Why Universal Mind Chose to Set Up Shop in Dallas

Impact City

“Thank you so much for coming. It was so nice to meet you both!” These were the parting words from our waitress as my wife and I left a suburban Dallas restaurant one week into our transformational move to Texas last summer.

“What did she mean by that?” I asked my wife in my best cynical Northeasterner voice.

“Who willingly leaves the Northeast?” I was asked.

What has transpired since has brought a lot of clarity to both our move and the reasons my employer, Universal Mind, chose to come to Dallas.

A four-plus-decade native New Yorker turned Connecticuter (yes, Connecticuter … ) uprooted his family and headed across the country. Why? Moment of insanity?

“Who willingly leaves the Northeast?” I was asked.

“It’s really hot down there, “ most would say.

So, six months into our cross-country adventure, the query remains: “Why Dallas?”

I have wanted to write about it, but just wasn’t ready.  ‘Til now, I would respond, “there are so many reasons.”

I’d then move off into corporate-speak.

  • Look at the density of Fortune 1000s – second most in the nation
  • The ability to attract and position top-flight talent is amazing here
  • No personal income tax
  • Cost of living is lower
  • Quality of life is better
  • McKinney was Money Magazine’s Top Place to Live in the U.S.
  • Frisco was the 2nd fastest growing town in America.  All of America!!
  • Toyota is moving their North America headquarters to Plano

 

The words just seemed to roll off my tongue.  And they are all true. But those words do not capture it all.

This is not a piece on why Universal Mind’s one and a half decades of deep digital expertise is viable or even needed in Dallas.

This is less about the wealth or shortage of digital thought leadership here in town.

This is a journey of alignment between our company and a geography.

This is a gut-check on our belief that the “intentional geographic expansion” of our firm can be done with high ideals and expectations of becoming part of something special; being part of a community.

And, boy, were we right.

I came to Dallas because the very Declarations of Vision of Universal Mind align with how I think and how we should build our life here.

Given “one shot” at substantiating our presence here, we focused our team on being a responsible, contributing partner to the community. I came to Dallas because the very Declarations of Vision of Universal Mind align with how I think and how we should build our life here.

Business-building requires sustainable, long-term revenue — no doubt.  But when your company espouses things like, “we stand for profound partnerships that empower outstanding performance in all endeavors,” I knew our presence in Dallas could and should have greater importance.

No one wants to be an interloper. We didn’t want to “do” business in Dallas, we wanted Universal Mind to be part of Dallas. The rest would take care of itself.

Can an organization’s declarations and ideals really be their external face? Can it’s employees really “live” the words written on a piece of paper?

For most of the fall, I embarked on a “listening” tour — spending time with anyone that would tell me about Dallas. Lots of coffee.

The people I met and the messages they delivered were incredibly aligned. Everyone was talking about hurling Dallas towards national prominence — regardless of topic, idea, or reason.

Captains of business. Leaders of government and civic organizations. Nonprofits. Industry networking organizations.

No Prisoner’s Dilemma here.  Everyone is reading from the same script.

Dallas is at a special moment.  We have like-minded people — feverishly organizing — and harmoniously working to “raise up” Dallas.

But, why?

Justified or not, Dallasites feel they have something to prove on the national stage. The Dallas-Fort Worth region has so much (more) to offer — yet suffers from outdated perceptions.

Dallas is a major metropolitan region that belongs in any conversation that includes New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other large cities. The statistics bear that out. We have size, big business, transportation, media, culture, sports — the list goes on.

The Dallas-Fort Worth region has so much (more) to offer — yet suffers from outdated perceptions.

I know it can be tricky to name names, but let me share a few: Dale Petroskey, Pat Priest, and Duane Dankesreiter at the Dallas Regional Chamber.

Trey Bowles at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and Dallas Innovation Alliance. John Olijide at Axxess. Michael Sitarzewski at LaunchDFW. Quincy Preston at DRC Publications. Geoffrey Orsak at The Texas Research Alliance.  Michael Pratt at Digital Dallas. This  short list of “change-makers”  — and there are many others — illustrate a common denominator and pervasive attitude that defines Dallas and North Texas in 2016: Community.

Each has gone out of their way to get me plugged in. Each has extended friendship. What’s amazing is that many are not from Dallas, but are incredibly passionate about ensuring an amazing future for its people.

I am happy to be here and can only hope to make such a difference.

So, if you’re listening over in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham — or any of our next stops. We’ll be there soon. We’d love to help transform your businesses. We’d love to share digital thought leadership.

More than anything, though, we just want to BE part of your community.

By the way, Universal Mind’s last Declaration is: You can count on us to deliver on our commitments.

Count on it.


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