Northeast Leadership Forum Newsletter
Greetings from your NLF Chair, Vanessa Copeland
Looking forward to a promising 2019

    I am honored to serve as the Chair of the Northeast Leadership Forum for 2019. It's inspiring to consider those who have chaired before me and the accomplishments of the organization from their efforts. Each had a mission that the board and membership executed successfully.                  
    This year, membership growth is my primary focus for NLF. There are many established business and community leaders, as well as future business and community leaders, that are not yet members of our organization. I would encourage you to invite those you feel would be the most qualified prospects to our breakfast meetings. Our first 2019 breakfast will be on Tuesday, February 19, at the Hurst Conference Center.  
    Because of our leadership positions in the community and the work that NLF achieves through our scholarship program, roundtables and the annual meeting, we are an organization to be proud of. We have a healthy membership as it stands and one of exceptional value, so let's invite fellow business and community leaders to join in on our value and help grow our impact and success as an organization.  
     I am looking forward to the year ahead. Thanks to each of you for all that you do in Northeast Tarrant County and with NLF. We are successful because of your commitment and passion for growing leaders in our region. If you have any ideas or suggestions or if I can be of help, please contact me at or call 817-223-6944.  

When someone asks you, "What does NLF do?", this
response  invites the person to want to learn more:

"We help develop new leaders and provide valuable connections  to help them succeed. 
We also strive to publicly recognize  the truly outstanding leaders in our community."


New officers to lead NLF into 2019
     Following Jim Griffin's successful year that included impressive new membership growth, your NLF board of directors has elected the following officers for 2019:
  • Chairman: Vanessa Copeland, O. Trevino Construction, LLC 
  • Chair-Elect: Howard Shotwell, R&D Associates, Inc. 
  • Secretary: Nick Sanders, Mayor of Trophy Club 
  • Treasurer: Shelby Bruhn, Valliance Bank 
  • Past Chair: Jim Griffin, Mayor of Bedford 

Chairs for our 2018 committees include: 
  • Annual Meeting: Randy Clinton, Community Enrichment Center - Chairman; Shelby Bruhn, Valliance Bank, Fort Worth; RaDonna Hessel, Grapevine Chamber of Commerce; Randy McCauley, Providence Bank, Southlake
  • Chamber Presidents Roundtable: Carolyn Sims, Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce 
  • Economic Development Roundtable: Craig Hulse, City of North Richland Hills 
  • Heart of North Texas: Eli Mercer, Tarrant County College Northeast
  • Mayors Roundtable: Linda Martin, Mayor of Euless 
  • Membership: Shannon Watt, Frost Bank 
  • Nonprofits Roundtable: Randy Clinton 
  • Programs: Howard Shotwell, R&D Associates, Inc. 
  • Sponsors: John Fletcher, Fletcher Consulting Public Relations 
  • Superintendents Roundtable: Dr. Robin Ryan, GCISD 
In other board of directors news, the board will consider updating the bylaws of NLF. Chairman Vanessa Copeland appointed a three-person committee that consists of Faye Beaulieu, Howard Shotwell and Randy Clinton to review the current bylaws and make recommendations for updates. 

Bill Lynch to speak at February Breakfast Meeting
   Our February speaker will be discussing a timely and important topic. Bill Lynch, vi ce president of Public Policy and Economic Development at the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, will speak on,  "Essential Tools: Tax Abatement and Economic Development in Texas." 
    Bill is a fanatic about governmental relations and public policy, which has led him to follow the Texas Legislature closely for the past decade.  Prior to accepting his current role, he was the volunteer chair of the Public Policy Advisory Council of the Arlington Chamber and the Public Policy Committee Chair at the HEB Chamber, which he also chaired in 2012. 
    In addition, Bill is known as the consummate networker, as he developed his own system that grew his Minuteman Press operation to impressive sales and customer service levels in the 12 years that he owned the company before selling it to join the staff of the Arlington Chamber in 2016. 
    Bill spent his first 30 years in business in the hardware and housewares field. His last position in that industry was as CEO of a $20 million cleaning products company. Due largely to his networking skills, Bill was elected Chair of the International Housewares Association, an organization of 2,200 companies worldwide manufacturing and distributing products for the home. 
    Bill graduated from the University of Memphis and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He and his wife, Mary, have lived in Arlington for 32 years. 
    Bill is an accomplished speaker and is a member of the National Speakers Association's Dallas chapter. One of his most popular topics is "Networking: How to Avoid 'Assault by Business Card.' " 
    Let's look forward to welcoming Bill back to the Northeast Tarrant County area for our February 19 breakfast.  Please RSVP today to or call 817-283-1521.


'Mattress Mack' to keynote March 29 Annual Meeting

     We are less than two months away from our 28th Annual Meeting & Award Luncheon on Friday, March 29. Talk about an inspirational speaker, Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale is widely regarded as being among the most generous business leaders in America, as well as one of the very elite marketers and promoters in the world.  
    Mattress Mack has been featured in USA Today and on Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC. He is a living example of what it means to be integrally involved in your local community. His hometown of Houston loves this man. Petitions have been started to name a street after him and to present him with a key to the city. 
    He is an in-demand speaker who has been invited to keynote throughout the United States, and he turns most of those opportunities down.  This presentation will be one of his very few speeches that he makes outside the Houston area. If you have wanted to motivate employees, family members or friends, this is THE event you will want them to attend!  Here are some more interesting facts about our special guest: 
  • Mack bets on major events: When customers bought over $2,000 of furniture and the Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series, every customer received a full refund or an even greater amount in store credit -- over $10 million! He placed similar wagers on the 2014 Super Bowl, oil prices in 2015 and the 2016 presidential election. 
  • When Gallery Furniture -- their company store -- first began, Mack and his wife Linda slept in the store. 
  • When the store sustained more than $20 million in damages due to a 2009 fire, the Houston community rallied around Mack to rebuild the store. 
  • Mack has completely bounced back from a congenital heart condition called PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale), and he works seven days a week. 
  • Gallery Furniture is a family business, with Mack and Linda joined by their son James (digital marketing manager) and their two daughters (Laura and Liz), who have both appeared in Gallery Furniture commercials. 
  • Mack champions for mental health since his daughter Liz has struggled with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; they even offer grants for mental health through Liz's Peace of Mind Foundation. 
    We have already experienced very positive sponsor response to this high-profile speaker. The meal service will begin at 11:30 a.m. sharp, and the program will end at 1:15. If this will be your first time to see The Marq, you will be impressed. The location is 285 Shady Oaks Drive, Southlake. Seating options are: 
- Sponsorship table of 10 with premier seating: $1,000 
- Reserved table for 8:  $500 
- Individual ticket with general seating: $55 

    Please contact the HEB Chamber today at 817-283-1521 or to order your tables or individual tickets. If you are interested in a sponsorship, please contact John Fletcher at 817-205-2334. We are grateful for the diligence of our Annual Awards Luncheon committee: Randy Clinton, RaDonna Hessel, Randy McCauley and Shelby Bruhn. 


Distinguished Leader Honoree to be selected

    Our selection committee is reviewing the nominations for our Distinguished Leadership Award that will be presented at our 28th Annual Meeting & Award Luncheon on Friday, March 29. This is the one award that we present each year. Rebecca Barksdale, Precinct Administrator for Tarrant County Precinct 3 Commissioner Gary Fickes, was last year's recipient. See a complete list of previous recipients. We look forward to learning who our honoree will be for this year's award. 

New Member Profiles

    Adrianna Watson has over 10 years of experience serving community in national and local nonprofit organizations. She is the Director of Operations for 6Stones, which is a dynamic nonprofit that serves much of NE Tarrant County. Her passion is connecting resources to those in need with a Kingdom focus. 
    Her degree in Social Work and experience creating strong partnerships allows her to serve donors, community, and clients synergistically. She and her husband Jeremy are partners together raising two loving children. Adrianna enjoys fresh ground coffee, home renovation, and getting a great deal. 

   Salman Bhojani was elected last May to serve as Place 6 City Council Member for the City of Euless. He is a licensed attorney with a focus on corporate/business transactions and real estate law, and is managing partner at Bhojani Law, PLCC. The firm also features a title insurance company. 
    Prior to opening his own firm, he practiced real estate and corporate law at Haynes & Boone, LLP. In addition to his legal practice, Salman is an entrepreneur, owning businesses in residential and commercial real estate, convenience and fuel, and software development in the past 15 years. 
    Before his election to the Euless City Council, Salman served on the Parks & Leisure Services Board, and has volunteered with 6 Stones, Boy Scouts of America, Young Entrepreneurs Academy and the Worldwide Education Fund. 
    Salman has lived on three continents, but Euless is his home, living here since 2010 with his wife Nima, their two children and his parents. 


Keep NLF dynamic and growing

      As you interact with business and community leaders who impress you, please invite them to our next meeting, which will be the Annual Meeting on March 29. These influencers are making a difference in our area, so let's invite them to participate in NLF. Membership is the lifeblood of our organization. For any prospective NLF members you may know, click here to download the membership application. We want both established and emerging leaders to continue joining our organization to further the dynamic growth of Northeast Tarrant County. 
     We ask you to welcome visitors and new members to our breakfast meetings because growing the power of networks is one of the main benefits of NLF.   

Mark Your Calendar

    The NLF Annual Banquet & Award Luncheon featuring Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale will be Friday, March 29, at The Marq in Southlake. To register, email For sponsorship opportunities, please contact John Fletcher at 817-205-2334.

    For 2019, all breakfast meetings will be at the Hurst Conference Center: Please notice that the first two of these meetings are not on the second Tuesday of the month. We ask you to mark your calendar accordingly.
  • Tuesday, February 19, at 7:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 7, at 7:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, August 13, at 7:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, October 8, at 7:30 a.m.
  • Friday, November 1: Heart of North Texas Conference

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