• 17 Jul 2017 1:57 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members:

         I have come to the conclusion that food is the single greatest unifier on the planet; the language of food is universal and creates community. Almost every culture and religion uses food in celebrations, and seasons, harvests, and holidays all have unique foods and help bring us together. What we eat is an accumulation and function of all our experiences, beginning with our first bottle or breast. Learning to eat is learning to become human. Food is part of our social interaction on multiple levels. As a matter of fact, food is such a significant part of our who are that it is the last thing people change when adapting to or attempting to blend in with a different culture.

           The significance and impact of food reaches far deeper than we can imagine. We build associations with food much like we do with music. Our most important memories are frequently rooted in celebrations and events,  and where there are events and celebrations there is food. Even a weekly family dinner has significant impact on children. Researchers from Harvard, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Congress on Obesity, performed global studies and found that children that have a designated family dinner time are more likely not to be obese, to show better academic performance, to have better school attendance, and are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. 

           Likewise, in the world of business, food also plays a key role. More business is conducted at dining tables in restaurants, executive board rooms, clubs, and homes than anywhere else.  Food is so important in many cultures that knowing appropriate food etiquette is seen as essential in building strong client relationships, increasing sales, and helping 'close the deal'. Never underestimate the value of food and food etiquette when dealing with top management.

            The Marketplace motto this year,  "Buy, Shop, and Live Local", has been used to raise awareness about an array of businesses in our local community. For example, we are highlighting various aspects of farming in our area, and the meaningful contributions they make to the value and significance of providing healthy food for our bodies. Our local farmers take their responsibility to consumers seriously, and when we can purchase our food at a farmers market we are able to build a relationship with the farmer instead of buying from large corporate growers who are not as likely to care about how the foods they sell impact our well-being. Chances are the food at the market was picked that day and is traveling straight from the farm to you.  This quick farm-to-table can preserve the product's nutrients for a healthier you.

           This  Tuesday will be our first locally sourced "Farm-to-Table Dinner". I truly hope you will plan to attend. Tickets must be obtained in advance, and can be purchased at the Pulaski YMCA or at Pulaski on Main. You will be able to participate in this experience of fresh food right from the farm with an exquisite meal (paired with wines, if desired) created by local chefs, Loren Hunter and PJ Slaughter.

          The last thing I'm going to write about while advocating the importance of food came from an article "Top Ten Reasons to Buy Local" by Vern Grubinger. He cites a study by the American Farmland Trust, that says farmers contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development companies contribute less in taxes than they require in services. Cows don't go to schools, and tomatoes don't call 911. So, support our local farmers!

    Please join us this Tuesday at The Marketplace for our first Farm to Table meal. 

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White, Executive Director


  • 06 Jul 2017 11:42 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Members:

    In lieu of saying "Happy 4th of July" I thought it would be fun to look at an obscure fact that pertains to food since this year we are focusing on Shop-Eat-Live-Local! So, one of the most interesting facts I came upon is the fact that on July 4th, Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs; it is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year! Since we are all about food this year, it might surprise you to know that our founding fathers had a very different palate in mind than what we typically think of as a July 4th fare of hot dogs, french fries and barbecued treats. Our Founding Fathers feasted on some pretty different foods to celebrate the country's independence back in the day. "According to legend, on July 4, 1776, John Adams...and his wife, Abigail, sat down for a celebratory meal of turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas and boiled new potatoes in jackets. They followed the meal with Indian pudding or Apple Pandowdy," wrote Justine Sterling for Delish.com in 2011.

    Hmm...that is not at all what we would consider now days as a July 4th feast! Although, a lot of us enjoy a low-country boil, the southern version of our forefathers feast, minus the turtle soup. I have to admit that since I'm originally from outside of Philly, I am not familiar with turtle soup and have only indulged in snapper soup, which is  a deliciously  hearty soup popular in Philly.  Apparently, turtle soup is also a hearty soup very common in the Northeast, and also in Louisiana with a creole style flare. So if your looking for a real traditional July 4th meal, and feel adventuresome, here is something new for you to try.

    I find whether it is hot dogs, low country boils, salmon or whatever is on your menu the best part about the day is being with family and friends and celebrating this great country of ours!

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White, Executive Director

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 26 Jun 2017 4:06 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members:

    I have been threatening to write this one for awhile, "Is there a Place in Business for the Diva/Divo?"   At first glance you might think that it is a situation becoming all  the more norm as our millennials emerge in our workforces. But when you look at the criteria it takes to develop a healthy work environment you can see how these two forces conflict. The idea behind a positive environment is that you are creating an atmosphere conducive to higher productivity.  Rob Groff and Gaeth Jones share some of these concepts in an article in the Harvard Review,  "Creating the Best Workplace on Earth, "

      Let people be themselves                                                                   Unleash the Flow of Information                                                            Magnify Peoples Strength                                                                           Stand for more than Shareholders Values                                                    Daily Work Make Sense

    Have Rules People Can Believe In                                                                

     If we lived in an ideal world we would be able to incorporate most, if not all, of those concepts  into the work place. Productivity is increased by incorporating these concepts into the work environment. Research by the Hay Group has shown that highly engaged employees are, on average, 50% more likely to exceed expectations than the least-engaged workers.  Creating a well balanced, self-less,  team becomes impetrative for confronting competition in today's highly competitive markets. Companies want to maximize their individual employees'

    potential and encourage their propensity to help others on the team.  Throw into the team  a diva/divo mentality and two things are going to happen: 1) the team balance is lost; and, 2) attitude goes from "team" to "I.", and eventually  creates a toxic atmosphere for all.

    There have been arguments made that these toxic employees  are smarter and usually do a better job. But at what cost? There are also arguments out there with the millenniums moving into the workforce and there "it's all about me'' attitudes need to be shaped to work for the company.

    How that will translates into the future workforce development as companies and industry move forward remains to be seen.  But it certainly has become a topic of concern. The Washington Post reported in a recent article the results of  a survey given to more than 1000 chief financial officers worldwide on their opinions about millennials. Approximately 70 % had positive things to say about their technological savvy, and 21%  said they were more creative and innovative than previous generations. But more than half of CFOs said millennials are lacking in company loyalty, and 46 % said they have an inflated sense of entitlement. Thirty-one percent said millennials need more hand-holding, and 27 % said millennials are more interested in the development of themselves rather than the development of the company.

    This is going to be an on-going topic of conversation for awhile. My perspective may be short sighted but in my opinion if you have this type of personality on your team, I suggest cutting your losses before they  infect the rest of the team. It's a team not one person,   and the goal is about the company and not the individual. We, as a part of any team, need to continue to remain "learners" and not self-promoters. 

    Work hard, be productive,  and above all else stay positive. 

    Peggy White                                                                                      Executive Director                                                      peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 20 Jun 2017 9:05 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Members:

    My younger daughter recently graduated from high school. As she reached this major milestone I was reminded by my older daughter’s gift of how much we are influenced by the people around us. How much impact one person can have on another person’s life. By now you’re wondering what does this have to do with business. I’ll get there.

    The gift my daughter, Hope, gave to my younger daughter Jordan, was the book by Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. She asked the most important people in Jordan’s life to write her a letter. The letter their grandfather wrote said all the things you would expect from a loving grandfather. But he went a step further and gave my daughter strong guidelines for a business manger. I’m going to share an excerpt with you:

    “As I progressed through the management ladder I found that while a degree was important it did not determine success. The most important quality to managing people was the ability to lead them in a manner that would implement and follow the policies of the company, so that the company would be successful and profitable.

    I found there are just a few principles to successfully manage people:

    Always treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

    Let them know they work with you -not for you.

    Maintain the highest level of integrity.

    Never look down on anyone-no matter their position.

    Treat everyone fairly.

    Always keep in mind it is nice to be liked, but more important to be respected, and this can only be accomplished by the example you set. All of these principles apply to everyday life."

    As I look back I realized that I have incorporated these values my father so eloquently worded to my daughter into my life and that both my daughters have been incorporating  those values into their everyday life.

    Work hard, …….

     

    Peggy White, PCCC Executive Director


  • 12 Jun 2017 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Members:

    Years ago while working in an art gallery in Texas, and later in Virginia, I came to the realization that artists posses an entirely different mindset from entrepreneurs;  one that is geared towards creativity,  but not towards business finesse.  Years later while owning a business, and observing the approach of my father-in-law (who came from a pure academic background and at one time served as the Dean of Admissions for Davidson), I realized the difference in academic and business mindset. There is nothing wrong with different mindsets, and that is certainly what makes the world go around, but it is important to understand these mindsets since it effects the approach to problem solving.  I found an article written by  Kerry Ann Rockquemore that addressed these differences from a professor's journey from professor to CEO.

    There were five major differences between the academic and entrepreneurial mindset, which I will share her words with you now.

    1. Academics move slow. Entrepreneurs move fast.

    As an academic my approach to change was to move slowly, deliberately and cautiously. I believed that the best way to minimize mistakes was through extensive conversation, committee meetings, producing volumes of written material, etc. In other words, the best way to make a decision was by slowly moving through a process that involved lots of talking, thinking and analyzing before doing anything. As an entrepreneur I act first and analyze later. Quick movement is essential because my goal is to get into action and fail as fast as possible. Every time I fail, I can evaluate what worked (and didn't work), make quick adjustments, and get back into action. Failing gives me lots of data that I can use to adapt as I'm moving forward.

    2. Academics study problems. Entrepreneurs solve problems.

    As an academic researcher, my primary goal was to thoroughly analyze the cause of problems. I would spend my time going as deeply as possible to the root of the problem and fleshing it out in all its glorious complexity. As an entrepreneur, problems are to be solved and the cause may (or may not) be relevant to an effective solution. Being solution-obsessed means I spend my time experimenting with solutions and measuring outcomes.

    3. Academics function in constraint. Entrepreneurs create possibility.

    As an academic at a public university, I was embedded in an environment of shrinking resources and a culture of constraint (there's no budget - state funding is shrinking, you have to do more with less, etc.). This was such a constant pressure over time that it shaped the parameters of my thinking to the point that any brainstorming about solutions started with, "What can be done with no resources." As an entrepreneur, it's critical to first dream up solutions without any constraints and then figure out how to make what you imagine a reality. Instead of assuming no resources are available, entrepreneurs trust that resources can always be generated to fund good ideas.

    4. Academics focus on patterns. Entrepreneurs focus on the exceptions.

    When I talked about starting a business, almost every conversation with an academic involved the data on the percentage of new businesses that fail. Most of these conversations occurred with social scientists who observe patterns and calculate probabilities as part of their research. The implicit message was that most businesses fail, the probability is high that yours will fail, so why bother trying? The entrepreneurs I talked to focused on the small percentage of businesses that are highly successful. The implicit message was that there are exceptions to every pattern, so you'll want to focus on how to be one of the few who succeed.

    5. Academics loathe promotion. Entrepreneurs live to sell.

    From my academic mindset, promoting myself, my work, or my ideas was unseemly. I was professionally socialized to believe that people should quietly do good work, submit to the review of others, and then let that work speak for itself. As an entrepreneur, I'm in love with the solutions I offer so I'm constantly making invitations to people to step into our programs because I've seen the transformations that occur as a result. There is no shame in my game whatsoever; in fact, I feel it's a disservice not to let people know what we have to offer.

    Reading about the differences between an academic and entrepreneurial mindset may have caused a bit of discomfort! Whether they resonate with you or not, I'm drawing out the differences because I want to raise your awareness that while an academic mindset is perfectly suited to teaching, knowledge production and campus life, it may keep us from quickly getting into action when it's time to make our big ideas a reality.


    Work hard, be productive and above all else stay positive.

     

    Peggy White

    Executive Director

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

4440 Cleburne Blvd., Dublin, VA 24084

540-674-1991

info@pulaskichamber.info 

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