to email businesses and the work they are do- the staff, leadership and committee blasts and phone calls, which lack a ing in Titus County. members a clearer picture of the personal touch. events and activities planned for the Since the first TRC in 2013, the camyear. It also creates an accountability “TRC volunteers tend to call on who paign has added 166 new members. system for the Chamber to ensure its they know, so this gives the Chamber The Chamber added 46 members last members get the best bang for their a much broader reach. For a business year for a current membership total buck, Abbott said. owner, it’s one to thing to receive an of 435. email about a sponsorship that is “A lot of businesses may not know available. It’s another for someone “The goal this year is two new mem- that there is a Business After Hours or they know personally to call or visit bers per volunteer. With 20 voluna Quarterly Business Breakfast. By and explain it to them,” Powellteers, we are hoping to add 40 new educating them on all that the ChamJohnson said. “That’s the success of members,” said Partner Services Co- ber does throughout the year, it gets the TRC. It uses those relationships ordinator, Kandace Burke. them more involved, and they see the and the manpower of the volunteers value in being a member and believe to reach out and contact more of the The volunteers are split into four in what the Chamber is doing,” he membership.” teams of five members each. There is said. “That’s why the TRC raises more a healthy competition among the vol- in sponsorships each year because Launching the TRC in January allows unteers for bragging rights for Top people see the positive impact it has the Chamber to plan for all of its acTRC Team and Top Individual Produc- on our community.” tivities for the coming year and have er. each of those activities funded ahead of time. That advanced planning also For Abbott, as a bank president, he helps the businesses plan by giving has seen how the TRC has benefited them a wide range of sponsorships to his employees. choose from and the ability to allo-

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Karen Neeley was recruited to serve as attended Northeast Texas Community a Chamber Ambassador “Bill PriceCollege and studied accounting at Texstyle.” as A&M Texarkana. “Bill Price, Lonnie Smith and I were on the Cypress Basin Hospice Board of Directors together, and they asked me if I would be interested in being a Chamber Ambassador. I said, ‘I need to think about that.’ Two days later, I got a call from the Chamber telling me they accepted me as an ambassador!” Chamber Ambassadors promote the Chamber and serve as the public relations arm of the Chamber. The ambassadors, from Chamber member businesses, make up the Chamber’s membership recruitment and retention team. Ambassadors are also active and visible in the area by representing the Chamber at the ribbon cutting ceremonies, Business After Hours, Quarterly Business Breakfasts, the Annual Membership Banquet and other Chamber events.

It’s been a great ride for her since then, Including being elected Chair of the Ambassadors in 2012. “It’s been fun. I have loved it,” said Neeley, who is stepping down as Chair. “I’m going to stay an ambassador, but I think change is good. It’s time for somebody else to take it for a while.”

She spent most of her years at Guaranty in the accounting area. The last five years she was the administrator and vice president for the Operations Center, which houses the bank’s deposit services, bookkeeping, records retention, and computer programmers. She retired early in 2005 to spend time with her six grandchildren – three boys and three girls -- from her sons, Bryan and Barry Sheets. A high school friend asked her to volunteer for the Hearts for Hospice Ball when it was originally called the Poinsettia Ball.

“She said, ‘You’re Miss Organized,’ and I thought that it sounded like fun. I didn’t know that much about the orShe and her husband, David Neeley, a ganization at the time. It was just a founding partner of Elliott Auto Group, good party,” Neeley said. “But, after travel a lot during their retirement and time, I got to know what Hospice was she said she feels the Chair should be all about and what a great organizamore available to attend Chamber tion it is.” Retired now, Neeley, who has served functions such as ribbon cuttings and as Chair of the Hearts for Hospice Ball the ambassadors’ monthly meetings. Then Jane Scharlach asked her to take since 2001, began volunteering for the over as Chair after a longtime volunChamber when she worked for Guar- Neeley, 62, is a hometown girl, gradu- teer passed away. anty Bond Bank (now Guaranty Bank ating from Mount Pleasant High & Trust.) School in 1971 and landing a job at “We had to recreate a lot of the recGuaranty when she was 25. She later ords because a lot of it was in her

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head,” Neeley said. “I kept thinking, ‘I can’t do that,’ but Jane’s husband, Art Scharlach, suggested I should do it, and since he was my boss, I said, ‘Sure, I’d love to.’”

She said she enjoyed the camaraderie “We all have that same vision. It’s among the Chamber Ambassadors the quite an honor to be an ambassador. I most. always loved it when they put on their red jackets years at each event, but “I’ve made really good friends. We the jackets had gone away several talk and catch up on things that are years ago. I suggested we bring back Taking the reins has been a rewarding going on when we’re together at rib- the jackets, in navy this time, to dress experience for her. bon cuttings, and we get to encourit up a bit more and make every amage the businesses. It’s very upbeat bassador event a more of a formal “I have enjoyed it. It’s such a big thing and a lot of fun,” she said. occasion,” she said. to do an event like that. You lay the plan out there, and it works,” she Being an ambassador has also allowed Neeley said, sadly, the spirit of volunsaid. her to be more involved in Chamber teerism is not like it used to be. Being the Chairman of the ball earned events, including planning one of the “When I was little, everybody helped her an automatic spot on the Cypress newest, the Everything Texas Unjust because, and they don’t do that Basin Hospice board. corked Ranch Run & Wine Festival. now. So, when you do volunteer, you’re saying, ‘I’ll take that role,’” she “If I’m going to own something, I’m Neeley and her husband also recently said. “You may think you don’t have going to be involved, so I learned became business partners with the time to volunteer, but you can still do about it, and now I’m on the Execuowners of Los Pinos, who are good something.” tive Board,” she said. “It is the only friends of the couple, so the festival is nonprofit hospice in town. The wife of a perfect fit for them. The Chamber is very grateful to her someone I worked had his wife under for her servant’s heart and her wontheir care, so I got to see how much it She loves motivating and encouraging derful leadership of the ambassadors helped.” the ambassadors to serve, although for so many years. Individuals like Kashe says it’s an easy task because they ren Neeley are what make the Mount Retiring gave her more time to volun- are all there because they love the job Pleasant/Titus County community the teer, so she has juggled working for and believe in the Chamber. place we are all proud to call home. both organizations over the years. mtpleasanttx.com

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MOUNT PLEASANT BUSINESS REPORT An official publication of the Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Council 1604 North Jefferson | Mount Pleasant Texas 75455 903.572.8567 | mtpleasanttx.com Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber Publisher Katie Stedman Editor in Chief Mandy Stringer Creative Director Mandy Stringer Graphic Design, Layout Lynda Stringer Contributing Writer Echo Publishing Co. Printing

Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber of Commerce 1604 North Jefferson Avenue Mount Pleasant, TX 75455 www.mtpleasanttx.com info@mtpleasanttx.com (p) 903.572.8567 (f) 903.572.0613

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