Ruth Ellen Whitt
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PROFILE: Pinson Razaq

   

PROFILE IN LEADERSHIP
Pinson Razaq, Board President
Leadership Texarkana    
                        


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LIFT Elevates Strategic Economic Development Initiatives

By Gary Stading, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Business at Texas A&M University - Texarkana

Motivated by a “what if” proposition in conversation among Leadership Texarkana’s LIFT Team (Leadership Initiative for Texarkana) and the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Texarkana hosted a forum of multiple groups from Texas and Arkansas on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, to discuss information related to economic development needs and opportunities in the Texarkana region.  The meeting was highly energetic with a strong focus on inclusiveness in bringing regional resources together to increase economic development in the Texarkana region. 

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LT E-News: November 2015

LIFT: For the Love of Texarkana

by David Orr
City of Texarkana, TX

When we are loved, we thrive. When cities are loved, they thrive as well. For the Love of Cities, a book by Peter Kageyama,explores the love affair between people and their places. One of the central questions in the book is what makes our cities and communities lovable? To answer this question, the book explains we should recognize that we are all in a relationship with the place in which we live.

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LIFT: Dine on the Line

by Lee Medley

One Table.  Two States. One Epic Toast.  This is the essence of Main Street Texarkana’s annual fund raiser and its new event “Dine on the Line”.  Often, we as a community look at the State Line as something that divides us and brings more red tape and hoops to jump through.  We overlook just how unique and special State Line Avenue makes our community.  We want to do something that highlights not how the State Line divides, but how the State Line brings us together.  What better way to bring people together than to sit down and eat a meal, raise a glass, and have a good time.  And while we are at it, do it right on top of the border that joins our twin cities.  

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Leadership Texarkana Hosts 5th Annual Lunch with Leaders as part of LIfT; Honors Local Citizens with Awards for Community Leadership

 
Media Contact:
Louise Tausch, Awards Chair
Ruth Ellen Whitt, Executive Director
Phone:  903-792-0011
 
Leadership Texarkana Hosts 5th Annual Lunch with Leaders as part of LIfT; Honors Local Citizens with Awards for Community Leadership
 
Texarkana, USA – April 8, 2014 – Leadership Texarkana celebrated local excellence in leadership at the 5th Annual Luncheon with Leaders at Texarkana Country Club on April 8.
 
The Luncheon was held as part of Leadership Texarkana's Leadership Initiative for Texarkana (LIFT), in the spirit of broadening the community conversation about our community's future beyond the 500+ graduates of Leadership Texarkana, to include leaders from all walks throughout the greater Texarkana community.   The featured speaker was Bill Cork, CEO of TexAmericas Center since 2003. His presentation, titled "Creative Disruption: How a strong town can implement disruptive policies without losing good will," challenged all to think differently about the street at the end of a driveway and why it matters.  The luncheon also featured a LIFT-motivated document, Focus for our Future, reflecting the long-expressed desires of our community's citizens for pursuing excellence, pride and progress in our area. The question posed was "Will you own it?" LIFT emphasizes focusing on changing the mindset of the community to consciously reap mutual benefits while working together at every level. 
 
Part of the celebration included the awarding of The Idalee Hawkins Award and the Wilbur Awards.  The Idalee Hawkins award is given annually to outstanding alumni of the Leadership Texarkana program as selected by the previous recipients of the award.  This award is given in memory of Idalee Hawkins who set a lasting example for her willingness to give of herself for her family and community.
 
The Wilbur Award is given in memory of Wilbur Smith, noted community volunteer and historian.  Celebrating the power of one to positively impact our community, the Wilbur Smith award is given to an adult, a group and a youth recipient of the public-at-large whose actions have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the community. 
 
This year the Idalee Hawkins honoree was Curt Green. Mr. Green is the owner of Curt Green & Company, LLC, a Commercial Real Estate Company. He has developed/constructed over 200 properties in fourteen (14) states.  He is Past Arkansas/Oklahoma Chairman for the International Council of Shopping Centers, serving about 600 members representing retail tenants, developers and construction companies.  He was chairman of the I-49 International Coalition representing Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri.  From 2003-2005 Mr. Green was Arkansas State Chairman for the National Federation of Independent Business and is a member of NFIB Leadership Trust.  His civic organizations include serving of the Board of Texarkana Historical Society and Museum, Kiwanis Club, Four States Fair Association, Texarkana Board of Adjustment, the Business Organization for a New Downtown, and the Wadley Foundation.  Mr. Green served as Chairman of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, president for Volunteer Services Bureau and the Texarkana Work Center.  He is currently serving on the Texas A&M Texarkana Foundation Board.  He is a 1980-1981 graduate of Leadership Texarkana and is currently an Alumni Member and LIFT committee member.  He is a life-long resident of Texarkana Arkansas.  He is married to Diane Bell.  They have two children, Whitney and Clay, and two granddaughters.
 
The adult winner of the Wilbur Award was Chris Karam.  Chris Karam serves a President and Chief Executive Officer of Christus St. Michael Health System, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Christus Continuing Care.  Mr. Karam began his tenure as President and CEO of Christus St. Michael Health System in February 2003.  He has more than 30 years of experience in health care, having held a variety of clinical, operational, and management positions in acute and rehabilitation hospitals.
 
In addition to leading the 312 bed Christus St. Michael Health System, 64 bed Christus St. Michael Hospital in Atlanta, and 50 bed Christus St. Michael Rehabilitation Hospital, Karam heads Christus Continuing Care.  Operating in 18 different locations across the U.S., Christus Continuing Care is comprised of five Christus Dubuis Hospitals, six Dubuis Health Systems, two managed long-term acute care hospitals, and 20 Christus HomeCare/Hospice programs.  In total, Christus St. Michael and Christus Continuing Care have 4,300 Associates serving in five states.  Under Mr. Karam’s leadership, Christus St. Michael has received Magnet ® designation, NICHE designation, been nationally recognized as a 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters two years in a row, named one of the Best Places to Work in the nation by Modern Healthcare for three years, named a “Becker’s Hospital Review 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” for two years, received the America’s Best Hospital for Patient Experience Women’s Choice Award for the past three years, and named a “Best Place to Work in Texas,” across all Texas industries, seven times.
 
Other adults finalists who were honored for outstanding community leadership included PGISD baseball coach Craig Jones, who has led multiple teams to state level championship play; pastor Paul Keener, who impacts the community through his Texarkana Community Journal; TAMU-T Distinguished Alum and Admissions Director Toney Favors, who plays leadership roles on multiple boards throughout the community. 
 
The Wilbur Award for service by an organization was given to Express Employment Professionals– a giving, serving, and community-vested business organization which represents the power one company has to impact an entire region.  Among their community investments are:  Opening of first ever On Campus “Career Center” partnering Express and Texarkana Community College to improve the connection of graduating students to employers utilizing their education, providing scholarships to both Texas A&M Texarkana and Texarkana Community College; they have provided funds to Watersprings Ranch Children’s Home; speakers to high school students annually about job and college preparation; presented Leadership Simulcast for Texarkana College; been sponsors of Live United Bowl, Kiwanis Pancake Day and Harvest Texarkana;  they participate in Rotary Flag Project for the Wilbur Smith Rotary Club; sponsor and volunteer of Hands on Texarkana Board Member, Relay for Life; sponsor of the Arklatex Challenge;  member of the Kiwanis Club; Partners in Education and on the Executive Committee of TISD; Committee Partner and on the Executive Committee for  TASD; service to the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce including Board, Executive, Finance Committee and Ambassadors, and Economic Development Committee; Trinity Christian Schools Athletic Foundation Board Member; serves on the LIfT Committee for Leadership Texarkana; Sponsors of the Texarkana Arkansas Baseball Association; TASD Future Farmers of America, Gave Scholarship to UCA Student – Taylor Everett, Genoa Central High School Booster, TABA 14 year old Baseball, TABA 11 year old Baseball, TABA 10 year old Baseball, Texarkana Razorback Foundation, New Boston Chamber of Commerce, Hope Chamber of Commerce, TABA 7 & 8 year old Sponsorship (East), TABA 7 & 8 year old Sponsorship (West), sponsor of Warrior Athletic Foundation , Texas Workforce Job Fair, Veterans Job Fair, Home Builder Association; Arkansas High Prom, St. Michaels Foundation, National Rifle Association, Young Life Texarkana, Runnin’ WJ Ranch, and Boy Scouts of America.
 
Also honored during the luncheon were organizational finalists Domestic Violence Prevention which has assisted thousands of abused women in the ArkLaTex; and LifeNet, a non-profit which provides emergency and non-emergency ground and air services throughout a 4500 square mile region.
 
This year’s Wilbur Award for Youth Leadership was given to Ben Norton. Ben is an amazing young man.  One of the many projects he headed up in the last year was a collaboration between Texas High & Ark. High where he developed & led a book drive for Texarkana’s public library that resulted in over 5,500 items being donated to the library in just two weeks. Ben also led a project that exposed other high school students to developmentally challenged people by putting on a special day for the challenged individuals at Opportunities, Inc.  He also participated in Special Olympics.  Ben has helped with the Kitchen Staff at Williams Memorial to feed the homeless and volunteered for Teen Court as well as participated with Race for the Cure.  Among his many accomplishments and honors, Ben received the Texas Student Achievement Award and received 17 awards for Academic Success.  He has also earned the rank of Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America as well as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, and multiple Palm Awards.
 
Other youth finalists also honored at the luncheon included Alexandra Miller an active senior from PGISD, also named Miss Teen Texas and last year's Texarkana's Outstanding Teen; Texas High's Benjamin Gladney, a leader within both his school district and his church; and Arkansas High's Emily Andrews who has not only been active in our community, but beyond, bringing clean water and light to the citizens of Haiti. 
 
LEADERSHIP TEXARKANA is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating, connecting, and engaging leaders in working together for community excellence, pride and progress.  To those ends, Leadership Texarkana dedicates its efforts to educating and developing critical masses of individual leaders throughout the community - crossing all demographic boundaries representing the community at large, as well as to fostering a community culture of effective leadership, as the unifying voice of vision, and as a catalyst for effective action alliances. Additional information about Leadership Texarkana can be found at www.leadershiptexarkana.com.
 
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LIFT: A Focus for our Future

by Ruth Ellen Whitt
LT Executive Director 

Imagine that you own your own business. If you want your business to progress in any way, it is essential that you clearly know where you are headed–what results you are shooting for–so that you can align the actions of everyone in your business to achieve those dreams.  In short, you need a focus for your future.  

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LIFT: Creative Disruption

by Bill Cork
Former CEO, TexAmericas Center

The iPhone or Galaxy or other mobile device you have in your hand is really transforming the world. Most of you who own one of these devices have purchased something on line and had it delivered to your home or office.

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LIFT: Pride in Texarkana

by Julie Tidwell
President, Keep Texarkana Beautiful

Hakuna matata – the song from The Lion King that means “no worries.” That was the carefree life Simba had as a lion cub when he left his home, the Pride Land, after things got tough. Slowly, the Pride Land deteriorated, yet Simba ignored the pleas for help, thinking others were better suited to fix the problem. Soon the spirit of Simba’s father helped Simba realize that to save the Pride Land he must come back and fight. Simba came back and with the help of many others, they took back the Pride Land and restored it to its former glory.

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LT E-News: March 11, 2014

LIFT Perspectives: Summit Plus One

by Ruth Ellen Whitt
Executive Director, Leadership Texarkana 

As Executive Director of Leadership Texarkana, the question I’m most commonly asked is “What’s going on with LIFT?”

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LIFT: The Formula for Success...Collaboration


by James Henry Russell and Emily Fourmy Cutrer
 

"The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all."
–Helen Keller


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LIFT: When All is Said and Done

by Phillip DuVall, Ph.D.

Earlier this year Leadership Texarkana (LT), and the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana (LIFT), sponsored a City Leadership Summit, bringing together elected officials and supporting staff members in the Texarkana area.  This was a great start towards moving Texarkana forward while working together. Several great initiatives were started and continue today. But, we have all seen several initiatives start and die on the vine for various reasons. Now is the time to continue to put in place necessary things that will help us continue to pull together.

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LIFT Recap

by Ruth Ellen Whitt
Leadership Texarkana Executive Director

Many thanks to everyone who signed on in support of the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana City Leaders’ Summit, and thanks to all city officials and community members who participated! We had an extremely productive summit.  As defined from the outset, our intent was an  LT-sponsored retreat, led by nationally-renowned facilitators, to build trust, respect and a foundation for working together as partners in future endeavors, and it happened!

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LIFT: Two Cities, One Team

by William Morriss
Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Co-Chair

Over the years, Texarkana USA has seen good times and bad. It’s seen both sides of State Line Avenue working together as one, and it’s seen both sides fighting each other vigorously. It seems to come in cycles. Each city does have its advantages in terms of ordinances or taxing systems, so it’s quite natural for one side to stand up for what is best for its own interest. After all, we all do that individually from time to time. But Texarkana USA is one community that has the uniqueness of two cities, and it benefits most when both sides of the state line are working together as a team.

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LIFT: It's Time to Stop Painting Over Rust in Texarkana

by Hayes McClerkin

From my navy days I can still picture the sailors chipping away the rust before they started to paint. The purpose was to create a situation that would not cause the need to keep painting the ship over in the same place. Texarkana has been painting over rust for the past few years. Leadership Texarkana’s Leadership Initiative for Texarkana (“LIFT”) is providing an opportunity for our community to address the problem.

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LIFT: For the People Had a Mind to Work

As a graduate of Leadership Texarkana I was enlightened on all of the history, culture, arts, and other services offered right here, hidden somewhat but here. We must work together to share in what is available and what our real growth potential could be with a united effort. Our community has been talking the talk for years, now let’s join forces and do the walk that we have been talking about. Texarkana can be and will be as great as we (the citizens on both sides) allow it. My perspective is from someone who was not born here, did not grow up here, did not attend schools here; but have been here over fourteen years as a pastor, as an educator, as a community leader, and I can see the vision of a strong, flourishing, industrial, educational, and united city. Let us work together in bringing Texarkana as a leader in both states and in this region, and sign on to the LIFT Initiative for Texarkana. “…For the people had a mind to Work”

 Terry Taylor is the Senior Pastor of the Church of the Living God, Associate High School Principal located at Washington 4-A, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Texarkana College

LIFT: What Do We Want Our City to Become?

by Brian Goesl
Executive Director, Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council, Inc.

I have been reading with interest the previous columns in Friday’s Texarkana Gazette in support of LIFT: “Leadership Initiative for Texarkana” and I have to admit that I signed on fairly early in support of this idea. I certainly feel that this is a worthwhile endeavor on the part of our two cities and those of us who live and work in Texarkana. All of the articles that I have read were extremely well written and I can’t say that I have any new ideas to express that haven’t already been better stated. However, and isn’t this how major dissenting statements often begin? The point that I want to make is that I have been a participant at several of these types of retreats over the years, and what I’ve discovered is that during the time of the retreat every participant is almost passionately convinced that this event will change his or her life. They have “Drunk the Kool-Aid, “Seen the Light” and “Rededicated Their Life” in some sort of fashion. Two weeks later many of us then begin to fall off the wagon and renege on our promises of commitment and a month later we have most often returned to our previous lives.

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LIFT: A Small Group of Thoughtful, Concerned Citizens

by Bix Rathburn

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has
-Margaret Mead

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LIFT: The Visible Invisible State Line

by Sonja Hubbard

As residents of Texarkana, we rarely are even conscious of our movement back and forth across the state line dividing the Arkansas and Texas side of the city. There is no distinct wave of change that washes over one as you move from one side of State Line Avenue to the other. It is just another busy street in our unique city. But while we can’t see a distinct line or even feel one, this invisible delineation is evident in the operations and decisions that influence our Texarkanas and changes our daily lives.

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