Super Bowl XLV: A Networking Guide for Newcomers

Welcome Super Bowl visitors! ! !  Maybe you’ll like Dallas/Fort Worth so much, you’ll want to stay.
You won’t be alone.  Texas is teeming with new transplants these days.  No surprise.  Folks are attracted to our open and welcoming culture, attractive cost of living, favorable economy and promising future.  In fact, Dallas leads the nation in job creation, according to this impressive graphic from SMU’s Michael Cox, former economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.
The Texas Superstate cover story of Newsweek, above, was the eye-opener and impetus for me.  Here is the complete story, as recounted in D Magazine’s 119 Reasons Why We Love Dallas issue.  Soon, my two sisters followed and later, even my mother.
It was fertile ground for pursuit of successful business careers, for which we are very grateful.  Not to mention the side benefit of meeting tall, handsome Texas husbands.  Dallas has been very good to these girls from Altoona, PA!
If you’re new in town, here are some orientation tips:
1.  Cultural context.  Rent the movie Giant to catch the pioneering spirit of Texas.  Scope some episodes of the TV show Dallas.  J.R. Ewing is a bigger-than-life oilman.  Note the shoulder pad fashions of the 80s and the changing skyline of the city.  ESPN’s Pony Excess covers the SMU football scandal, against the backdrop of local business, media and politics.
2.  Media coverage.  Peruse the websites, blogs and archives of Dallas Morning News, Texas Monthly, D Magazine and D CEO.  Note the new neighborhood video channel You+Dallas.
3.  Daytime beverages.  At a weekday business lunch, you will likely order iced tea or Dr Pepper (regular or diet).  As a corporate even planner once noted, “Dallas doesn’t drink at lunch, but these men expect their glass of wine at 6 pm.”
4.  Gotta have Art.  Take in an arts event at the venues of our internationally renown Arts District — DMA, Nasher, Wyly, Meyerson or Winspear.  And, yes, we have sports, too.  Two pro team owners have Pittsburgh ties — Mark Cuban and Chuck Greenberg.
5.  Find a tribe.  Join something.  Whether it’s a neighborhood group, professional organization or non-profit initiative.  Take on a leadership role.   Women In Communications  was my port of entry.  I became the Job Placement chairman, an excellent way to meet others and match them with new opportunities!  (Program chairman is another productive and visible role in an organization.)
6.  Team up.  Don’t go it alone.  Find another newcomer and network together.  One of my first friends in town was NYC transplant Erika Sanchez, then a reporter at the Dallas Morning News.  We would do a regular lunch during those early days and both invite a new person that we thought the other would like.  We’re still friends and members of an excellent book club!
7.  Fashionability.  You will notice how attractive the women and men are here.  The weather is warm much of the time, so people are outdoors and less bundled-up than in the North.  Not to mention the Neiman Marcus influence of beauty and style. Fitness outlets also abound.
8.  Be nice.  People are friendly and happy here.  Smile!  Relax!  Be polite!   Say please, thank you and excuse me.  No elbow-jabbing or pushing.
9.  Go blonde.   You will note being surrounded by beautiful blondes.  At some point, many brunettes give into the temptation and, at minimum, experiment with highlights.  Go ahead, give it a try.  You can always go back to your natural color.  Live the life of a Dallas blonde.  Even the senior citizens do.  (My mother included!)  You can count the number of gray-haired women here on a single hand.
10.  (Bonus tip for single women.)  Take up golf.  We have a nice long playing season here and, as the realtors say:  Location, location, location.  It’s where the men are.  Even if you only go to the driving range, it provides an excellent venue.  It works.  I can tell you of a particularly noteworthy tournament that yielded two weddings out of two foursomes.  Do you need a more compelling testimonial?  I didn’t think so.
So, to all….Welcome.  Enjoy.  Go Steelers! ! ! !
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Copyright © 2012 Nancy Keene