Nominate a Successful Woman Today for the Community Impact Award

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The SWL Community Impact Award, presented by Woods & Associates was established to celebrate women who are having an impact on our community. Not just the women who we hear their names and see their faces, but also the unsung heroes. The women who stand in the shadows, but are leaving behind a legacy of helping our community and the people in it. 

Do you know a woman who fits this description? Nominations for the Successful Women’s Community Impact Award are open now. The criteria for the award is very simple, the nominees must be doing something to make an impact on the lives of people living in Broken Arrow.

CLICK HERE to NOMINATE

The Community Impact Awards is the next step for the Successful Women’s Lunch series. It is recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of amazing women. The series was started almost three years ago with a one-time event to hear from Jill Donovan from Rustic Cuff, Shannon Wilburn from Just Between Friends and Lisa Riley from Pinot’s Palette. It was a huge success and has been followed by some amazing women and amazing stories. The stories have inspired us, motivated us and left us wanting more.

The Community Impact Awards is the next step for the Successful Women’s Lunch series. It is another way to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of amazing women.

Mark your calendar to attend the SWL Community Impact Awards on Dec 1st

Community Impact Awards
Thursday, December 1st, 11:00am – 1:00pm
Central on Main – Ballroom
210 N Main St, Broken Arrow OK
Cost: $18 (Chamber Members); $23 (Non-Members)

State Questions You Should Understand

When you vote on November 8th, you will find before you a number of state questions.  Some of them have had a great amount of publicity, while others have not.  Please take the time to educate yourself on each of them.  Here’s a brief rundown on a few of the questions:

SQ792 –  Alcohol Modernization; This will allow liquor stores to sell cold beer as well as non-liquor items like mixers, soft drinks, limes, cork screws, etc.  It will also allow grocery stores to sell high-point beer and wine.  Our Chamber, through our work with the Regional One Voice Agenda, has been pushing for liquor reform for several years.

SQ779 – Education Sales tax; This will increase the state sales tax by 1% and direct the revenue to common ed, higher ed and career tech.   It raises the minimum teacher salary by $5,000 per year.

SQ777 – Oklahoma Agriculture (Right to Farm);   Creates a constitutional protection for farming and ranching in Oklahoma and guarantees the rights to make use of agricultural technology, livestock procedure and ranching practices.

SQ790 – Religious Use of State Property;   This is in response to the court ruling that required the removal of the Ten Commandments Statute from the state capitol grounds.   It repeals a section of the state constitution that prohibits the use of public property for religious purposes.

These four state questions will most likely receive the bulk of the advertising that you will over the next month.  There will be millions poured into advertising.   Please read about them and don’t necessarily believe everything that you hear and see—after all, it is campaign season!


Wes Smithwick is President and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

 

Thurmond Honored as 2016 Mayor of the Year

The Mayor’s Council of Oklahoma announced that Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond has been selected as the 2016 Mayor of the Year.

“I can’t think of a more deserving public servant than Craig Thurmond, who is one of the hardest working people I know,” said Vice Mayor Richard Carter. “So much of the success that’s happened in Broken Arrow is directly related to Mayor Thurmond’s ability to forge partnerships and get things done. I’m proud to serve alongside him in the Broken Arrow City Council.”

Mayor Thurmond was elected to the Broken Arrow City Council in 2001. He has served as Mayor since 2012, focusing on Economic Development and Public Safety. Mayor Thurmond serves on 18 local and national boards, councils and committees. He has worked in the land development and construction industries for 35 years in Oklahoma and California.

Click here to read the complete article on the City of Broken Arrow’s website.

Broken Arrow Raises the Bar

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Tomorrow- Wednesday September 21st, Broken Arrow raises the bar again when we open the Rose District’s newest attraction, the Rose District Fountain. There is nothing like it in the Metro area.

Five years ago, your BA Chamber led a delegation of community leaders on a fact-finding trip to the Dallas area to look at revitalized main streets. We put together a vision that included many attributes, including landscaping, outdoor dining, etc. And, it also included a water feature of some type. Since that time, Chamber leadership has continued to push for some type of fountain when funds became available. Why? People love to hang out around water. Tomorrow night our vision becomes a reality!

If you’ve noticed construction in the Rose District Plaza area over the summer, you will see that it is now complete. When the barricades come down tomorrow, you will see a 20 foot by 60 foot “zero grade” interactive water feature. It has nearly 70 nozzles and state-of-the-art LED lighting that will create what will soon be the iconic feature of the Rose District.

During the daytime, I envision stay-at-home moms and their children playing there. In the evening, I’m betting we will have people hanging out after dinner or just stopping by to see the vivid colors. It is nothing short of spectacular!

Please join us tomorrow at 7:30pm for the ribbon cutting and opening celebration. Your chamber pushed hard to make this a reality. City leadership worked collaboratively to make this happen. And surplus Vision 2025 funds paved the way. Together, let’s celebrate continued success in our growing community.


Wes Smithwick is President and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

 

2016 Broken Arrow Visitor Survey

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In an effort to continually improve the experience for individuals who visit Broken Arrow, the Broken Arrow Convention and Visitors Bureau is conducting research and would like you help. If you are a resident of Broken Arrow, please take a moment to answer a few questions about the community. Also, if you have out of town guests who have visited in the last 3 years, will you please forward this survey to them so the BA CVB can learn more about their experience.

The survey will be available until September 30th and in appreciation of your time, you will be registered to win one of two $250 VISA gift cards.

Click Here to take the survey.

Think Your Business is Too Small to Get Hacked? You’re Wrong!

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Remember when it was highly unlikely that an average American small business was a target for cyber-attacks? Well, those days are long gone. According to Symantec, a global security company, the last five years have shown a steady increase in attacks targeting businesses with less than 250 employees.

There are many ways that attacks can be carried out. Hackers can be so devious that it may take a while before you are even aware that your business has been compromised. One disturbing fact, reported by CompTIA, is that the primary cause of security breaches is typically human error (58 percent) versus technology error (42 percent). The lack of awareness among business owners and their employees, along with no existing cyber-security plan, is what attracts hackers the most.

Here are two common cybersecurity threats that everyone should be aware of:

Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a crime-ware technique to steal the identity of a target company to get the identities of its customers. The scam typically comes through as a fraudulent email message that appears to be sent from a legitimate source. The message will usually direct you to click on a malicious link that may install malware or take you to a site that’s set up to trick you into divulging personal and financial information.

Ransomware
Ransomware, or data-kidnapping, is a way for hackers to generate revenue by hijacking computers. It is a malware that installs covertly and then restricts access to your computer system until a sum of money is paid. It is important to note that the FBI recently stated that if you encounter a ransomware attack you should refuse to pay the ransom and immediately contact the FBI or file a complaint on the federal government’s website.

So what can you do about the growing threat of cyber-attacks? Here are some best practices you can follow to help protect your business:

• Always use antivirus software
• Always use a device firewall
• Keep your operating systems and software up to date (yes, this includes Mac’s)
• Educate your employees
• Never download pirated or cracked software
• Don’t click on pop-up windows that tell you that your computer is infected
• Be careful with email attachments
• Don’t use public Wi-Fi hotspots without using a secure connection (exp. VPN)
• Use passwords on everything and be sure they’re strong
• Beware of what kind of info you share on social media
• Review your online accounts and credit reports regularly
• Backup your data

Many organizations don’t fully understand the importance of their data, systems and infrastructure until they are brought to a standstill when things go wrong. Cyber-attacks can damage reputations, destroy customer trust, and affect revenues, which is why it is crucial for your business to know where your weaknesses are and proactively protect your environment.


Eric Kehmeier is the Founder and President of Integrated Business Technologies (IBT), a leading provider of information technology and professional services to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma. He has been honored by the Tulsa Regional Chamber as the 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the year, the Broken Arrow Chamber 2014 Business Person of the year, 2012 Men of Distinction Honoree, and named a top up-and-coming professional under 40 by the Tulsa Business Journal.

The Secret to Success

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I’m frequently asked why Broken Arrow has accomplished so much this decade.  Even with Broken Arrow’s extremely fast growth, we have continued to grow our job base, our retail shopping opportunities and our residential areas.  All the while, we have created and grown the Rose District, the envy of every community in the area, developed the Stony Creek Hotel and conference center, widened streets and improved quality of life.  Broken Arrow Public Schools has built a number of new schools and overhauled essentially every facility since 2009.  We also continue to retain, attract and grow quality, high-paying, advanced manufacturing jobs.  How does all of this happen?

It is not that difficult in concept–but is difficult in practice.  For many years our community leaders worked independently of each other and didn’t coordinate planning.  Several years ago, our leaders figured out that we must collectively share a vision of what it is we wish to accomplish.  Essentially everything we do today is based on this premise.  We call it, “the three legged stool.”   For us to move our community forward, we need our three leadership entities, The Chamber, The City and The Schools, working together and supporting each other.  This requires frequent and candid dialogue.

Our community leaders regularly visit and meet with each other.  We share and solve problems together.  We debate issues.  And, we collaborate at Chamber-sponsored events each year to guide our efforts.  These combined efforts are good for our community’s continued growth and it is good for the taxpayer.


Wes Smithwick is President & CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

 

Meet the Staff – Leona Nash

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Leona Nash is usually the first face you’ll see when you visit our office.  Below, she answers the burning questions you’ve been meaning to ask her:

What is your role at the Chamber?

I am the Membership Coordinator; it’s my job to help ensure existing members are satisfied and to address members’ concerns to make sure their experience as members is profitable to all interested parties. I also oversee the Ambassador Club at the Chamber.

Where did you go to school and what did you study? Where have you worked previously?

I attended Broken Arrow High School and Studied Behavior and Guidance at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa.  I worked previously as the Executive Assistant to CEO and CFO at Promise Hotels Management.

What do like best about your job?

What I like most about working at the Chamber is the relationships I am creating with our members and getting to be a part of all the wonderful events we have.

When you are not at the Chamber, what do you enjoy doing?

When I am not at the Chamber I enjoy spending time with my family.  I also do BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). I am also a part of a Jeep Club and go mudding and trail riding often. 

What is a little known fun fact about yourself?

I’m adopted!


If you have any questions for Leona or would just like to say hello, she can be reached at 918-251-1518 or leona.nash@bachamber.com.

Meet the Staff – Beth Dancer

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Beth Dancer is our Membership Development Director extraordinaire.  She recently sat down to answer some important questions:

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I grew up in East Tulsa and attended Mayo, Skelly and Nathan Hale. I then attended TJC which is now TCC for 2 years, OSU for a year and finished at NSU through UCAT with a teaching degree. (I am so dating myself here….)

What have you done previous to joining the staff at the BA Chamber?

While student teaching I became pregnant and thus decided to postpone starting my teaching career to be a “stay at home mom”… Thankfully I was able to do this for many years and assist my then husband with his growing business. A few years ago I decided I was ready to start searching for my career and enjoyed selling billboards for Stokely, and recruiting for TRAC Staffing in Tulsa. All along I knew I wanted a position where I could connect with people, make a difference, and nurture relationships that would be beneficial and rewarding to us both. I am happy to say that I believe God led me to the perfect position here at the BA Chamber and I am looking forward to meeting many new people and helping to make a difference in their partnership with the BA Chamber and our community.

What do like best about your job?

I love meeting new people, listening to their needs / concerns, and helping them find solutions which ultimately enable their business to grow.

When you are not at the Chamber, what do you enjoy doing?

You can usually find me at a sporting event watching one of my kiddos, exercising, or hanging out with family and friends. I have been a “grand-laker” for over 20 years and enjoy spending time with family and friends at my family lakehouse in Duck Creek on Grandlake O’ the Cherokees!

What is a little known fun fact about yourself?

When I was 15 I went sailing on a catarmaran sailboat with some friends. A storm came and we floated out to sea… We were rescued by a freightliner. Be careful when you rent sailboats….haha!


If you have any questions for Beth (that haven’t been covered here), or would just like to say hello, she can be reached at 918-893-2116 or beth.dancer@bachamber.com.

 

Expanding Your Professional Network…without Breaking out in Hives!

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Before coming to work at the BA Chamber, the idea of “networking” was not only foreign to me, it made me break out in hives. Literally…HIVES! If I didn’t have an immediate need for your product or service, then I didn’t want to have coffee or lunch to learn more about it. I didn’t mind meeting you, but I absolutely did not want to be sold anything. My thinking was only about what needs I had at the time. I have since learned that networking is about way more than my needs, it is about expanding your professional relationships…your professional network.

It is no secret that Chambers of Commerce are known for being a great place to network. Although networking is not the primary focus of the work we do at the BA Chamber, we do offer many ways for you to meet business professionals. One successful program we offer is the Leads Groups. We have both a breakfast group and a lunch group. They are helpful to members in a number of ways, including:

•  expand their professional networking

•  generating leads for each other

•  encouraging one another in business success

•  supporting each other as they launch new marketing and sales efforts

I often say the members of the leads groups become each other’s “business best friends” as they are there to support each other in any way possible.

If you or a member of your team is interested in joining a leads group, please call us at 918-251-1518 or email us at connect@bachamber.com and we will get you the information you need. The leads groups are industry exclusive, so you will be the only person in the group representing your product or service. We encourage you to take this step in expanding your professional network.


April Sailsbury is Senior Vice President of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

 

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