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Recap | 44th Annual Members’ Luncheon

We hosted our 44th Annual Members’ Luncheon on Thursday, September 24th at the Irving Convention Center at Los Colinas, with over 700 North Texas leaders in attendance.

The luncheon kicked off with our final board meeting for the fiscal year, presided over by Board Chairman Gray Mayes of Texas Instruments. Points of order included the release of the latest issue of NTX Magazine, a discussion on Leadership North Texas University and a presentation by Ed Dolanski, President and CEO of Aviall, Dallas-based aviation company, on Export-Import Bank.


Photo credit to Barbara Berry.


Following the board meeting, members were welcomed into the ballroom, which was themed around the word of the day: innovation. Along with our attendee gift bags, the tables were set with LuminAID lanterns, lighting up the room and creating conversation the moment guests sat down.

The luncheon opened with a warm welcome from North Texas Commission President and CEO Mabrie Jackson and a few words from DD Hayes, Chaplain at the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy. Mabrie recognized members of the North Texas Commission board, past and current elected officials, and looking to the future of North Texas, the 13 DECA members in attendance as part of the essay contest hosted earlier this month.

Mabrie also discussed the contents of our North Texas Commission branded bag at each seat, and the Mark Cuban Companies in attendance, some of whom were exhibiting outside the ballroom. To read more about those, click here. Board Chairman Gray Mayes thanked the sponsors of the event, as seen below:

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Mavs ManiAACs. Photo credit to Tim Sharp.


As a company on the forefront of innovation, it was fitting that Audi was our presenting sponsor for this event.

Audi Senior Account Executive Allison Piper spoke on how Audi has grown and sought innovation over the years, just as our keynote speaker, Mark Cuban. But before Mark took the stage, we had a surprise for our guests.

The North Texas Commission pumped up attendees with a performance from the popular Mavs ManiAACs (pictured right), who were the perfect transition into keynote speaker Mark Cuban.

At last, it was the moment attendees had been waiting for. Mark Cuban, world-renowned entrepreneur and Shark Tank‘s most dangerous shark, gave a rousing keynote on innovation in North Texas and his viewpoints as a businessman.


Mark Cuban during his keynote speech. Photo credit to Tim Sharp.


Mark discussed how true innovation is about knowing your audience and your product. “At the Mavericks, we don’t sell basketball,” Cuban said, “We sell special moments.” If you attend a Mavs game, you don’t reminisce every jump shot a player scores; you remember the time spent with people important to you, whoever they may be.

Cuban also took a few moments after his keynote to answer questions, one of which was how he felt North Texas ranked among other metropolitan areas in entrepreneurial potential.

“North Texas is easily one of the best places for entrepreneurs to start,” Cuban boasted. And, he’s not wrong. With supporters like Cuban and other innovative groups such as Launch DFW, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and the Arts Incubator of Richardson backing thinkers and creators along the way, North Texas is a well of potential waiting to be tapped into.

Following Cuban’s keynote, North Texas Commission Vice Chairman Robert Hastings, enthusiastic about his upcoming term as Board Chairman, closed out the luncheon.

This event was one for the books for anyone in attendance. It was a rare chance to see Shark Mark Cuban speak about business and to see so many of the companies he has invested in showcased under one roof. Check out the gallery below for more pictures of our 44th Annual Members’ Luncheon!


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