Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Servant Leadership: You Need To Be More Than You Are | By Guest Blogger Brook Thomas, News Director at KNWA/KFTA

 Brook Thomas

I answered a critical question incorrectly during my last job interview; "What does a News Director do?". Of course, my answer was pretty obvious; "Direct the overall news product." I mean...duh, right? Nope.

The corporate suit interviewing me coolly looked across the desk and said, "Brook, the primary role of a News Director is to make every individual on his team better". It was a defining moment in my career trajectory.
"What I know now that I didn't know then is the power of servant leadership."
Imagine a world where every leader pours everything they have into making their teams stronger. Instead of bullying, unrealistic demands or shaming - leaders focus on individual growth, equipping teams with tools and training to succeed and inspire genuine motivation.  What great heights would we achieve then?

To that end, I will share with you a few things I've learned along the way in the hopes that you will become a stronger servant leader.
  1. Listen. This is much harder than it sounds. Sometimes you're just too busy, too tired or too fed up with situations to take a moment to stop and listen to a team member. But listening is critical to servant leadership because it builds a mutual respect. You are actively validating their feedback. Most times you'll find telling someone "no" or "not right now" goes over much better if they feel their feedback was actually heard. And more often than not, you'll discover they have good feedback, innovative ideas and solutions to problems! 
  2. Respond. After you listen - act! Some actions are swift and simple. Fix a broken tool, update a communication breakdown or praise/correct a team member. Some actions are complex and take time to accomplish. Change a culture, invest in an individual, redefine company direction. In these cases, I've found open dialogue about the ongoing process is helpful. Let the team know there is progress! 
  3. Explain your decisions. You don't have to justify your decisions. But I have found an open and honest approach to the decision-making process has helped build an understanding of shared goals, shared obstacles, shared ethics and shared culture. I had a manager (years ago) tell me "No" to an idea I had. When I asked why, the answer I got was, "". Do you know what I learned in that exchange? Nothing that could help me grow and better benefit the company. But I learned volumes about the manager. At that moment I chose to stop contributing and stop caring. 
  4. Be selfless. Give the victories to your team. Take the failures for yourself. Give until you are utterly spent and then give more. Countless times during my morning drive to work I would pray that God help me be more than I am...because the team needs me to be more. 
And then an amazing thing happens.

The more you pour yourself into serving your team, the stronger they become. And as they each become stronger, so does the overall product.

Despite my failure to answer the most basic question correctly, the corporate suit gave me the job and told me to go lead.

But for me, that was the day I truly began to serve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Member Spotlight | Staples...that was easy!

By Marni Rogers
Member Relations Manager
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce

You gotta love their tagline and they really do make your shopping experience easy.  Staples is a big company with a big heart for their customers and supporting their local community.  The staff is always hospitable and eager to help.  I stopped in a few days ago for report covers and had a nice chat with the General Manager Tad Steffenson and learned they now carry Erin Condren’s personalized planners, stationary, notecards, and organizers!  Erin’s planner products keep getting hotter and hotter and Staples is selling her products at lower prices!  


As I talked with Tad about all the wonderful new products they were selling, I got to watch a store associate make room for a new line of home office products from Martha Stewart, so you have to stop by and check out these new hot items.  

Then our conversation turned to charitable talk and Tad shared about the Staples 2 Million & Change program where all the stores nationwide had the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant to be awarded to a local non-profit organization of their choice.  The Rogers store was so excited to receive the $5,000 grant and awarded it to the Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA).  They were blessed with $5,000 over the holidays and that’s not counting the donations received from the Christmas Tree Staples put up at the store in support of SDIA!  The story doesn't end there!  The store associates from all the stores voted for their favorite non-profit stories and SDIA was one out of the top five and now there will be a nationwide vote for the #1 non-profit story and that winner will receive another $5,000 donation.  The Rogers store is hopeful SDIA will get the most votes.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them!!   

Who is SDIA?  They are an awesome organization serving the needs of men and women serving in the military, law enforcement, fire & rescue and EMS services.  They are a community of people they call “Sheep Dogs.” For more information about SDIA, check out their website here.  

It was great getting updated on store products at Staples and hearing the wonderful story about SDIA but it was time to head back to work.  Tad helped me find the report covers I needed...making my shopping experience easy!  

If you haven’t signed up already, Staples has a Rewards Program that will save you money, offers free shipping, and rewards for recycling cartridges.  Check out their user-friendly website where you can shop online and save money!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Will "Arkansas Works" Work This Week?

Legislators will return to Little Rock tomorrow to begin the second week of the regular fiscal session of the Arkansas General Assembly.  Funding the appropriation for the Arkansas Works program, which was passed two weeks ago with a simple majority in a special legislative session, is the governor’s plan for Medicaid expansion in Arkansas. It will certainly be at the center of the debate again this week.
The appropriation bill (SB121) to fund Arkansas Works is contained in the overall budget for the DHS Division of Medical Services. Attempts to fund SB121 were derailed last week when an amendment to the bill failed to make it out of the Joint Budget Committee.  The amendment, which actually de-funds Arkansas Works, would allow senators who have been opposing the program to cast a vote for the appropriation in good conscience.  The Arkansas Constitution of 1874 requires a ¾ majority of both houses to pass an appropriation. Under this plan, the Governor could actually line-item veto the amendment, which would enable the original funding for Arkansas Works to be reinstated. An override of a Governor’s veto requires only a simple majority of both houses.  
It’s a long way to go around the barn to pass much-needed legislation, but neither the governor nor this group of senators has indicated they will compromise on funding the appropriation.  Will the governor get the votes for the amendment in committee? Assuming that he does, will the governor get the required votes for passage and for defeating the subsequent veto override? Will the legislative Democrats, who have been long-time supporters of Medicaid expansion and have seen their numbers dwindle in the last few years because of this being used as a campaign issue against them, go along with the governor’s plan?  Will this override plan survive a threatened legal challenge, which is a possibility that has been talked about, as well?  Will this solution hold? We will definitely know the answers to most of these complicated questions by the end of this week.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Arkansas Works Passes Both Houses of Legislature; Benton County Delegation Split in Support of Measure to Expand Medicaid

Members of the Arkansas General Assembly meeting in special session voted separately Thursday to approve House Bill 1001and Senate Bill 1, identical measures popularly known as “Arkansas Works”, which is Governor Hutchinson’s plan for Medicaid expansion in Arkansas.  The House voted 70-30 in favor of the measure.  Benton County Representatives Jana Della Rosa (Rogers), Dan Douglas (Bentonville), and Sue Scott (Rogers) voted in favor of passage.

Hendren Present SB 1.jpg

Senator Jim Hendren presenting SB1 to the Arkansas Senate

Representatives Robin Lundstrum (Springdale), Jim Dotson (Bentonville), Grant Hodges (Rogers), and Rebecca Petty (Rogers) all voted against the Governor’s plan.  Senator Cecile Bledsoe (Rogers), and Senator Bart Hester (Cave Springs) also voted against Senate Bill 1 which was sponsored by their fellow Benton County Senator, Jim Hendren (Sulphur Springs).

Senate Tote Board SB1.JPG

The Arkansas Senate Chamber “Tote Board” indicating how Senators voted on SB1

A simple majority is all that was required to pass the measure in both houses, but a ¾ majority will be required to pass the appropriation for funding the program. That appropriation will be debated in the regular fiscal session which begins next week in Little Rock.  Failure to fund the measure will have a serious impact on the Arkansas state budget. All of the legislators were presented with numbers projecting a possible budget shortfall of at least $150 million dollars should the program go unfunded. Legislators were also informed that number will grow exponentially in the coming years without the proper funding of Arkansas Works included in the budget going forward.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Member Spotlight

What's Cookin' at Cook's?

By Marni Rogers
Member Relations Manager
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce

Something new, organic, and healthy along with friendly staff is what's always cookin' at Cook's Natural Foods in Downtown Rogers.

Cook's is one of my favorite organic and whole foods store and have everything you would expect to find at a health food store. They have everything from organic locally-grown produce, organic baby foods, natural dog and cat foods, herbs and spices you can buy by the ounce, organic beauty products and essential oils, natural juices and natural energy drinks, to an endless list of dairy-free and meatless choices (you have to try the vegan'll want to eat it like candy). They have a frozen section with many organically-grown food choices, gluten-free foods, and the increasingly popular Gardein and Beyond Meats, and gluten-free breads and pizzas. They sell Angus Beef (cows are grass fed and their last 100 days are grain finished and the feed is non GMO with no growth hormones or antibiotics).

Check out the bulk section where you will find organic beans, rice, flours, coffee, teas, and much more. Usually, I empty the bin of what's ever left of the nutritional yeast because I love gobs of it on my air popped popcorn! Then there's the lunch menu which varies day-to-day but always a tasty variety.

Recently, I could feel a cold coming on and hurried to Cook's for advice on alternatives to boost my immune system but was looking for something stronger than echinacea and was shown Astragalus (from the Astragalus Root) and decided to try the herb and it gave my immune system the boost it needed and I never got sick.

Susana Cook, Owner of Cook's Natural Foods in Rogers
Cook's sees me at least once a week and I always find something new.  If they don't have what I need, they will order it for me to pick up at the store.

Check out their website!  They have a library of information on top health conditions and recommended products sold at the store to help treat conditions. The staff is very knowledgeable and always eager to empower me with valuable health information, so I can take better care of myself and be less dependent on the doctor.

What keeps me coming back is the caring staff, variety of healthy choices, and lower prices. Also, I'm supporting a woman-owned business who has been providing healthy alternatives and smart food choices in our community for 21 years!

If you are in the downtown area looking to shop healthy or grab a quick healthy lunch, remember Cook's Natural Foods.  You can follow them on facebook here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Special Legislative Session Begins Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Special Legislative Session on Governor's Arkansas Works Proposal Set for Wednesday; Fiscal Session and Another Possible Session to Follow.

By Jon Moran
Vice President of Government Affairs
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce

Governor Asa Hutchinson has called for a special session of the Arkansas General Assembly to consider legislation that establishes the framework for the Arkansas Works Program, which is the governor’s proposal for addressing the expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas.  This special session will begin on Wednesday, April 6, and is anticipated to run through Friday, April 9.  

This will also mark the beginning of several weeks of legislative activity in Arkansas, as the regular fiscal session is set to begin on April 13. Constitutionally, a special session can last up to 45 days, with only one allowed extension of up to 60 days. It is anticipated that the governor’s Arkansas Works legislation will pass the special session with the required simple majority, but it remains to be seen how the appropriation for the program will fare in the budgetary process of the fiscal session that follows. A three-fourths majority of both houses of the legislature is required to approve the appropriation for Arkansas Works.

The state budgetary implications surrounding the passage of Arkansas Works will determine whether the governor will call another special session to tackle highway funding later this year.  The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department will seek additional revenue to raise the state’s match to an anticipated $50 million dollars in new federal highway funds made available by Congress with the passage of a multi-year transportation funding bill last year. It’s about to become a truly busy April and May for the governor and the General Assembly.  

If you have questions about the special session or fiscal session coming up, please contact Jon Moran at 479-616-4484 or by email at

Monday, December 8, 2014

What if my business is located outside of Rogers or Lowell?  Can I still join the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce (RLACC)?

If you want to market to the Rogers-Lowell area, you should consider joining the RLACC Chamber.  Your business does not have to be located in Rogers or Lowell to belong to the RLACC Chamber.  Wherever you are located, we can make referrals to your business.   As of December 3, 2014, 45% of member businesses are located outside of the Rogers-Lowell area and 2% outside of Arkansas.  We make advertising your business easy and have advertising opportunities for every amount!  Visit us at to learn more about membership benefits.