September 2021 Newsletter
Greetings from your NLF Chair, Howard Shotwell
Welcome to fall – and the cooler weather arrived right on schedule this past Wednesday – the first day of the new season.

Some things are returning to normal while others continue to wait on more promising numbers on Covid cases. The City of Grapevine hosted Grapefest to a huge crowd and Southlake’s Art in the Square – presented by the Southlake Women’s Club – took place this past weekend, and Oktoberfest is just over two weeks away. And, of course, there’s plenty of high school, college and professional football!

At the same time, many of our healthcare facilities and other business sectors are still keeping their employees on-campus for work but not allowing them to attend community events. Still others are still working from home, while the vast majority are working from the office.

Let’s encourage our school administrators and teachers because they face a challenging task. It seems that about half of parents are adamant that students and teachers should wear masks in school, and at the same time, the other half are passionate that masks restrict freedom, give minimal benefit, and should not be required.

This is a case of alienating approximately half the public, no matter which decision you make. Let’s keep our leaders in our prayers as they face these and many more issues.

Since school is in session, that means that over 20 recipients are sitting in their trade school, community college or university classrooms with part of their education funded by an NLF Foundation scholarship. We raise money for these scholarships through the profitable operation of the Heart of North Texas Conference and our annual award luncheon.

Each of our area chambers of commerce is up and running with its leadership program, and NLF was delighted to provide a half scholarship for one class member in each chamber’s program. After all, leadership has always been a major focus of Northeast Leadership Forum.

I’m very grateful to Eli Mercer, RaDonna Hessel and Craig Hulse for finalizing our speakers for the Heart of North Texas that will take place on Friday, November 5. Please read below and let’s look forward to another awesome event.

This Thursday, September 30, will see us host a Membership & Networking Event at HG Sply, one of the most popular restaurants in Trophy Club. Please see details below, so please join our membership chairman, Shannon Watt, and dozens of our members for a favorite beverage and hors d’oeuvres.

Finally, let’s congratulate the Community Foundation of Texas for being the driving fund behind North Texas Giving Day this past Thursday, which raised over $66 million spread among over 3,000 local nonprofits!

-Howard Shotwell
Heart of North Texas Update
Eli Mercer and his fellow committee chairs RaDonna Hessel and Craig Hulse are are proud to announce the speaker line-up for our November 5 edition of The Heart of North Texas.

This year’s theme is Building for an Economic Boom, and our speakers will reinforce how we will prepare ourselves for immediate and long-term success and prosperity.
To provide quality opportunities to build relationships, our participants will enjoy networking breaks between speakers again this year.

Our keynotes and featured speakers consist of:
  • Breakfast Keynote: Leah King, CEO of the United Way of Tarrant County - How nonprofits and social service agencies will pivot according to community needs in a pandemic and post-pandemic environment

  • Featured Speaker: Dr. Lloyd Potter, Texas State Demographer - The impact of the 2020 Census on Texas and how population trends will impact us as citizens and in our businesses

  • Featured Education/Vocational/Industry Panel - The emphasis on technical skills training in existing classroom formats and customized training for local and regional employers. The panelists will be:
  • Dr. Eugene Giovannini, Chancellor of Tarrant County College District
  • Dr. Kenya Ayers-Palmore, President of Tarrant County College NE Campus
  • Ms. Shannon Bryant, Executive Vice President, Corporate Solutions and Economic Development for Tarrant County College District
  • Dr. Gayle Stinson, Superintendent of Birdville ISD
  • Dr. Robin Ryan, Superintendent of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD

  • Luncheon Keynote: Cybersecurity - How Vulnerable is YOUR Business or Organization? The panelists will be:
  • Brett Leatherman, Assistant Special Agent in Charge – Dallas FBI Office
  • Michael Moore, Founder/CEO of M3 Networks – subject matter expert on cybersecurity

We would like to thank the following sponsors and partners with NLF for their support of the Heart of North Texas Conference and scholarships for deserving students in NE Tarrant County:

Luncheon Sponsor
Texas Health Resources:
Texas Health HEB
Texas Health Southlake
Texas Health Resources Foundation

Breakfast Sponsor
Tarrant County College - Northeast
Networking Break Sponsors
  • Venture Business Impact (VBI)
  • Frost Bank
  • Glen Whitley, Tarrant County Judge
  • Ciera Bank
  • Gary Fickes, County Commissioner Precinct 3
  • Valliance Bank
Our table sponsors so far include:
  • United Way of Tarrant County
  • City of North Richland Hills
  • R&D Associates, Inc.
  • Accelerate DFW Foundation
  • Legend Bank
  • City of Haslet
  • City of Hurst
  • Cornerstone Wealth Strategies, LLC
  • City of Southlake
For information on sponsorships and tables, please email
Membership Drives the Influence of NLF

Our membership has grown by 20 new members over the past year, so please continue to invite colleagues and influential members of our community to join NLF.
Among these is our newest member, Dr. Kristen Bennett, Vice President of Advancement at Tarrant County College.
As you interact with business and community leaders who impress you, please invite them to our next breakfast meeting on Tuesday, October 12, at the Hurst Conference Center, featuring Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson.

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, and we are providing a valuable forum for new members to have close access to so many of the decision makers that shape the course of events in Northeast Tarrant County.

For any prospective NLF members you know, click here to download the membership application. We want both established and emerging leaders to continue to join our organization to further the dynamic economic growth of Northeast Tarrant County.

We ask you to warmly welcome visitors and new members to our breakfast meetings. Growing the power of networks is one of the main benefits of NLF.
Membership & Networking Event on Sept. 30

Please mark your calendar for Thursday, September 30, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., for our next social, to be held at HG Sply Co., one of the extremely popular restaurants in Trophy Club.

We are inviting board members from our chambers of commerce and LEADS groups to attend, so please follow up and invite leaders that you know.

This is our opportunity to invite prospective new members to visit over drinks and appetizers in a comfortable, casual setting. We’ll also be inviting both long-term and new members to join us.
Let’s look forward to introducing new prospective members to the powerful influence of Northeast Leadership Forum. For more information or to volunteer, please reach out to Shannon Watt, our Membership Director, at 817-733-8485.
Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson to Address October 12 Breakfast

Sharen Wilson, who we know as a member of NLF and as a strong and passionate public servant, will be our keynote speaker at the October 12 breakfast that will be held at the 7:30 a.m. at the Hurst Conference Center.
After 23 years on the bench as a criminal judge, where she was known as “the toughest judge in Tarrant County,” she took office as Tarrant County’s Criminal District Attorney in 2015. She said this office would be open and transparent and she would pursue justice for all – and she works to live up to those promises every day. She is the first woman to serve as Criminal District Attorney in Tarrant County since the office was established in 1919.
She will share insights on how issues currently facing her office will impact each of us as individuals and business leaders.
Committee Updates
  • Annual meeting will most likely take place in April under the leadership of Randy Clinton and his committee.

  • Programs: Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson will speak at our October 12 breakfast, arranged by Chair-Elect Shelby Bruhn
Roundtable Updates
  • Chamber of Commerce Roundtable: Presidents will meet this last week of September and presidents will meet along with their chairmen in December.

  • Mayors: Have all been busy dealing with the pandemic. While they have not met officially, they are communicating with one another on a regular basis.

  • Superintendents: Met in May and June and have invited Tarrant County College NE Campus President Dr. Kenya Ayers-Palmore to join the meetings, and she accepted. Dr. Gail Stinson is the new superintendent at Birdville ISD. Dr. Robin Ryan announced that a great number of students have lost a full year of educational progress and a significant number are taking this year off from school. Schools are recommending that these students consider taking classes at Tarrant County College.

  • Economic Development: There are new economic development directors in Bedford, Euless and Keller. The Eco. Dev. Members speak frequently on a one-to-one basis and will schedule their next meeting soon.

  • Nonprofits: The team is consulting with all our chamber of commerce members to update their lists of nonprofits.
Chamber of Commerce Resources

All our area chambers continue to be valuable resources for our businesses. These chambers can grow your business and expand your influence.
Please feel free to contact your local chamber of commerce by clicking on the link below to read the chamber’s information or to call their office number listed next to their name.
Our chambers of commerce are the voice of business for our communities, and we are indeed fortunate to have such committed and caring leaders as their presidents/executive directors and officers. 

Mark Your Calendar
2021 Membership Meeting:
Please arrive by 7:15 to mix and mingle!
7:30 a.m.
Hurst Conference Center
Keynote Speaker
Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson

Special Event:
Thursday, September 30, 2021
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
HG Sply Co. in Trophy Club

Annual Event:
Friday, November 5, 2021
8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hurst Conference Center