January 2021 Newsletter

I’m honored to serve as the Chair of the Northeast Leadership Forum after having been a member for close to 20 years. Our membership represents elected public officials, chamber of commerce and other nonprofit executives along with business owners and leaders from Northeast Tarrant County.

As you read this newsletter, you know that you are in outstanding company with your fellow difference-makers in our community. Membership means that you have direct access to the major decision-makers that impact your business and you as a resident.

We are approaching the March anniversary of COVID and the virus continues to impact our community, state, nation and the entire world. Tarrant County has partnered with the Hurst Conference Center to turn the entire venue into a COVID vaccine center that began two weeks ago and will continue through at least April 30.

The Northeast Leadership Forum is also affected as we have cancelled our January Board of Directors meeting and our February breakfast out of an abundance of caution. As case numbers continue to rise nationwide and here locally, we will not place our members and speakers in any position to compromise health or safety.

Please allow me to express my appreciation to last year's chair, Nick Sanders, for his excellent leadership and decision-making during a pandemic year that still featured our annual award luncheon, scholarship program and Heart of North Texas Business Conference. Very well done, Nick!

My points of focus this year will be on growing our membership, increasing our marketing presence and expanding the scope of our scholarship program. To achieve this, we will:

  • Ask each member to bring in one new member during this year
  • Promote NLF through a variety of platforms, from our own newsletter to mentions in Commissioner Fickes’ newsletter and those of our area chambers of commerce plus social media
  • Work with Tarrant County College to offer matching funds for recipients of our scholarship program that choose to study at a TCC campus
  • Expand our scholarship program to include new funding for workforce development
  • Solicit scholarship funds from workforce development sources that could benefit from TCC graduates, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, automotive and logistics

Just as it was with Nick and Vanessa before him, membership growth remains a major focus for NLF. As you serve on organization boards and committees, consider which of your fellow board members and volunteers would benefit from membership in Northeast Leadership Forum, and who will, in turn, bring value through their participation. To continue our dynamic influence, we must be relentless in recruiting new members and keeping our present members fully engaged.

Our February speaker – Ian MacLean, owner of Highland Landscaping in Southlake – has been rescheduled for May with the cancellation of our February breakfast. Ian was recently named Chairman of the United States Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. In this capacity, he is the “Voice of Small Business” for the entire nation.

NLF is a powerful organization because of how we impact our community. Our leadership roles in various city, county, education and nonprofit organizations, combined with our scholarship program, roundtables, our award luncheon and the Heart of North Texas Conference, confirm that we make a positive difference. 

Let's commit to being valuable resources during the balance of this pandemic. I appreciate what each of you does in Northeast Tarrant County and with NLF. Your commitment and passion for growing leaders in our region helps make us successful. If you have any ideas or suggestions or if I can be of help to you, please contact me at ghshotwell@gmail.com or (817-247-3240).

-Howard Shotwell
New Officers to Lead NLF into 2021

Following Nick Sanders' successful year that included impressive new membership growth, your NLF board of directors has elected the following officers for 2021:
Howard Shotwell
R&D Associates, Inc.
Shelby Bruhn
Valliance Bank
Eli Mercer
Venture Business Impact
Shannon Watt
Frost Bank
Past Chair
Nick Sanders
Former Mayor of Trophy Club
Committee Chairs for 2021 include:
Annual Meeting: Randy Clinton 
Membership: Shannon Watt 
Programs: Shelby Bruhn
Sponsorships: John Fletcher 
Chambers of Commerce: RaDonna Hessel 
Economic Development Directors: Craig Hulse 
Mayors: Linda Martin 
Nonprofits: Randy Clinton 
Superintendents: Dr. Robin Ryan 
Breakfast Meeting Speakers Attract Impressive Crowds

NLF members continue to praise the quality of programs that are driving increased attendance at our membership breakfasts. Please mark your calendar to attend our Tuesday, May 11, breakfast when our keynote speaker will be Ian MacLean, owner and CEO of Highland Landscaping in Southlake.

Ian, who is a member of NLF, was recently chosen to serve as Chairman of the Small Business Council of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Yes, a member of our own organization is now the “National Voice of Small Business,” so we have a stronger presence on the national stage than ever before.

He will address the impact of the PPP 2.0 small business loan program and the impact of the new Biden administration on small businesses.
Ian has served at a variety of committee and board levels of the Small Business Council for the past five years. He is a two-time past chairman of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce and has also chaired Southlake Oktoberfest – the #1 rated Oktoberfest in Texas and #4 in the nation – for the past seven years.

Please remember to RSVP and bring small business
guests to hear his powerful message.
Nominations Due for NLF Distinguished Leadership Award

Please devote some time to think about nominating the most deserving recipient for the NLF Distinguished Leadership Award, our highest honor. The award recognizes that person who has given many years of service to the Northeast Tarrant County area.
The selection criteria are as follows: 
  • Service in civic or educational roles, non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, elected office or other areas that allowed the individual to make general contributions to the quality of life and well-being of the residents of the Northeast Tarrant County area
  • Preferably, positive involvement in multiple areas of our community with innovative activities and leadership qualities
  • Various volunteer responsibilities and longevity in one or more organizations
We require two nominators for each candidate. Each nomination may also include up to three letters of support. For a list of previous honorees as well as the nomination information and form, please click here. Nomination forms may be emailed to Mary Frazior or mailed to the HEB Chamber office address below.

Northeast Leadership Forum
Distinguished Leadership Award
HEB Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Drawer 969
Bedford, TX 76095 
We were pleased to recognize Randy Clinton, CEO of The CEC (Community Enrichment Center), with the 2019 Distinguished Leadership Award.
NE Tarrant County Updates

  • The HEB ISD Board of Trustees was recently named the 2020 Outstanding School Board by the Texas Association of School Administrators. HEB ISD’s trustees were also state finalists in 1974 and 1983.

  • The City of Southlake is offering $1 million in its Southlake Business Relief Grant for businesses located in the city limits that were negatively impacted by the pandemic. The deadline to apply for the $10,000 maximum grants was extended from Jan. 15 to Jan. 29 – so this Friday.

  • The Hurst Conference Center has become a fulltime COVID vaccination site now through April 30 in order for area residents to have a large, comfortable venue in which to wait without standing outside in cold or rainy weather.
    Future Events:

  • Colleyville CEO (Colleyville Executive Organization) met Thursday, Jan. 14, and featured Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. The Feb. 11 breakfast speaker will be Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton with a State of the City message.

  • Southlake Executive Forum met in person on Thursday, Jan. 21, to hear from new Carroll ISD Superintendent Dr. Lane Ledbetter. The February program will feature Tarrant County Precinct 3 Commissioner Gary Fickes addressing the latest updates in the fight against COVID.

  • 1 Million Cups to Educate and Connect Local Entrepreneurs Free launched on January 20 in Northeast Tarrant County. The focus is to provide a forum for entrepreneurs to network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee. The program takes place at 9:00 a.m. each Wednesday, with two early-stage business start-up entrepreneurs presenting their concept to an audience of community-based members, advisers and fellow entrepreneurs.

  • City of Bedford announced plans for a performing arts center that is likely to be on the site of the Old Bedford School. City Council is in discussions for how to proceed.
Keep NLF Dynamic and Growing
As you interact with business and community leaders who impress you, please invite them to our next membership breakfast meeting on Tuesday, May 11. 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.
Please reach out to Shannon Watt, our membership chairman, if you have a prospect: shannon.watt@frostbank.com or 817-733-8485.
New Member Profiles

Kenya Ayers-Palmore, Ed.D. has served as President of the Northeast Campus of Tarrant County College in Hurst since July 2019. She has dedicated the last 32 years of her career to higher education administration, serving in positions as Dean of Students, Vice Provost, Dean for Academic Enrichment and Engagement and Vice President/CEO. 

Prior to assuming the presidency of TCC, she served for three years as Vice President and Chair of the Board for the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success (NECSS) in Chicago through William Rainey Harper College.
Dr. Ayers holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Michigan and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Eastern Michigan University. In addition, she earned a Doctor of Education in Administration and Supervision degree from The University of Houston.

She was ordained in ministry in 2007 and received life coaching training through the Institute for Life Coach Training (ILCT).

Dr. Ayers lives in Arlington with her beloved husband Sam and loves being Bonus Mom to Jade (17) and Samiya (13).
Tim Allen was named President/CEO of The CEC (Community Enrichment Center) this past October, succeeding Randy Clinton. He leads The CEC as a partner in change for low-income residents of Northeast Tarrant County.

Tim was previously Executive Director of Achieve f.k.a Citizen’s Development Center and business administrator for First United Methodist Church of Coppell. He has also served in executive leadership positions for Volunteer Center of North Texas, Children’s Oral Health Center, Children of Uganda, Dare to Dream Foundation and Buckner International.

This year marks his 30th anniversary of working with nonprofits. Tim attended Texas A&M University at Commerce, where he studied Business Administration.

He lives in Highland Village, by Lewisville Lake, and shares life with his wife, five adult children and is very proud of his six grandchildren.
Mark Your Calendar
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact John Fletcher at 817-205-2334.

2021 Membership Meetings:
(Please arrive by 7:15 to mix and mingle!)
Tuesday, May 11, at 7:30 a.m. - Keynote Speaker: Ian MacLean
Tuesday, August 10, at 7:30 a.m. - Keynote Speaker: To Be Announced
Tuesday, October 12, at 7:30 a.m. - Keynote Speaker: To Be Announced

Annual Events:
(Event Dates are Tentative)
Annual Award Luncheon
is being rescheduled due to the pandemic- is likely to be in April or May
Heart of North Texas
Friday, November 5, 2021

  • Feb. 11: Colleyville Executive Forum (IN-PERSON with VIRTUAL OPTION): State of the City by Mayor Richard Newton