When you meet Lori Walker for the first time you’re sure to view her as a pleasant, charming woman with a soft voice and a non-confrontational personality. But, if you’re one of those people who think that such quiet dignity is a sign of weakness, you’re making a big mistake.
Ms. Walker has a list of accomplishments much too lengthy to fit into this article and she didn’t achieve that résumé by being a pushover. A former Executive Assistant to Congressman Tom DeLay, former Field Representative for Texas Senator Jane Nelson and Chief Administrator for Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads, Ms. Walker has been involved in the political arena for several years. In addition, for six years, she chaired Fiesta Flower Mound, one of the largest, most lavish entertainment spectaculars in North Texas. Moreover, she was named Flower Mound’s Citizen of the Year in 2006.
Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that Lori Walker was appointed President of the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce a few months ago. You don’t rise to a position of such prominence unless you’ve shown enough executive and managerial ability to deal effectively, not only with the business sector, but with the local elected officials who can help forge an alliance that will benefit their constituents and those entrepreneurs that have invested in our community.
For many years, our town had a combative relationship with the Chamber because of a moratorium on growth, imposed by a Council that was deathly afraid of density and had little vision for the future. As a result, expansion of business and residential enterprises were stunted for about a decade. Although that tyrannical grip was loosened after the election in 2004, it took several more years to untie the knots that had us mired in a sea of arbitrary technicalities.
This past Monday, my wife Annette and I had a delightful lunch interview with Lori at our home. Everything we learned about the new President tells us that we’re in for an exciting period of economic growth in this little flower of North Texas and its environs. Among the many other events to grow the business community, the Chamber hosts a Leads Networking meeting on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, from 8 to 9:30 am at 9 Social, 2300 Highland Village Rd. Suite: 900. The meeting costs $5, which includes a light breakfast with coffee and juice, as you learn how the Chamber can help you prosper.
Another excellent way to learn about the town and its leaders is the “12 at 12” luncheons held each month and offered to the first 12 members of the Chamber who call to reserve their seats. There’s no charge for the lunch, which features government officials as guest speakers. Then there’s the frequent “After 5 Mixers,” which are held at the various business locations. Those events are free, and they feature great food, adult beverages and the chance to network with those who may not have been able to make the earlier meetings. For more info on these and many other business-building tools click on: www.flowermoundchamber.com
I’ve often written about my admiration for those who involve themselves in the well-being of their communities. Ms. Walker, who grew up in Nocona, Texas, learned some valuable lessons about volunteering and “paying it forward” from her parents. In the category of “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” both parents graduated from Austin College, as did Lori. Both parents were awarded “Citizen of the Year” in Nocona, as was Lori in Flower Mound. She and her husband Neal have resided and raised a family here since 1995. “We’ve always tried to instill the same values in our children that our parents instilled in us,” she said. “I believe in being the type of person who stands up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. It’s also important to be someone that others enjoy being around,” she added.
Their values must have made an impact if you consider that, during the holidays, their youngest son requested that they go to some fast food restaurants and purchase meals for people he saw on the side of the road who were holding signs asking for food. They picked up several packaged dinners and drove around distributing them to some very grateful recipients. When their son told them how good it made him feel to help those less fortunate people, a couple of very proud parents watched as their son emulated the compassionate and charitable lessons he had learned.
There is so much more to Lori Walker than I can possibly relate in an 800-word essay. However, of this I’m certain; with her at the helm of the Chamber you can bet that we’ll feel her positive influence in this community for many years to come.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.