If you’re reading this, you likely have a good idea what MSC (Mayor’s Star Council) is. In case you don’t, MSC is a 501c3 that focuses on bringing together young, passionate and diverse leaders from the City of Dallas with the purpose of having them learn about the City and find ways to engage – both with the City and one another.

As a member of the 3rd class of MSC (2014-2015), and newly minted alum, here are three lessons I learned from my experience in the organization:

1.     Dallas is filled with some remarkable people

STOP what you’re doing. Take a moment and look around. Seriously. Stop rolling your eyes, take a deep breath, briefly look around and think about the people who are around you – if you’re by yourself, just pop into a Dallas Public Library or head over to Klyde Warren Park. What battles have these people fought? What struggles are they currently going through? (Everyone has one). How did they wind up in Dallas? The City of Dallas is filled with some remarkable people. People who are somehow making our City, and our lives, better and we often have no idea they exist… 

People like Daron Babcock with Bonton Farms. In the middle of a successful career, he evaluated his heart and values and decided to move to a low socioeconomic location so he could serve others. It wasn’t long before he began Bonton Farms, an urban farm in the middle of an inner-city food desert where he also hires men with criminal records as a way to help them integrate back into society.

That’s what MSC taught me – that there are truly remarkable people in Dallas that care about making the City better (with no ulterior motive).


2.     Networking is dead. Genuine relationships are what count

Ughhhh... “networking”. Does anyone really think that works anymore? Honestly. Although “networking” may work 1 out of 100 times, the truth is that networking is dead. The only way to do good business, and to live a personally fulfilled life, is to volunteer or become an active member of an organization. Local organizations like the Mayor’s Star Council or Leadership Dallas are particularly special because they help us match our skills or passions to serve local areas in need alongside like-minded people. Spending one year volunteering with other leaders who share your values will go a lot further in business development and produce richer relationships than spending 60 minutes at one-off networking events once a week.

3.     “Dallas is boring?” Wait…WHAAAT?! 

I often hear it, “there’s nothing to do in Dallas”.  Sighhh… I sadly used to make the same wrong assumption. The fact is that the City of Dallas is filled with remarkable opportunities and things to do. Business wise, there are 21 Fortune 500 companies in Dallas/Fort Worth – whoa… Personally, there are MANY things to do in the City:

·         Join the Trinity River’s young professionals group – who often kayak the river

·         Spend time at Klyde Warren Park  and the Arts District

·         Visit Bonton Farms or volunteer to work one Saturday morning

·         Help make capes for children with chronic diseases at Capes 4 Kids

·         Check out an event at the historic Kessler Theatre

·         Spend time at Oak Cliff film festival  

·         Go to Deep Ellum and pop into the Deep Ellum Brewery

·         Volunteer to teach English at Vickery Meadow Learning Center

·         Visit Fair Park – other than during the State Fair

And these are just the first things that popped into my mind.

The fact is, there is a lot to do in Dallas and there are many wonderful opportunities and people to discover! We just have to open ourselves up to learning about our City and the Mayor’s Star Council is a special opportunity to learn about the City and get to meet some incredible people.


Paula Gean is a member of the 2014-15 Mayor's Star Council and the Director of Marketing at Dialexa, a tech firm that designs and engineers award-winning products across mobile, web, IoT and embedded device platforms. She belongs to the Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, is a 2014 Dallas Business Journal's Women in Technology awardee and dreams of bettering the world. Follow Paula on Twitter @Agean6.