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The Soapbox: Taking It to the Max

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Brandi Chambless

Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you.Zig Ziglar

When I first arrived in Highland Village back in 2007, I immediately hit the ground running in my new job at a local marketing firm.  One of my first community outings occurred when I attended the Flower Mound Chamber leads meeting at Village Grill.  Having recently relocated from Memphis, I was faced with the task of building a new business network and retooling my skill set as my son entered kindergarten.

While everyone at the leads meeting was super welcoming, I found it difficult to hear the words roll off my tongue:  “Hi, I’m Brandi and I’m with…” when I was really thinking, “and I just moved here from Memphis leaving behind my best friend Mary, a wonderful church family that loved us, my beautiful home, and everything familiar for the last several years.  I knew where the coffee was situated in the grocery store and I lived half a mile from Lenny’s Sub Shop where I frequently enjoyed the grilled chicken Philly with Mary at 11 AM on any given day, not to mention my adult tap class and what a good workout that was.  But now that I am here, my only son will go off to kindergarten, I will likely never tap dance or see Mary ever again and I feel like my life is over.  But other than that…”

In reality, I wrapped up by saying the words, “I am really glad to be here.”

Everyone had an opportunity to speak in the meeting, including a tall skinny fellow by the name of Max Miller who “was looking for” advertisers in his newly acquired The Cross Timbers Gazette, recently purchased from LaRue Johnson.  He held a copy of the newspaper up in his right hand while showing it off like a prized possession, and his left hand held 10 more copies for anyone who wanted one.  I had only been in North Texas for a few hours, but I could tell this fella really believed in his product.  I was not so sure, but nevertheless, after the leads meeting we met in person and I discerned an instant sincerity.

Because of the Flower Mound Chamber, my business network grew in North Texas.  My friend Bill Collins was probably the most instrumental of all in encouraging me, along with everyone he knew, to schedule at least a single one-on-one meeting each day with a new contact.  I took the challenge and scheduled SIX one-on-ones each day straight for at least three years.  It was the language of the local marketplace that served me in building the necessary infrastructure to survive what was initially the land of anonymity.

After some time, I was hired by another local newspaper to work in the Flower Mound area.  Max and I had become competitors overnight.  Even so, Max remained as one of my good friends, as we both fought for the same market share.  His commitment to business ethics and hard work was a huge reason The Cross Timbers Gazette began to grow like never before.  With the help of his wife Susan, the two were able to carry on LaRue’s life’s work.

Five years ago this January, I, too, became part of The Cross Timbers Gazette team when Max published my first column based upon the life of Robert Louis Stevenson, He Had Me At Hello.  Max and I were no longer competitors, as I worked each month on writing a column that either gave his readers the itch to Google something or was so chock-full of current events that Max’s analytics jumped off the charts.  It worked!!  It seemed like the more virtual “hate mail” I received, the more delighted was Max!  He knew readers were engaged when I followed the Casey Anthony trial with The Atonement or inadvertently hit a nerve of every red-blooded pet activist in North America with my column Free Kittens followed by the squeakquel Free Cat.

So for the five years that Max and I have been on the same team, I have brought forth some of the stories that have meant the most to me.  Having no true legacy of my own for the time I spent on the ground in Flower Mound doing my daily one-on-ones, Max has given me a shot to make it count.  What can I say?  Not only is he a great talent scout, he is also a genius.  The Cross Timbers Gazette has quadrupled in size over the last five years, because Max used his own talents to assemble a quality product that speaks to the community.

When I think back to that first day at Village Grill, I can’t quite remember when I cried my last Memphis tears like we girls do when our nest is moved.  But, of all my life’s opportunities, I am forever grateful for my friends at The Cross Timbers Gazette and for my friend Max who has sent me everywhere from the Texas Motor Speedway to fancy parties on his behalf.  What fun!

Here’s to many more years of stories, great friends, faithful readers, the Flower Mound Chamber, one-on-ones and friendly competition!  I hope my tales have brought as much laughter as tears.  Thank you readers!  Thank you Max!! Wishing you all the best in 2015, from my desk to yours!

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About The Author

Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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