• 23 Oct 2017 7:42 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

     When was the last time you took time for yourself? That's right... time, that precious commodity that you cannot control or ever experience again. Most of us get so caught-up in our jobs that unless a crisis or a tragedy  forces us to step back,  we just keep driving ourselves. The truth is that regardless of our profession or job,  it is important to our continued success that we take time for ourselves personally. Taking time for yourself has shown to rejuvenate and energize us and to allow us to be more creative and more productive.

     Why am I bringing this up now? Because as you head into the busiest retail season of the year, it's important to remember to keep everything in perspective.

    David Price, wellness expert and managing director of Health Assured, says it is really important to encourage employees to switch off  occasionally over the winter holiday period.

    "As with other key times of year, including summer holidays, it becomes easy to fall into the trap of allowing work to creep into our personal lives and not take the time we need to restore our batteries," he says. "Employers should  encourage employees to take time away from work, both for the good of their health and to maintain their levels of productivity.

    I hope all of us will bear this in mind as we start into this holiday season.

    Work hard,be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Executive Director

    Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce


  • 09 Oct 2017 3:39 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    Failure is  one word most of us have come to dread because it means we didn't succeed. We have become a generation wired for success.  The mere thought of failing can render us paralyzed. For some of us the "fear of failing" keeps us from trying. For many of us, from our earliest memories  we are pushed to be the best, get top grades, solve the problems, and win. Whether it be in school or in our jobs,  we are pushed to succeed. The pressure to succeed and not accept failure can negatively effect our abilities to take risks. When fear  takes over and becomes the driving force in our life, it takes our ability to be creative, to think outside of the box, to look for new things, and to motivate us to continue to seek new results. When you look at some of the most successful people in the world they had a healthy balance between success and failure. They accepted failure as part of their success. How do we embrace fear and use it to propel us to success?

    Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx,  told a story about growing up and her father who would ask her and her brother the same question every week, 

    "What have you failed at this week?" Blakely recalled in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday,  "My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is [when you are] not trying versus the outcome. It's really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life." Said Spanx' founder. Blakely's embrace of failure helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America.

    I wish we could all take that lesson. Consider where we can we go if we are not afraid to fail.


    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Executive Director, Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

  • 02 Oct 2017 10:11 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

     Even though the season for farmers markets is coming to an end  some of the vendors have found a way to parlay their micro-businesses into a full time endeavor.  According to an article about farmers markets from the USDA, "Last Sunday, CBS News featured USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan and discussed how farmers markets are part of a fundamental shift in the way people access their food and interact with their community.  And, as the story notes, "... [f]armers markets and other forms of selling straight to customers are helping to keep farmers in business,". For entrepreneurs that are producers if they are able  to find the right product mix for consumer demand, they can develop a sound business, create new jobs, and grow successfully." That's just what the Blue Ridge Fudge Lady and Lizard Licks were able to successfully accomplish after being a part of the Marketplace.  I'm bragging  about the fact that the Marketplace was an incubator for two of our Chamber members,  The Blue Ridge Fudge Lady and Lizard Licks. They have been so successful as a matter of fact that they were both nominated for "2017 Small Business of Year Award". To think they got their start at a farmers market! 

    Join us in congratulating the  two other nominee's, Mountain 2 Island  and Ok Barber Shop! What an exciting line up of Small Businesses! You'll have to wait until November 16th to find out who is the 2017 Small Business of the Year.  If you haven't' made your reservation for this event please do so because as of now there are only 10 reservations available. 

     Work hard Be productive and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Executive Director 

    Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 26 Sep 2017 10:10 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    Recently my dad, Pops, came for a visit and was detained by the weather; he had to stay a bit longer then he expected. Pops loves sports, and detests watching the news; this was a problem because I had recently downgraded to basic cable... so, guess what? No ESPN!

    As you can imagine this was not acceptable.  Simply, he's at the time of his life where he no longer wants to hear all the bad news and the and all the blankety-blank heard in the daily media. Instead, he likes to immerse  himself in the world of sports.  Especially football. To him sports are like a clear-cut business proposition that takes planning and proper execution. Best of all, there are no politics on the field.

    He views sports as the ultimate escape where teams are strategically built and strong, quality, leadership is respected. Camaraderie is embraced, and can be the difference between winning and losing. This is where on-field strategies and manipulations are spirited, good sportsmanship is rewarded, and a place where the fans' decorum is clearly defined by wearing team colors, cheering or jeering, and enjoying favorite beers, hot dogs and special football snacks. Here, a couple of hours of watching the game is meant to sweep us away from all the stress and harsh realities faced in our daily lives, and allow us escape into a world where rules and regulations  are clearly defined. I'm sure Pops is not alone in his feeling about the games. However with all the political controversy surrounding sports these days, the focus has become more and more political, essentially altering the focus of the fan base. I wonder what the ultimate effect will be on the outcome of the game and on the sponsors. How will sports continue to appeal to the fan base, providing the escape from politics and bad news when every game opening is another protest?  Perhaps that is also a question on every sponsors' mind as they scramble with marketing teams to find ways to limit the negativity.  

    Work hard, be productive and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Executive Director 

    Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 19 Sep 2017 11:23 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    It is hard to write a message that speaks to the gravity of today, Monday, September 11,  while at the same time, knowing that destruction and havoc is reigning down on our friends and families in the south. How can we pay homage to this day and assist our neighboring states at the same time? This  quote from one of our former President's, in his 2011 radio address, speaks to that and is simply stated, “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit that followed 9/11”.  Follow your heart if you are in a position to donate to those caught in Harvey and Irma’s paths. Dennis Bane, a realtor with Century 21 Valley Real Estate in Dublin, has established a site for donations.  If you can’t make a donation then perform a random act of kindness in honor of 9/11. 

     Last week, Pulaski County welcomed Koinonia, a Brazilian Company that manufactures industrial-use materials, to our area; this new company will bring in 40 new jobs. Our community has the distinction of being chosen as the first US site for this company. Please join me in welcoming Koinonia and Brazil to our growing manufacturing community that includes Australia, Mexico, Sweden, Germany and Poland. 

    As many of you know, we delayed our golf tournament, typically held in the spring, and instead moved it to fall. This change was a response to the uncertainty of the former Pulaski County Club, but we anticipated with hope that it would remain open as a golf course. On  Friday, September 8th,  we were ecstatic to hold our tournament at the newly purchased Thorn Spring Golf Club, now a public facility. This tournament showed the full support of our membership to the new owner, who has made a substantial investment in our community, even though many golf clubs across the nation are struggling. Holding the tournament at Thorn Spring Gold Club proved to be a great decision; it was absolutely one of our best tournaments. Many thanks to the new owner, Matthew Sales, who went out of his way to make everyone feel welcome and to ensure that they had great time. We couldn’t have asked for a better day, from the weather to the camaraderie. 

    Congratulations to: Hodge Insurance for taking first place and taking home the Traveling Trophy;  to 2nd Place winner, Electro-plate Rite; and to the 3rd place winners Appalachian Machining.        

    There is one more announcement ---

    SAVE THE DATE

    The 65th Annual Meeting & Banquet will be held on November 16th, 2017 

    at the new Customer Experience Center, Volvo.

    Mark your calendar now

    Work Hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.


  • 06 Sep 2017 1:49 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members: 

     At one time or another we have all encountered someone with narcissistic personality disorder,  better known as NPD. It is not surprising to learn that NPD is reaching epidemic proportions in our society. Apparently this prevalence of this phenomenon has been increasing since the 1970s, and has seen significant increases even more recently with reality TV and social media, making the chances of you running into someone with NPD pretty high.

    Knowing and dealing with someone with NPD is challenging, especially in the workplace. Several different types of NPD have been identified, but all have one thing in common...they love themselves. According to Vanessa Edwards, blogger and author of blog post, How to Deal with Narcissism in the Workplace, "Narcissists are commonly charismatic and charming, with considerable abilities to influence, cajole and persuade others. They are also often highly intelligent and gifted communicators. Many narcissists become very successful in terms of wealth, status or fame. They believe and act upon the belief that they are above the law, regulations and social norms, and only have to adhere to their own personal desires. As a result, they engage in destructive behaviors, often without consequences, which reinforces for them that they can "get away" with anything."

    The fact that individuals who are narcissistic have their own reality, separate and apart from the rest of humanity, is where the problem lies. This is especially true when their reality is threatened.  People with this disorder may use aggression, anger, and abuse to control other people and are, "...stunned by society's insistence that they should be held accountable for their actions." When others attempt to hold them accountable, they act like a victim, believing they were injured unfairly and unjustly, " according to Edwards. This behavior is much like the criminal's actions, who commits robbery over and over, because the law doesn't apply to him. After all laws are for other people.

    While some may be reluctant to think of someone as having the characteristics of NPD,  but As the saying goes, "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck"!  So, when one sees these signs, it is wise to protect oneself,  and understand what may be present.  Depending on the severity of the person with characteristics of NPD, There are a couple of things you can do: 1) First and foremost,  know that YOU aren't at fault. People with NPD can only feel good about themselves by making you feel bad.   2) Document all you interactions. 3) Avoid confrontations, simply walk away. 3) Don't correct or challenge them in front of other people. 4) If you are young or early in your career -look for another job. 5) Reread number 1 over and over!

    The good news is that in many cases, eventually a person with NPD will be discovered and revealed, and all you can do is hope that it is before they negatively impact the business or company, but often it won't be without fatalities.  After all, you can't build a lasting image in sand.

    Work hard, be productive,  and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Executive Director, Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskchamber.info 


  • 29 Aug 2017 9:42 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

     I moved my daughter into school last week and as you can imagine it created quite a stir of emotion as well as evoking a  time of personal reflection.  When I looked back over the years to that time period in my life,  and I thought about the one thing that prepared me for the future, I was surprised; it was my job. I worked to pay for school  and my expenses, so I needed a job that had limited hours and excellent pay. I found that with waitressing and later bar tending.  Little did I know then that I was learning interpersonal skills far beyond what the classroom could ever teach me.  Where else could an 18 year old be exposed to the diversity of people that crossed socio-economic levels, ethnicities, cultures, professions and abilities. It was a virtual playing field for understanding social and human behavior, while being humbled. It is those interactions while waiting table that gave me insight into people's true characters.

    Apparently, I'm not the only one that has recognized the value of social interactions in a dining room.  Recently, I read in Forbes that Americans have become more and more consumed with their image and that food and entertaining is considered a measure of success. Not surprising considering that more business is conducted while sharing a meal in executive dining rooms, homes, clubs, and restaurants than anywhere else. Client relationships are built over food, so  dining can segue into closing a business deal or increasing sales. Don't underestimate the value of food and etiquette. The top management for many Fortune 500 companies take potential front line employees or new hires to lunch or dinner to observe their comfort level with executives, spouses and wait staff. Conversing around a meal is a great way to observe not only etiquette, but how one interacts with people in authentic situations.  Our manners speak volumes about us as a professional and what type of person we truly are.  Being pleasant with your boss and then speaking condescendingly to a waiter will probably send someone with  behavior packing. It is important for all of us to remember that one's status does not dictate how that person deserves to be treated.

    Work hard be productive and above all else stay positive.


    Peggy White

    Executive Director 

    Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 22 Aug 2017 8:53 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    This is one of the favorite parts of my job -  announcing  the nominee's for our annual awards. I love it! It is such an honor and privilege to work with these individuals, businesses and organizations that have left their mark on our community.  They have raised the bar and contributed their knowledge in areas like marketing and outreach,  shown good and ethical business practices, shown management skills that are conducive to creating positive work environments and have found ways contribute to the community as a whole. These nominee's exemplify what we all as individuals, businesses and organizations should strive to be.

     Please join me in congratulating this years 2017 nominee's:

     Community Impact

    Blue Ridge Mountains Council -Boy Scouts

    Friends of Peak Creek

    Jubilee Christian Center

    Pulaski County Humane Society

     

    Small Business Of the Year

    Blue Ridge Fudge Lady

    Lizard Licks Snowballs

    Mountain 2 Island

    Ok Barber Shop

     

    Business Excellence

    NAPA Auto Parts

    Pulaski Yankees

    Tuck's Collision

     

    2017 Business Executive of the Year

    Frank Giannini

    Joseph Levine

    Scott Seegmiller

     

    Work hard be productive and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Executive Director 

    Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 09 Aug 2017 9:40 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

     In the world of business today the daily stresses and pressures that we face can be overwhelming. How do you deal with that?  At the PC Chamber, "laughter" has become the key ingredient to creating a productive and stress free environment.  Having a good sense of humor is a must and finding the lighter side of things has become common practice.  As a matter of fact before writing this I reached out to my colleagues current and former and asked them, "do you remember a time that could have been stressful and yet we found humor in a tough situation and were able to laugh?"  I was surprised at their responses and just how many times we were able to look at a negative situation and turn it around to find the the humor and laugh out loud! Some folks think we have too much fun but rally it is all in how we handle the situations and our attitudes. 

     In an article by Kimmel & Associates, "How Can Laughter Be Good for Business?" they listed these observations:

    Laughter...

    • Releases endorphin, allowing you to instantly feel happier.

    • Relieves stress, so you don't get overwhelmed.

    • Promotes creativity from being in a more relaxed state.

    • Inspires you to see the world from a different perspective.

    • Helps create bonds with others.

    • Improves your health to keep headaches and illness at bay.

    • Clears your head so you can be more productive.

    It certainly works for us. Having a sense of humor and being able to laugh at yourself or just find the light side of a situation can really create the perfect workplace environment. How many of you have found yourself laughing at work? Maybe when we get caught up in the stresses that we face we need to be reminded of this quote from Mark Twain:  [Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon-laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution-these can lift at a colossal humbug-push it a little-weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

     Peggy White

    Executive Director, PCCC

    Peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info

    540-674-1991


  • 03 Aug 2017 1:42 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

     Over the years the term leadership has been studied through different core leadership theories, and the meaning of leadership continues to evolve. When you look at the historical trends of leadership,  the initial and first form identified was from Galton's Great Man theory (K. E. Clark & Clark, 1990). "Leadership was royalty, battlefield heroes, and other wealthy and successful individuals who were thought to possess inherent talents and abilities that set them apart from the population at large."  Although the theoretical keystones of leadership  have changed over time, in many ways the basic functions of leadership-providing direction, decision making, establishing goals, communicating and resolving conflict- have not changed.

     In today's business world, leadership is characterized by using either a Transformational Approach, meaning they focus on initiating change in an organization or a Transactional Approach, meaning they work with thin the existing system. Another approach worth mentioning is the Charismatic Approach. Regardless of the approach, the bottom line is that true leaders impact the people around them, whether  it be positively or negatively.

     It would be nice to think that with all the information available, and all the research pertaining to leadership, that people would invest in themselves, lose their egos, and develop their skills to lead in  beneficial ways.  However, after reading an article by Jay Baugham, "Pitting People Against Each Other, Why Do It" I was shocked about an experience he shared. He cites witnessing a youth football team training together. The youths had varying and different skill levels and abilities. The team strategies that the coaches employed were to pit the youngsters against each other under the premise of motivation and teamwork.  They did this by poking fun and highlighting failures and weaknesses, all in the name of bringing the players out of themselves and pulling them together as a team.  Really? I liken that type of leadership to my own fish bowl theory, where rather than giving direction, feedback or positive motivation,  leaders gather all the beta fish, throw them in a bowl together, and watch to see which one will survive. 

     Iwan Baranskay, management professor at Wharton, gave some of the best feedback on these tactics through one of his studies, "Rankings and Social Torment". He found that  giving workers feedback about their performances relative to their peers has quite the opposite effect. As a matter of fact it causes workers to become complacent and de-motivated, and even created depression. Complacency and depression are not the two words you want to hear about your workforce.

     The most valuable insight any leader can have is the understanding that leadership has an impact, and that impact, whether positive or negative, will have repercussions relative to the success of an organization.  Leadership is not easy;  it requires an individual to put aside natural human tendencies, ego and look at the bigger picture.  Good leaders maintain ethics and morals while at the same time being transparent. Effective leadership requires  you to lead with your heart and know that is strength.

    Eiji Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President, said "Doing the right thing, when required, is a calling from on high. Do it boldly, do as you believe, do as your are." 

     Work hard, be productive, but above all else stay postie

    Peggy White

    Executive Director

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

4440 Cleburne Blvd., Dublin, VA 24084

540-674-1991

info@pulaskichamber.info 

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