By Shana Whiteley, Owner Good Luck Grill
Manor, Texas is growing. It is a good place to do business, to raise kids and build community. This year I have the distinct honor to serve as the President of the Manor Chamber of Commerce.
My primary objective as Chamber President is to help the positive growth and development that we wish for in Manor to become a reality for the betterment of our businesses, organizations and our community.
Saturday January 28th, 2012 The Manor Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet to honor the past officers and install new officers. As the President, I had the opportunity to speak about my vision for Manor and what I want to accomplish as the Chamber president.
Below is my speech. Know that I am committed to making our community stronger. Thank you for joining me in that effort.
Each and every one of you are here tonight because you care about Manor. You care because you are a resident here or you have a child that goes to school here. Maybe you have a business here. You know that great things are happening here and they are only going to get better.
Imagine a Manor with more retail ~ Walmart IS coming… What other businesses would you like to see here? Imagine a Manor with better infrastructure, services and amenities… Would you like to have a 973 extension that bypasses downtown Manor? Would you like to have a Parks and Recreation Department that could provide a community center with programs for kids and adults and that could develop and manage a hike and bike trails that connected our neighborhoods and businesses?
Imagine a Manor where residents feel great about their community and want to stay here, shop here, play here, worship here, and volunteer here.
I am honored to have been elected by a group of my peers to serve as the 2012 Manor Chamber of Commerce President. What an exciting time for Manor. Change and growth are upon us.
So, I ask you this…
When you close your eyes and day dream about the Manor of tomorrow…
How do you envision those items on your wish list becoming realities?
Three things will help us get there: a plan, team work, and communication.
POINT ONE – Have a Plan
I have been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years ~ I know what you are thinking…“that doesn’t quite seem possible” since I am only 39.
But, in 2005, I began to fulfill my dream of owning my own business – the restaurant, now known as Good Luck Grill. I began filling my dream by getting in my car and scouting locations from Georgetown to Round Rock, from Elgin to Taylor, and from Austin to Manor. I could have put my business any where… BUT I chose Manor. I had two unsuccessful attempts at acquiring a location in Manor before I settled on the current location. But, I felt so strongly that Manor was the place to be. I kept trying.
I had a plan. I stuck to it. Finally, in 2007, what I had imagined for so long became a reality.
I am a firm believer that you have to have a plan if you know where you are going.
POINT TWO – Work Together
Mayor Jeff Turner spoke at the Chamber meeting in October. And he said, “It is our time” He is right. It IS our time!
It is our time to take the Manor Chamber of Commerce to the next level and to expand the benefits that we are currently providing our members. And, we need to work together, share our visions, and develop a plan.
An integral part of that plan is working with each other and the City to develop a Manor that our businesses can thrive in and that we can all be proud of.
When I was first asked to join the Chamber and became a Board member there was a lot of negative energy in the air regarding the relationship between the City and the Chamber. I wondered, “How do we extend the olive branch? It is a must that we work together for the betterment of our businesses and our community.”
When I think about the relationship between the Chamber and the City… Well… I think of my sister, Nishi. Nishi and I use to fight like cats and dogs when we were younger. The kicking, punching, pulling hair kind of fighting. My mom was a stay at home mom and got tired of the sibling disputes quite quickly so, she established a rule very early in our lives, NO Tattle Telling. And, if we did tattle, we would get in trouble for it.
When I was in the second grade we moved out to the country between Pflugerville and Manor to a two bedroom, one bath farm house. So, Nishi and I had to share a room which of course fueled a few of our sisterly disputes.
The house had lots of windows so, we could see who was coming and going pretty easily and it was one of those houses without any real hall ways. Each door connected directly to the next room and you could walk from room to room and end up back where you started without having to retrace any of your steps.
So, Nishi and I would be beating the tar out each other and each throwing our hateful jabs at each other over whatever we were arguing about that day and suddenly one of us would say. “Mom is coming… Mom is coming… “We were way more scared of Mom in that moment than we were of the other one. The fighting would instantly be over and we’d have our arms around each other’s shoulders. We were hugging on each other so Mom wouldn’t know we’d just been trying to kill the other one, and we didn’t have to face the wrath of Nadine in the moment or James when he got home.
As we moved into High School and adulthood, Nishi and I became great friends. We eventually moved out of that little farm house and Nishi and I got our own rooms. Still, we had to share a bathroom. We still had plenty of fights, but what our Mom’s no “Tattling Telling Policy” taught us was to rely on one another to listen to one another and have each others back.
In our Manor Family the City is the Chamber’s sibling and while we have had disagreements with them in the past – and while I am sure we will have disagreements with them in the future; it is OUR TIME to rely one another and to have each others back so that our visions came become a reality.
POINT THREE – Communicate
Building positive growth and development for the betterment of our business community takes planning, and teamwork… but the Cinderella in our story is communication… without it we just have two ugly step sisters.
Before I decided to become an entrepreneur, I had the opportunity to travel through the 4-H program and later through the Peace Corps. I was the Ambassador to Greece for 6 months in 1993 through a 4H program called IFYE and in 1998 I spent 8 months in Ukraine as a business development volunteer through the United States Peace Corps.
While in Greece I stayed with several host families throughout the country. My favorite host family lived in northern Greece almost up to the Turkish border in a little town called Didimoticho which means “twin wall”. Hundreds of years ago… these walls were used as a barrier to the enemy.
My host mom, Despina is a fabulous cook and if you’ve ever had Greek food… well, it is delicious. Well, we would sit down to the table and my plate would always have the most on it… And I would say… “Oh my… I can’t eat all of this.” My host brother, Makis would then say… “Eat is much as you can.” And I would do so somehow, thinking that I would be rude if I didn’t eat what was provided for me. My sister had the opportunity to stay with this family years later and we had a big laugh when she told me she said the same thing to her. It was during this laughter that we figured out that he meant “EATas MUCH as you WANT.’
I realized from this example that communicating effectively is critical. That if you don’t speak up and ask questions or clarify someone else’s point that you might not get exactly what you are looking for.
As small business owners, we join the Chamber for various reasons: resources, networking, or other benefits that membership may provide. But, the bottom line is we want our businesses to be successful.
As your 2012 Manor Chamber of Commerce President, I pledge to you that I will put my best foot forward so that we can obtain the positive growth and development that we wish for to the betterment of our businesses and organizations and the Manor community.
Those items on your wish list for the Manor of tomorrow can become realties…
I ask you to be a part of the process of developing the plan to take ACTION, work as a team so that we can have thoughtful discussions, and communicate our wish list with one another and make our wants real.